Accor today revealed plans for more than 150 upmarket Pullman hotels by the end of the decade, including up to ten in the UK.
The French group currently owns 79 Pullman properties, predominantly in the Asia-Pacific region – just one, London Pullman St Pancras, is in Britain.
Accor is aiming to double this portfolio in the next five years by targeting both business and leisure travellers through a “stimulating, cosmopolitan and stylish experience”.
Gregoire Champetier, Accor’s chief marketing officer, told Business Traveller: “We know that we are in a challenging position, so what we are trying to do is put Pullman in a position that is truly unique.”
He added: “The realistic objective is to double the number of Pullman hotels by 2015 to 2020.”
When Accor launched the Pullman brand in 2007, it planned 300 hotels by 2015. The economic crisis, which began the following year, blunted that ambitious figure, particularly in Europe.
The group is now aiming to increase its presence in western Europe and continue its rapid expansion in the Asia-Pacific region.
Champetier said: “We are thinking about more Pullmans in London and there will certainly be two or three other Pullmans in the UK. In France, we will probably have two or three more in Marseilles.
“Our development team is aggressive. We will have 150 properties by 2020 if all goes to plan.”
Accor is to start trialling a “Welcome” echeck-in/-out service – designed to appeal to business travellers, who make up approximately 60 per cent of the hotel’s clientele – at ten of its hotels in the next few weeks.
Barring any technical problems, Champetier expects the system, the full details of which remain under wraps for now, to roll out to all Accor hotels in early 2014.
He said: “It’s going to be a system where you do the reservation and can then pre-book yourself on your smartphone or computer [before arriving].
“When you get to the hotel, you just take your key – it’s very fast.”
For more information, visit pullmanhotels.com.
Report by Graham Smith