By Neil Halligan
AccorHotels looks to brands aimed at younger, casual travellers in favour of luxury brands from recently acquired FRHI Hotels & Resorts
AccorHotels plans to bring two of its newer brands to Dubai in the coming years, as the company focuses on bringing two and three star offerings to the emirate.
The French hotel giant acquired luxury hotel company FRHI Hotels & Resorts last year in a $2.9 billion deal that brought brands like Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel to AccorHotels’ portfolio.
AccorHotels’ CEO Sébasitien Bazin, in an interview with Arabian Business, said there is enough supply when it comes to luxury segment in Dubai, and investors need to turn to where the future demand is coming.
“I think Dubai, the emirates and the GCC countries need much more to be better equipped into the two and three star category than they need to be equipped in the luxury segment,” he said.
“We’re not here to add new capacity, we’re here add additional breadth through the acquisitions we have made. We will continue to deliver the pipeline, but I’m spending as much time, if not more on Novotel, Mercure, Sofitel, Pullman, Ibis than I am spending time on Fairmont Raffles.”
AccorHotels, which made its name with brands such as Ibis and Mercure, last year opened one of its largest Ibis hotels in the region, One Central by the Dubai World Trade Centre, with 588 rooms.
While initially coy about revealing plans for new brands in region, Bazin said there are plans to bring its lifestyle brand Mama Shelter to Dubai.
“We would love to have a Mama Shelter in the Dubai market to complete the existing offering and to bring something that it not additional room inventory on what already exists,” he says.
There are also tentative plans to bring its newly launched brand Jo&Joe to Dubai – AccorHotels’ most recent answer to Airbnb.
Jo&Joe is a brand that blends the best of private-rental, hostel and hotel formats. The first two will open in Paris and Bordeaux in 2018, but there are plans to open 50 worldwide by 2020, with Dubai very much on the planned list.
“It’s targeted at the millennials, where we’re no longer selling a room,” Bazin explained. “We’re selling a bed. There’s no partitioning any more. Everything is on wheels.
“People are going to be paying $20 or 22 euro a head, as opposed to a 60 euro room. An entire floor can be reconfigured from 2 to 10 beds.
“Dubai is going to be a perfect positioning for this, and so would Berlin, Bangkok, Sydney,” he revealed.