Forte Hotel Group, Hilton International and Accor have reached agreement on the creation of an Internet Joint Venture which will develop and operate on line reservations for consumers and professionals which will enable customers to book any of the combined portfolio of hotels in Europe. The initial website will go live in the last quarter of the year.
Forte Hotel Group, Hilton International and Accor are in discussion with other major European partners, several of which are expected to join the venture ahead of its launch.
The Internet Joint Venture will also develop and operate in mainland Europe an hospitality Marketplace which will give access to a wide range of products and services and therefore optimise operational costs.
Following the signing of the agreement today, Forte Hotel Group, Hilton International and Accor have already allocated senior management resources to drive the project forward and expect to make an initial investment of Euro 20 million.
The teams are being led by Michael Madison, Worldwide Director of e-commerce for Forte Hotel Group, Michael Jones, VP Distribution Services, Hilton International, and Serge Ragozin Executive VP, Accor Hotels and Resorts.
Antoine Cau, Chief Executive Forte Hotel Group, said : Ç This exciting initiative clearly signals the lead we are taking in the European Hospitality Industry in grasping opportunities the Internet provides. The customer remains our central focus and this approach will allow us to offer them an unparalleled choice and access to our products. In addition to the revenue enhancements we will also exploit the many opportunities for cost savings and efficiencies È.
David Michels, Chief Executive of Hilton International, said : Ç Whilst the percentage of our hotel bookings through the Internet is still very small, there is no question that this medium will grow over the next 2-3 years towards 15% of our total business. It is our duty to ensure that our customers are presented with the best prices and best information available directly from the leading hotel companies. In addition, for our shareholders, we must ensure that the inventory remains under our controlÈ.
Sven Boinet, Chief Executive, Accor Hotels and Resorts, added : ÈThe coming together of three of the most influential hotel players in Europe marks an exciting and important step for the industry. I believe this initiative is crucial to enable us to jointly embrace and exploit the opportunities these new technologies present È.