DBS Preview: “Brand is a major success driver for direct booking strategies”
The Direct Booking Summit: EMEA 2019 will be touching down in Paris on June 12-13.
Today, we spoke to Antoine Dubois, SVP Global Marketing Strategy, Accor Group. On Day One, Antoine will share insights into the impact that Brand can have on your hotel’s business strategy. Find out more about his talk Repositioning your brand: From hospitality to augmented hospitality, how to shape the future of our industry and check the agenda here.
Can you tell us about the challenges you’re facing in your current position at Accor Group?
Accor Group has tremendously evolved the last three years. We moved from less than 15 to more than 38 brands! Today, we have a massive presence in Luxury and Premium universes while still keeping our leadership in the midscale and economic segments.
We keep developing to answer the modern consumer’s needs. Private rental, co-working, e-concierge, catering and restaurants.. these are only a few areas in which Accor is playing a key role today. We are calling our new strategy ‘Augmented Hospitality’.
With Augmented Hospitality, Accor established itself as a powerhouse of hotel brands with a large variety of experiences that can answer a great range of various guest requests. That is why my first and main challenge is to change the perception of the group at the corporate level across the entire market!
The second challenge: the evolution of customer loyalty programs. Today’s consumers have more choices than ever before. That’s why we have to create a seamless ecosystem to ensure they keep staying with us. In fact, we have just announced the launch of our new lifestyle loyalty program ALL (Accor Live Limitless). It embodies our vision of Augmented Hospitality into one single program and platform. We want to solidify its success by the end of 2019!
How has your approach to customer acquisition in the evolving digital space changed?
In the last decade, hotels were more focused on their business models and standardization. These processes used to be more important than client satisfaction. But today, consumers are at the heart of everything we do! I believe that is was the disruption of the digital world that woke us all up. We never start a project today at Accor without asking consumers what they want first!
At the same time, I believe that the hotel industry is becoming more digital-savvy and starts perceiving digital distribution as a part of a broader customer journey. Instead of focusing solely on the acquisition, we think about an entire funnel, including experiences onsite. This is the global approach today, in a nutshell.
What should hoteliers think about when they position their hotel brand for their global and domestic audiences?
They have first to define clearly what it will make them unique on the market, the reason why the brand exist and what make it different from competitors (global or local). Then each brand need to have a passion it can communicate with. It can be design, art, music, Cinema… something in line with its positioning and can touch the consumers in their everyday life. Finally, Brand need to activate this passion as strong as it can be to own this passion and work on its perception.
Is there a way to measure the success of a hotel brand?
Of course, there is! A ‘brand love’ can be measured both at a global scale and at a property level. Certain digital tools can allow us to measure brand satisfaction, perception and likeability. At Accor, we can get data for our marketers to analyze the equity of our hotel brands – and look at ways to improve it.
I strongly believe that a hotel’s brand is a major success driver in the direct booking strategy.
Google’s or OTAs’ search results can also be a way to measure the success of your brand strategy. If consumers look at your brand online, it means that your brand is already on their consideration list.
When it comes to driving more direct bookings with brand-related strategies, localization, good pricing and loyalty schemes can help you convert more customers on your website. A well-defined, consistent brand and powerful content can truly make a difference. Without visual identity, tone of voice, and the imagery that reflects your hotel brand, your business strategy might not be as effective as it could be!
What can the Direct Booking Summit’s attendees learn from your talk?
Today, brands are an important part of the hospitality industry. I will explain how to build a link between your brand online and in the physical world. We cannot succeed if we keep separating these two elements. I’m really happy to have this opportunity to speak to fellow hoteliers at this event about the importance and impact of a brand!
Join Antoine and hundreds of fellow hoteliers during the Summit’s two days of streamed talks, panels and workshops – as well as a legendary party.