Accor Group is the largest hotel chain in Europe and among the largest in the world. Accor has been on a acquisition spree as much as an innovation spree – they have acquired the Raffles, Fairmont, Swissotel and Moevenpick brands at the luxury end and launched Jo & Joes at the hostel end of the spectrum. They are also venturing into home-rentals and other travel related services, making this an interesting hotel company to watch!
The Hotel Group: Accor is based in Europe and has more 4,195 hotels in 92 countries, making it one of the biggest hotel companies in the world. With 73% of their hotels in Europe, Africa and the Middle-East and 18% in Asia, their global distribution is the mirror opposite of the big American chains. They are growing quickly in Asia and will often be the only big chain you’ll find off the beaten path! Their biggest brand is ibis, an economy brand, followed by Mercure, a mid-scale, full-service brand. The luxury Sofitel is one of my favorite luxury brands for their style and impeccable service! You can find all the facts & figures here!
The Experience: Accor has a dizzying range of brands with increasing services from the basic ibis to the luxurious Sofitel. They all are a little more fashionable in design and out-fitting than their American competitors. Within each brand, they are very consistent in the decor of the rooms, similar to Marriott, making them very reliable in what to expect from your room. Service has improved a lot in my experience, especially in Asia where even budget-ibis hotels deliver friendly and attentive service at levels you rarely find in Europe or the US at much higher price points!
The ibis chain has cracked the code on ergonomic rooms, making them one of the best values at the lower end. The Mercure chain is a step up, offering full-service, mid-scale accommodation in Style. Similar in price, but more targeting business travelers is the Novotel brand., and yes, it’s more stylish than your typical Marriott or Hilton hotel, too, you get the idea! The pullman brand is an upscale, youthful brand think of them as Accor’s W or Kimpton competitor! At the top end, the luxurious Sofitel brand is getting company from Raffles, Fairmont and Swissotel, so there is more and more to like at the upper end of their portfolio, too!
The Rewards Program: The Accor Le Club program is one of the least written about and loved hotel rewards program in the industry. It’s a revenue based program, so you won’t be able to have these amazing value redemptions of few points at a luxury hotel. But it does offer great value with frequent promotions, making it easy to earn points and status! The status benefits have greatly improved over the years and top level Platinum status will now get you lounge access around the world and free breakfast at least in trend-setting Asia! Find out more about the program in my detailed review!