November 2019, Amsterdam
Accor: going ‘ALL’ out to build a modern loyalty programme
Loyalty in travel is not what it used to be and like many other hotel groups, Accor is looking to build an ecosystem of partnerships to engage its customers
Loyalty programmes of the past no longer hold value. In a panel discussion at EyeforTravel’s recent Digital Strategy Summit, Thomas Gmelch, Head of Travel & Mobility at Amazon Pay, summed it up nicely. “Those people that feel proud because they have a platinum card in their pocket are a dying breed. Instead, loyalty programme users today are looking for tangible benefits that enrich their day-to-day lives.”
This was one of the key findings of EyeforTravel’s most recent white paper - Loyalty: Addressing the Pain Points in the Age of Experience, which features insights from Wyndham, Hilton, JetBlue and more.
It is also the reason that hotel chains are moving from a strategy based purely on points-based loyalty to one that is focused on lifestyle. In other words, instead of being product focused, they are focused on driving loyalty.
Those people that feel proud because they have a platinum card in their pocket are a dying breed
Speaking at the event about how Accor’s new vision for loyalty was Senior Vice President, Guest Experience and Engagement, Fernand Fernandez. “We want to see engagement with the guest beyond the stay. We want to be much more than just a product. We want to become part of the guest’s everyday life,” he said.
We want to become part of the guest’s everyday life
Accor Hotels currently reserves around 500 million rooms each year, while Club Accor, the group’s loyalty programme has some 50 million members. “The idea is to develop an ecosystem that draws those two things closer together into one single platform ‘all for one, all for you’,” says Fernandez.
Marketing speak this may be, but this is the essence of Accor’s new loyalty programme – ALL, which stands for Accor Live Limitless.
The group has taken a cue from Netflix and Amazon and has really drilled down to understand what guests want and two things stand out: the need for simplicity and the ability to access content and product in a seamless and immediate way.
Building an ecosystem
Like Wyndham, which took part in the EyeforTravel’s white paper, Accor has been focused on widening its’ offering through relevant new acquisitions and building premium, relevant partnerships. Over the past three years, it has been busy. In fact, the group now represents a range of different brands which, says Fernandez, “scale throughout our various guest profiles” - from Jo&Joe, a shared room space, right up to the ultra premium brand Raffles. One interesting move, spurred by the growing demand for experiences led to the group adding 21 C Museum hotel.
But this is not just about putting more heads on beds, it’s also about concierge services, food and beverage (worth $5-billion to the business!), sport, entertainment, music…indeed anything that is part of a guest’s life.
We are multiplying the touch points that we have with our guests, from our airline partners to mobility partners, and beyond our hotel brands
“We are multiplying the touch points that we have with our guests, from our airline partners to mobility partners, and beyond our hotel brands. We want to integrate that into what we do today and how we can engage with guests,” he explained. The ambition is that guests will have the ability to earn points through Accor’s loyalty programme for a range of different products and services – not just the hotel room!
Accor is tackling customer engagement and loyalty head on. “It is all about understanding the guest preferences and being proactive in engagement rather than being reactive when they come to you,” he said.
To enrich the programme, it has added two new status levels – diamond and black – to the existing four (classic, silver, gold, platinum). The idea is to integrate mobility options with F&B, tours, experiences and so on all within one programme, and allow guests to earn and redeem wherever they choose.
Accor has identified “three passion points”. Food & Beverage, Entertainment and Sport, and the group has built partnerships with agencies like IMG which give guests unique opportunities to redeem points at one of its culinary taste festivals in London, Dubai or Hong Kong. At its IBIS hotels, music is centre stage. More on this in 4 ways that Accor is getting IBIS into an experiential groove.
If you missed the London show, why not join us later in the year for the Amsterdam for the EyeforTravel Revenue and Optimisation Summit (Nov 27-28)