Accor Hotels is a world leader in hotel management, with more than 3500 hotels in the world, their well-known brands include Sofitel, Fairmont, Novotel, Ibis Hotel, Pullman, and more.
When it comes to customer engagement, Accor is strongly committed to providing individualized, memorable customer experiences that fully integrate the use of social media to engage the customer.
Accor understands that through heightened customer engagement comes heighted customer loyalty and ultimately, heightened corporate revenues. Accor is continuously looking for innovative ways to further engage their customers in order to provide the ultimate customer experience that will have them returning again and again.
Given the ever increasing competition for customer attention, Accor has embraced social media and has become a global leader in digital presence focusing on multi device engagement with emphasis towards the management of its on-line reputation.
Over the years, Accor has implemented a myriad of innovative strategies to further engage their customers and add to the Accor experience.
As a testimony to Accor being on the leading edge of technology, in 2015 Accor launched the Accor Hotels app for Apple Watch™. The Accor Hotels app for Apple Watch™ is available in 10 languages and works in connection with the smartphone app. The app promotes the Accor Hotels and engages users by allowing them to manage current bookings on Accorhotels.com
Acquisition of Jean Paul
In November of 2016, Accor acquired 80% of Jean Paul which is a luxury concierge service. The deal further illustrates the value Accor places on creating a memorable customer experience. Through the acquisition, the brand will have access to John Paul’s workforce of 1,000 concierge employees, significantly enhancing the brand’s loyalty prospects. Jean Paul has state-of-the-art CRM software that allows it to build extensive customer specific profiles detailing customer preferences and behaviours. Jean Paul then uses information to provide customized proactive services to the customer by engaging with them on a mobile app. The customer is able to engage with the concierge and provide feedback.
Le Club-Customer Recognition Programs
Accor’s has designed their loyalty program Le Club to stimulate customer engagement. The program has more than 26 million members that can earn sought-after hotel points by providing feedback on their experience. Customers can visit http://www.clubopinions.com, provide their feedback on how to improve their overall experience and then earn points towards hotels, car rentals, etc.. This strategy drives customer loyalty and provides Accor with valuable information used build customer profiles and enhance the customer experience.
Business Check powered by LinkedIn
Another innovative strategy employed by Accor is a partnership with LinkedIn which is the world’s largest professional network. Again, with the objective of strengthening customer loyalty through customer engagement and personalization, Accor joined forces with LinkedIn to create Business Check powered by LinkedIn mobile app, which facilitates business networking opportunities by connecting its customers with people in their network that are based in the city they are visiting. Another innovative way to augment the client experience through engagement and personalization.
Local Measure Platform
Local Measure is a social media platform used by Accor to provide guests with a personalized experience. Olivier Arnoux, Director Experience and Satisfaction at AccorHotels, explains: “Today, 77% of travelers share visual content on the social networks during their stay. By capturing all the opinions and content in real time as they are shared on line, Local Measure gives AccorHotels a way of strengthening its expertise in customer satisfaction so as to react even faster.”
Trip Advisor, the world’s largest travel site provides a forum for travellers to share their respective experiences at various hotels internationally. Feedback is valuable for hotels as it provides an opportunity to improve customer experiences and engage directly with customers. Accor has taken it a step further and now partners with TripAdvisor to collect reviews from travelers after they return from their stay. Accor features the Trip Advisor traveler rating and the most recent traveler reviews and stories for each hotel directly on their website. This initiative not only demonstrates Accor’s willingness to embrace customer feedback and engagement, it also illustrates Accor’s commitment to transparency and customer engagement.
In an interview with Michele Guzzo, Regional Director, Internet Marketing for the Eastern Canada region of Fairmont Hotels, when asked about Fairmont’s use of social media in customer engagement, specifically, how Fairmont uses social media to create a personalized experience for its customers. Michele stated the following:
- We take pride in the fact that guests can reach out to us via our Social Media platforms and expect a quick answer just like if they would come see us at the Front Desk or call us over the phone. The basics are fundamental!
- We monitor our Social Media platforms and make sure to engage with any guest who talks about Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. We especially love intercepting conversations about our hotel without people not even talking to us directly!
- We engage with all guests who comment on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts either by commenting or at the least, liking their comment. We engage with guests who check-in at our hotel on Facebook by wishing them a great stay. We also search for guests talking about Quebec City in general and try to interact with them also.
- We love creating “Surprise & Delights” upon arrival based on interactions that we have with our guests on Social Media. Often times, they will mention to us that they are looking forward to staying with us to celebrate a special milestone. We take this opportunity to relay this information to our Operations team in order for them to acknowledge this event during their stay and try to make it extra special!
- Also, we love playing detective and searching guests’ Social Media profiles and look for opportunities to surprise them with a special welcome amenity, for example.
- We love showcasing images that guests share on their SM platforms on our own accounts. Our guests are very much involved in our user generated content! We create our very own hashtag (#momentsLCF) exactly for this purpose.
The customer engagement strategies implemented by Accor Hotels have been effective at making it an industry leader. Time and time again, Accor Hotels has received rewards and accolades for its customer service and commitment towards employee attraction and retention. In early 2015, it was rewarded with three Springboard awards for excellence in its work to attract and retain employees. In 2016, The Novotel Wollongong Northbeach has won three major awards at the Pacific Franchise Awards for Accor Hotels. One of which was the Peopleologist of the Year award for dedication to the hotel, customer service and creating unique experiences.
Accor’s digital media investment has been rewarding, according to Accor Hotels Chief Operating Officer of Accor pacific, Simon McGrath, “The consumer purchase process for hotels has drastically changed over the past five years towards online. We no longer own the brand conversation, so it’s critical we are responsive to customer feedback and manage our online reputation. Our digital dollars are weighted towards search engine marketing, through which we see a 25:1 return.”
Lessons for Others
Accor Hotels has proven itself to be an impressive case study of how a company can foster customer loyalty, sustainable growth and revenues through a dedicated focus on the front-line customer. Moreover, Accor has continuously found innovative ways to enlighten, improve and personalize the customer experience via interactive customer engagement and customization.
Top Lessons for Consideration:
- Positive customer engagement and experience results in customers becoming strong brand ambassadors.
- People are increasingly searching on-line for information, hence, to be successful significant investments should be made in digital marketing with a focus on managing front line reputation.
- Customers like to share their experiences and stories in real time which leads to opportunities for interaction, relationship development and customer profile development.
- Customers are always on line, in any location, on any device.
- To build customer loyalty, customers want to be heard and valued for their feedback.
- Customer feedback is valuable and necessary for companies wanting to continuously improve the customer experience and earn customer loyalty.
- To achieve customer loyalty is to know what the customer wants before they do. Being proactive builds loyalty. Accor Hotels prides itself on being one step ahead of its customers, it makes it a priority to understand each customer’s profile so intimately that it can personalize each experience and proactively offer services and amenities customized to each guest with the objective of creating memorable customer moments.
- To be successful, companies must understand the trend towards social, mobile and real-time and shift efforts to providing a real-time responses and platforms to support the sharing and encouragement of customer feedback and engagement.
Accor Hotels has effectively demonstrated that to build a successful and sustainable business, companies need to listen and talk to their customers via social networks with a focus on multi device engagement.
Name of Organization Contact: Martin Cintas, Communications Manager, Corporate
Authored by: Diana N. Oddi
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