Accor to accelerate its growth in the Middle East and Africa

Accor to accelerate its growth in the Middle East and Africa


Accor is mapping out its blueprint for accelerated growth in the Middle East & Africa (MEA) at this week’s Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) 2019.

The rapidly-expanding Group currently operates over 260 properties with 60,000+ rooms across 36 countries in the region. With more than 20 projects opening in 2019 alone, the Group is highlighting strong development opportunities. Residences, extended-stay and lifestyle brands, as well as all-inclusive luxury resorts, are on the growth pipeline. 

“We have identified a strong consumer appetite for innovative hotels, residences and resorts that have a distinct lifestyle and entertainment focus in strategically-important markets region wide,” explained Mark Willis, CEO, Accor Middle East & Africa.

“With our unrivalled portfolio of brands, agile approach to development and attractive business models, Accor is partnering with like-minded owners and investors to introduce concepts that anticipate current and future guest demands, adding meaningful value in an increasingly competitive market place and offering robust return on investment.”

Willis is one of the high-profile speakers at AHIC’s ‘Synching for Success’ panel session (Wednesday 10 April), and will discuss which business models will retain and attract more owners against a backdrop of increased hotel room supply.

Accor now offers the largest and most diversified portfolio of lifestyle brands in the industry, providing owners with a unique proposition – the opportunity to invest in curated brands and collaborate with their maverick founders and CEOs, while simultaneously leveraging the strength of one of the world’s leading hospitality groups in terms of distribution, loyalty, procurement, regional expertise and more.

The Group’s augmented lifestyle portfolio currently includes Jo&Joe, Mama Shelter, partnerships with 25Hours and sbe Entertainment (including the Delano, SLS, The House of Originals, Mondrian and Hyde brands) and most recently its midscale brand, Tribe, identifying the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman as target growth markets.

 Its regional expansion campaign for these concepts is gaining momentum with the first Mama Shelter, 25Hours and SLS properties all on track to make their Middle East debut in 2020 with hotly-anticipated launches in Dubai.

SLS Dubai Hotel & Residences, considered the cornerstone of sbe’s Middle East development strategy and set to be one of the tallest hotels and residences in the region, will be housed in a 75-story tower in Business Bay. It will feature 254 design-led hotel rooms, 371 branded residences, 321 hotel apartments, one of the highest swimming pools in the world and sbe’s signature culinary concepts.

sbe, in which Accor purchased a 50% stake in October 2018, is a hospitality specialist that develops, manages and operates hotels, residences, restaurants and nightclubs in partnership with cultural visionaries. Louis Abboud, Vice President Development, Accor Middle East, will speak to these attributes at AHIC’s ‘three-minute pitch to owners’ session (Thursday 11 April).

25Hours Dubai hotel, the brand’s first property outside of Europe and part of the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) One Central lifestyle destination, will add 434 keys to Accor’s current 1,210-room cluster of economy and midscale brands at the DWTC complex.  Mama Shelter will introduce 201 rooms and 80 hotel apartments crafted by interior designer Thierry Gaugin to Business Bay.

With 28 residential and extended-stay brands across its portfolio, each of which catering to a specific industry segment, Accor is well positioned to meet robust demand for projects of this nature region wide.

The MEA accounts for 40% of the group’s residential pipeline of 60-plus projects, with Accor offering 16 brands within its residential portfolio across its midscale to luxury segments. Offering both stand-alone branded residences in key markets and co-located opportunities throughout the region, Accor’s value proposition to developers delivers enhanced hotel economics, residential sales & marketing support, a professionally managed homeowners association, rental solutions and an industry-leading ownership benefits programme. Among the recent launches in the Middle East & Africa is Fairmont Residences Royal Palm Marrakech offering 39 private villas and representing the first residences concept of its kind in the Moroccan city.

The group is also the leading operator with the largest portfolio of extended-stay properties outside of the US, boasting a network of almost 300 properties and 60 more under development. In 2018, the group witnessed 100% development growth in the MEA as global demand for this type of product gained momentum and as a result, it is on track to more than triple its portfolio from 10 to 30-plus stand-alone and co-located extended-stay projects by 2022.

With 12 brands in the extended-stay space, Accor is reimagining this product and service offering and eyeing opportunities to leverage its expertise in strategic locations where large infrastructure projects demand this type of hospitality concept. Pipeline projects include Sofitel Wafi in Dubai, featuring 97 serviced residences (opening in 2020) in addition to 501 luxury rooms & suites, and a variety of food & beverage venues and luxury amenities.

Accor is also championing a hospitality concept that is new to the Middle East market – all-inclusive, all-exclusive and fully-integrated entertainment resorts operated by Rixos, a brand with a unique positioning that has fast gained market traction since the Group took a share in the company.

The October 2018 opening of Rixos Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi features 366 rooms and suites, 12 four-bed villas with private pools, 10 restaurants and lounges, a water park, spa, kids’ club, water sports centre and much more. This tested new hospitality formula proved an overnight success, appealing to guests from major regional and global source markets who appreciate luxury, high service standards, value for money and innovative entertainment and dining all under one roof.

Accor is now in advanced discussions to manage several more all-inclusive entertainment resorts operated by Rixos in major Gulf markets, as well as leisure destination favorite, Egypt.

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