Accor, the world’s leading hotel operator, announces the re-engineering of its Grand Mercure brand, tailored for the Chinese market. The brand was unveiled today at the inauguration of Grand Mercure Shanghai Zhongya, the first hotel adapted to this new positioning. Grand Mercure combines Accor’s extensive hotel experience and significant distribution tools with products and services customized to the needs of the upscale Chinese traveler.
The launch of Grand Mercure, made for China by Accor is part of the Group’s new brand strategy. Observation of new consumption modes has shown the need for brands capable of comprehending the diversity and complexity of their clients’ identity. Grand Mercure in China is a first step towards flexible brands that are even more locally relevant.
“Accor has tailored the Grand Mercure brand to better suit the Chinese clientele’s needs, in a strategic country for the Group and in the context of a booming upscale domestic travel business,” remarked Mr. Grégoire Champetier, Chief Marketing Officer of Accor at the launch event. “This brand is launched in the framework of our global project to modernize our brand portfolio. Our clients are now expecting brands capable of understanding the diversity and the complexity of their identity. With this tailor-made Grand Mercure, the Group demonstrates its ability to have more flexible brands, that are locally relevant,” Grégoire Champetier added.
Known in Chinese as ‘Mei Jue’, the new identity has been designed to appeal to upscale consumers, be as recognizable to Chinese guests as the Mercure hotel brand is to travelers around the world. The identity retains a sense of connection to its parent brand whilst being highly influenced by Chinese design form.
Grand Mercure hotels in China, like Mercure hotels around the world, are a reflection of their location and form an integral part of each city. In each Grand Mercure hotel in China, clients will find strong brand identifiers including:
Each guest can expect a personalized and authentic welcome reflecting the hotel’s location. In Shanghai, for example, employees are welcomed by team members wearing Qipao, a traditional elegant evening dress.
The brand identifiers link the strength of Chinese culture with elements of western society, an example of this is the welcome macaroon gift pack provided in each guest room upon arrival.
Guests can achieve mental and physical well-being through daily Tai-chi sessions, lavender-scented bathroom amenities and a complimentary head and shoulder massage services for guests staying on premium floors.
Food & Beverage
An emphasis has been placed on catering to the specificities of Chinese customer expectations. For example, each Grand Mercure provides an extensive range of local and imported teas, delivered in an engaging manner to encourage guest participation. Each Grand Mercure also offers a special 24-hour congee menu (a popular Chinese rice porridge) providing guests with home comforts no matter what time they may be hungry. Beyond this, a large congee selection with extensive condiments plays a big part of the breakfast at Grand Mercure. An emphasis in each hotel is placed on Chinese cuisine and where guests will discover dishes representing local specialties as well as wide-ranging national dishes. Furthermore, a selection of Cognac is available in the hotel bars alongside a wine selection that provides equal proportions local and imported choices.
To establish connections with the area surrounding each hotel, Grand Mercure hotels invite guests to participate in discovery walks, to see the city from new perspectives and gain insights to local culture and customs. In addition, hotels will invite local artisans to link visitors with the arts of the area and to provide a bridge between communities.
China is one of the pivotal engines of the global hospitality industry and one of the fastest developing areas in Accor’s global network. At present, Accor operates 7 brands, 114 hotels in 47 cities across Greater China.
Sam Shih, Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, Accor Greater China, said, “Throughout Accor’s 27 years of operation in China, we have developed a strong understanding of the China hotel industry and the specific desires of the Chinese traveler. Accor has built upon this expertise in the development of the new Grand Mercure brand, tailored for China and providing a fresh yet familiar hotel experience for upscale travelers throughout the country. The Grand Mercure brand provides Accor with a fresh platform for organic upscale network expansion throughout the country”.
The opportunity for organic growth in the upscale hotel segment in China is one of the largest in the world. Accor’s tailor-made Grand Mercure product has already garnered great support from hotel owners. Today, Accor operates 10 Grand Mercure hotels in the country. Accor has confirmed commitments for 10 additional hotels, and announced that it will expand its network to around 65 hotels in tier 1 to tier 3 cities throughout China by 2015.