ATM: Accor to triple ME portfolio

Accor is set to triple its managed properties in the Middle East by 2010.

Accor is ranked as the most aggressive hotel group in terms of development in the Middle East region with 30 new properties to be developed in the near future, encompassing a total of 8,247 rooms.

These impressive figures were made public at a press conference held at the Arabian Travel Market.
Accor officials reported that in 2006, Accor Middle East signed 15 new projects, with a total of 4,510 rooms under four of its international brands - Ibis, Novotel, Mercure and, Sofitel, spanning the UAE, Oman, Jordan, and Pakistan.
Significant focus is on the UAE where 66% of the potential projects have been signed.  These will include 5 business economy hotels with 1,382 rooms under the Ibis brand and 5 upper mid-scale hotels with 1,943 rooms under the Novotel flag, with each Novotel room Designed for Natural Living, in keeping with the brand’s strategy. 

Speaking at the press conference, Mr. Jean-Luc Motot, Managing Director, ACCOR Middle East and Africa, said: “We are very pleased with the opportunity that the ATM offers us every year, enabling us to expose our brands to the promising Middle East market.  We strongly believe that upper mid-scale, and more particularly business economy hotel concepts are essentially part of this untapped market. We anticipate operating 21 Novotel - hotels and 22 Ibis hotels across the Middle East by 2010, with a mid-term goal of doubling this portfolio by 2015. Our belief is that the creation of a dense Novotel and Ibis network will provide us with a truly competitive edge, as it will necessarily contribute towards strong brand awareness, more precise product segmentation for a well defined customer base, and will optimise price structuring, for the benefit of both the investor and the end user customer.”

In his turn Mr. Christophe Landais, Managing Director of Accor Middle East, commented saying: “We believe Accor to be one of the premier hospitality solution providers for hotel investors, owners and developers. This is not because of the fast development pace it is adopting but because of the unique management style that the company implements. Accor has a dynamic and multi-skilled office in Dubai, for the Middle East region, which means there is a reactive team to provide support in fields such as technical assistance, sales, marketing, IT, development, HR and operations.”
He also added: “Accor is well synchronised with hotel ownership issues and concerns because of its unique portfolio of owned, managed, and leased properties in the world.” 


p>Accor has begun initiating important changes in its marketing strategies. The current focus is on the evolution of Accor’s sub-brands, in particular Novotel and Sofitel, to offer top-of-the-line, modern facilities and amenities for guests - positioning their hotels as excellent choices for the 21st Century traveller.

Novotel’s new concept of “natural living” positions the hotel chain in line with its contemporary vision of ensuring “ultimate wellness” or a staying experience that makes a guest feel completely in sync with his or her environment.
In addition to the concept of ‘natural living’ Novotel designs its rooms in keeping with “Novation” - its international comfort standard is reflected in the new décor, sizes of the rooms, ergonomics incorporated to ensure a more comfortable stay, and ultra-modern facilities.

Like Novotel’s renowned quality standards, the Sofitel chain of hotels under Accor, are also recognised worldwide for their high standards of luxury, elegance and modernity. Reflecting the French “art de vivre” or “art of living” each one of the 200 Sofitel hotels across 53 countries, ensures a sophisticated and refined staying experience, coupled with state-of-the-art, modern facilities. In keeping with the brands new strategy of creating greater value for customers, Sofitel is leveraging on its strong brand values of ‘exclusivity’ and ‘innovation’. To support their new vision, the hotel group now has a new identity which consists of a logo created with simple typography spelling the brand name and emphasising on the ‘O’ - symbolic of the brands geographical reach worldwide. In line with Sofitel’s expansion plans, new openings have been scheduled for this year, primary among them being The Palace, The Old Town in Dubai, which will be one of Sofitel’s flagship outlets in this region.

In line with Accor’s overall strategy to increase its presence across the Middle East, Dr Abderahman Belgat, Director General, ACCOR KSA & Sudan and General Manager for Saudi French Co for Hotel Management confirms Accor’s intention to be the leading hotel group in KSA.  By the end of 2007 Accor in KSA will be managing 8 hotels / 3030 rooms.
It is expected that SFCHM (a 100% Accor subsidiary) will be managing 20 hotels with a total capacity of 5000 rooms by 2010. 
The landmark project in Makkah and Accor’s eagerly-awaited flagship property in KSA, the ZamZam Grand Suites had its soft partial pre-opening on 30th September 2006. 
Another significant project is the 235 rooms Mercure Manazel Al Ain which is scheduled to open in August 2007.  Accor has two further capital projects currently under construction which are Novotel Al Anoud and Sofitel Al Khobar. 
Novotel Al Anoud is located in the heart of Riyadh and is scheduled to open by October 2007.  The project belongs to the Royal family of KSA and is of particular interest as the profit is earmarked for a charitable foundation (Princess Al Anoud Foundation).  Sofitel Al Khobar, with 235 luxurious rooms overlooking the sea and is set to open by end of 2007.
Accor in KSA, in cooperation with the Saudi Supreme Commission of Tourism and higher Government authorities of the Kingdom have initiated the establishment and management of several hotels schools and a MOU is already signed for 3 such schools in Riyadh, Taif and Hofuf.



In 2007, Accor will open 6 new properties varying between upper up-scale, upper mid-scale and economy hotels, in the Middle East, as follows:

Upper up-scale
Sofitel Al Gezirah in Cairo, Egypt - 383 rooms - June 2007
The Palace - The Old Town in Dubai, UAE - 244 rooms - July 2007
Sofitel Al Khobar in Al Khobar, KSA -  229 rooms - October 2007

Upper mid-scale
Novotel Al Anoud, Riyadh, KSA - 167 rooms - September 2007
Mercure Karachi Airport, Karachi, Pakistan - 228 rooms- April 2007

Ibis Salmiya, Kuwait - 175 rooms - September 2007