Agnès Roquefort, global chief development officer of Accor, lifts the lid on luxury hospitality trends

Agnès Roquefort, global chief development officer of Accor, lifts the lid on luxury hospitality trends

Agnès Roquefort ACCOR

In luxury travel, where experiences reign supreme, Agnès Roquefort, global chief development officer, luxury and lifestyle division at Accor, unveils the latest hospitality trends and the opportunities that lie ahead.

 What are the latest developments in the luxury and lifestyle sector?

Global demand for high-end travel experiences is accelerating, projected to reach USD 2.32 trillion by 2030. Accor plans to open 100 luxury and lifestyle hotels in the next two years. Expectations include at least 50 new luxury and lifestyle project signings annually.

Moreover, Accor curates one of the world’s most extraordinary hospitality portfolios, designing experiences attractive to both locals and travelers. The company seamlessly adapts to consumer expectations, including sustainable travel and family-friendly all-inclusive experiences, in this thriving market.

Aligned with Saudi Vision 2030, Accor invests deeply in the future of KSA tourism. As the largest hospitality operator in the kingdom, Accor plays a pivotal role in tourism development and growth. There’s a significant opportunity to grow luxury and lifestyle brands in giga projects, including The Red Sea, AlUla and NEOM. For example, The Red Sea development will feature Raffles, Fairmont, Faena and SLS brands. In the Diriyah Gate master development, Accor contributes with Orient Express, Raffles and Faena expansions.

In the UAE, with Dubai leading as a premier destination, sustainable tourism initiatives are driving the market. Indeed, Accor has introduced iconic brands like Banyan Tree and SO/ last year, capitalizing on lifestyle branded residential offerings.

Additionally, in Qatar, aligned with the Qatar National Vision 2030, Accor is delivering unparalleled hospitality experiences. This includes opening Raffles and Fairmont Doha and collaborating with Rixos Gulf to introduce Doha’s first all-inclusive resort.

What can you tell us about Accor’s luxury hospitality activities in the region?

Collection brands are changing the game. Emblems Collection targets luxury. MGallery serves entry-level luxury. Handwritten Collection, launched in 2023, is rapidly growing.

Accor continues its progress in branded residences. Over 150 communities are expected by 2027 through Accor One Living.

Almost all Accor’s L&L brands offer exclusive residences. Fairmont and Raffles were pioneers. Newer brands like SLS appeal to younger homeowners.

In Riyadh, a new development project is emerging, including Raffles hotel, Sofitel Serviced Residence and MGallery villa resort by 2027.

Our position in luxury and lifestyle hospitality aligns with Indian travelers. Furthermore, Fairmont Jaipur is popular for weddings. Sofitel Mumbai BKC is central. Raffles Udaipur offers a private island.

How do you develop strategies to target the right talent?

Accor prioritizes fostering local talent and inclusion. Challenges exist in attracting talent, especially among the younger generation, who seek competitive remuneration. They also prioritize work-life balance and purpose-driven jobs. The new generation values transparency and authenticity in the workplace. Accor aims to revitalize the hospitality industry while welcoming talent from diverse backgrounds. We achieve this by being authentic and creating emotional connections.

Our partnership with the KSA Ministry of Tourism, Tamayyaz by Accor, focuses on building a Nationalization Development Program. This program enables Saudi talents to acquire skills and knowledge through tailor-made on-the-job training plans. Moreover, we focus on attracting fresh graduates with entry-level jobs to impact localization plans positively. Developing current employees to supervisory and leadership levels is crucial. Furthermore, Tamayyaz offers clear career paths to attract talent from other industries. The key outcomes include increasing Saudi talents’ employment, enhancing their skills, and preparing them for leadership roles. Additionally, it aims to enhance the hospitality industry’s reputation.

In your opinion, has the concept of luxury changed? 

Luxury and lifestyle hospitality evolves beyond mere accommodations. Accor reinvents how travelers experience hospitality for today and tomorrow.

Accor crafts multi-faceted hospitality experiences, moving beyond room stays. Moreover, guests immerse themselves in Accor luxury or lifestyle brands. Accor establishes branded residences, coworking spaces, extended stay hotels, private clubs and more.

Beyond Accor’s brands, travelers connect with other beloved brands. Accor integrates award-winning restaurants, boutique fitness centers, world-class wellness brands and exclusive experiences.

Today’s luxury travelers seek deeper connections with destinations. Furthermore cultural appeal is crucial for affluent 18- to 34-year-olds. Engaging with local culture significantly enhances luxury travel.

High-income travelers prioritize experiencing different cultures and learning new things. Sustainability is integral to modern luxury travel. Accor leads with environmentally friendly operations, offering responsible, eco-friendly trips.

Global consumers prefer travel companies with strong sustainability credentials. Furthermore, they are willing to pay more for sustainable trips. Accor aligns with sustainable practices, reducing environmental impact.

At the Red Sea Project, Accor delivers unique barefoot luxury experiences. Banyan Tree AlUla in the Ashar Valley offers eco-luxurious experiences in Saudi Arabia.


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Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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