Expect more Pullman and Ibis hotels in the Asia-Pacific from hospitality giant Accor between now and 2012.
Michael Issenberg, chairman and COO for Accor Asia-Pacific, said there were 21 Pullman developments committed in Asia-Pacific, counting the latest two projects, the urban Pullman Dongguan Dalang and the resort Pullman Zhangjiajie. More will pop up in Bali, Gurgaon (New Delhi), Lijiang, Sanya and Vung Tao (Vietnam).
The Pullman brand, acquired by Accor not too long ago, is known for its sizeable meeting and recreational facilities. Currently, there are 15 hotels operating in Asia under this category.
Ibis, the company’s three-star proposition, is poised for aggressive expansion in China. Graham Wilson, senior vice-president, sales and marketing, Accor Asia-Pacific, revealed that a significant number of Ibis hotels are committed for development in the next 18 months, with several earmarked for the country. “We’ve put in a lot of research into the product. No international brand of that type can do what we can in terms of room standardisation and design, value for money, security, hygiene and quality of service.”
So great is Accor’s belief in China’s potential, last year, it rolled out the Ibis Club, a loyalty programme created just for Chinese travellers as well a website to support their demands. “These mechanisms will help us to understand their needs better,” said Wilson.
In Hongkong, the largest Ibis, outside of Europe, is in the first phase of construction and plans to launch in the first quarter of 2012. Located in Hongkong Island’s western section, Sheung Wan, it will have 550 guestrooms.
The 900th Ibis is due to open in June in Europe.
Simultaneous with the expansion is Accor’s renewed efforts to improve customer service. Said Wilson: “What has come through our research is the clear need to focus on the customer experience. It doesn’t matter how generous a loyalty programme is with points – the corporate guests, especially, want recognition. They want to be greeted when they arrive in the hotel. They want to see the general manager; they want him to understand their needs.
“Nothing can replace the personal touch. We have to constantly remind ourselves to get the basics right, or we lose the essence of what our business is all about.”
An example of Accor’s aim to touch base with the client more creatively is a new employee position, called the “Welcomer”, to be introduced at Pullman properties. The individual, according to Wilson, will “be fully attached to the guest, making sure that every aspect of his stay will be comfortable, problem free and memorable”.
For more, visit www.accor.com
Margie T Logarta