Exclusive Interview – Chris Cahill – CEO Luxury Brands, AccorHotels
It’s now been more than a year since AccorHotels integrated FRHI. We asked Chris Cahill, CEO Luxury Brands, AccorHotels, what the biggest challenges have been in bringing it all together.
WE’VE ESTABLISHED AN OPERATIONAL FRAMEWORK WITH DEDICATED RESOURCES AND SPECIFIC BRAND STRATEGIES TO ENSURE DIFFERENTIATION
The primary challenge is technology and the speed with which we can merge systems to maximize performance. During this past year, we found very positive things that came out of our work, three notably. We have identified common values around respect and pride. We found out that strategic fit meant little overlap. We have acquired talent to bolster our resources in the luxury tier.
How has this changed the group’s paradigm when it comes to marketing?
To effectively support the luxury segment, we’ve established an operational framework with dedicated resources and specific brand strategies to ensure differentiation amongst our own brands as well as the competition. This business within a business model includes experienced brand leaders, accomplished talent & culture professionals, and luxury-focused regional teams. AccorHotels’ luxury & upper upscale brands continuously evolve with innovative programs and services tailored to the distinct needs of the luxury traveler. Examples include the art concierge at Le Royal Monceau, Raf es Paris; Swissôtel’s Vitality Room, a holistic wellness concept to help guests revitalize their bodies, minds and souls; and a tailored woman’s stay experience, «Inspired by Her» at MGallery hotels worldwide.
What are the key goals of this integration?
For starters, we have now a very diverse collection of luxury and upper upscale brands. The portfolio encompasses more than 490 properties and includes legendary flagships such as Raffles Singapore, Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris, The Plaza in New York, London’s The Savoy, and Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam. The luxury portfolio of AccorHotels is amply resourced for expansion, with a solid footprint in North America, a wide base and rapidly expanding presence across Asia, the Middle East and Europe, and a diverse set of luxury brands to deliver the right product for each market. We aim for a high degree of personalization and individual recognition and an approach, be it in wellness, design or our culinary offerings that inspires guests to feel healthier, happier and more enriched by staying with us.
Our structure is also very original and acquisition of talent and best practices are key. Our approach has been to merge the organization and learn from each team and leverage best practices not just assimilate which can erode value in any major transaction.