Accor US looks to expand diversity

Accor North America has premiered a new diversity program titled the Accor Pinnacle Program at the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & DevelopersThe Accor Pinnacle Program offers knowledge, guidance, and tools through a wide-range of services and initiatives to help minority and women owners and investors succeed in the lodging industry.

“The Accor Pinnacle Program is all about providing opportunities and ownership within the lodging industry,” said Dean Savas, senior vice president of franchise for Accor North America. “We offer assistance to those who are new to the lodging industry, as well as seasoned investors, through Pinnacle’s various initiatives. The program allows hotel owners and investors to utilize our expertise as an experienced owner and operator to help them succeed.”

The main components of the Accor Pinnacle program include: franchise development; training and support; finance; joint ventures; supplier programs; employment opportunities; and community relations. Accor provides classroom and on-site property training to support franchisees in achieving a better understanding of each component. Franchise development opportunities are available with their Motel 6 and Studio 6 Extended Stay brands, and joint venture opportunities are available with their Novotel and Sofitel brands.

Accor North America prides itself in helping its franchisees get their feet on the ground every step of the way. An Accor franchise executive assists franchisees in finding a local developer to search collectively for the best site location. Each franchisee visits the Accor NA headquarters for a “Discovery Day” to receive a complete orientation on Accor, its brands and training programs. Accor has also implemented on-going assistance to those who are new to the industry by placing corporate managers at new franchisees’ properties for up to five years where they will help manage the property for the franchisee.

One of the biggest hurdles a new franchisee encounters is financing their project. As an established company in the hotel industry, Accor has developed relationships with various lending institutions that can help minorities gain the financial support necessary to own and operate a business.

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“Diversity is a key element to Accor’s success. It fuels growth and creates a competitive advantage in the marketplace,” said Glenda Shelby, vice president of diversity for Accor North America. “We implemented our first Diversity Training Program in 1995 and have continued to strengthen our diversity efforts ever since. Our marketplace diversity initiatives reach beyond our employees to include partnerships with the community and franchisees. We also encourage bids from minority suppliers.”
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