Trends and market updates with Laure Morvan, CDO of Accor

Trends and market updates with Laure Morvan, CDO of Accor

Laure Morvan, chief development officer for Accor India, Middle East and Africa, has always been fascinated by the tourism industry. Here, she shares her market insights and Accor’s role in the evolution of hospitality.

What are the distinctive features of Accor properties?
Our portfolio is distinctive in itself thanks to a large number of brands that are divided into segments, namely luxury, premium and mid-eco. Our luxury segment, for example, comprises The Fairmont, Raffles and Sofitel.

What are Accor’s latest green initiatives?
Accor is deeply committed to sustainable value creation and plays an active role in giving back to the planet and the community.
With the belief that there are no small actions when it comes to sustainability, simple initiatives have been implemented in our hotels.
The Dubai Can partnership, for instance, aligns perfectly with our commitment to reducing single-use plastic by the end of 2022.

How would you describe the hospitality industry in the MENA region and which markets do you regard as most lucrative?
Egypt is currently seeing positive demand for projects, whether business properties based in Cairo New Administrative Capital — where we recently signed a Sofitel Cairo New Capital Hotel & Residences — or resorts located on coastal destinations. There is definitely an increase in property opportunities being brought to Accor, which we are discussing and looking forward to signing in the coming months.
Saudi Arabia, with its giga projects and new destinations, such as AlUla, is also proving to be an active market for us. We are seeing an increase in demand for luxury resorts in projects such as NEOM and the Red Sea, as well as city properties which offer extended-stay options in all brand segments, such as the recently signed Novotel Living Riyadh.
Dubai is a ripe market as we know. However, it is still very much an open market for new brands entering the region. 25Hours and SLS are two properties we recently opened there.
Moreover, we are seeing a greater number conversion projects, where existing properties wish to change the management brand or independent hotels seek to join an international brand and distribution network.

What are the latest hotel trends and how is Accor keeping its brand relevant?
Lifestyle is definitely one of the shining stars among the latest hotel trends. Since joining forces with Ennismore, Accor has become a global leader when it comes to lifestyle hospitality. The region also counts some of the most iconic properties, including SLS Dubai, introducing the first female-led kitchen in the Middle East —Fi’lia — or through 25Hours One Central Dubai, the first 25Hours property outside of Europe.
For the time being, the focus will be on developing our lifestyle brands and long-stay brands in all brand segments, from midscale to premium and luxury, with brands such as Swissotel Living and Novotel Living in Turkey, UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Branded residences are also trending. We recently announced plans to open 38 branded residential projects throughout 2023 and 2024. So far, in 2022, we have signed three branded residential projects in the region, with another three expected in the next couple of months. By the end of 2024, we will be operating more than 15 branded residential projects in the region across Accor and Ennismore, with 49 percent of the pipeline being in the premium brand segment and 75 percent of the existing network being luxury.
Furthermore, all-inclusive accommodations are growing in the region. Building on the success of Rixos, Accor recently launched the All-Inclusive Collection, which offers luxury and premium brands, such as Fairmont, Sofitel, Pullman, Swissotel and Movenpick.
Experiential stays that focus on nature and wellness yet can be personalized, which we offer through Mantis and Banyan Tree, are becoming more popular. The Mantis Collection is a selection of hotels, eco-lodges and waterways, while Banyan Tree is a luxury brand centered on well-being and sustainability. Next month, we will be welcoming Banyan Tree AlUla. to KSA.

What are Accor’s latest projects?
We just opened Rixos Marina Abu Dhabi, which is our second Rixos property in the Emirates’ capital.
In Saudi Arabia, we recently signed a management agreement to open the first Novotel Living in Riyadh, and we are soon to open the Swissotel Living in Jeddah.
Banyan Tree AlUla opens in October, which will be the first outpost for the brand in Saudi Arabia. The project is an all-villa resort, offering 79 luxurious tented villas in one of the world’s most mysterious and exciting new destinations.
Our third and fourth Fairmont properties will be opening in Morocco before the end of the year: Fairmont Tazi Palace Tangier and the Fairmont Rabat Sale Marina.
Finally, Fairmont Doha and Raffles Doha in the iconic Katara Towers will be welcoming guests in Qatar just in time for the FIFA World Cup.

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About author

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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