Ludovic Dupont, Accor’s V-P Meetings & Events, talks to Sydney PauldenI took advantage of EIBTM 2013 in Barcelona last month to meet many senior MICE executives who are otherwise difficult to trace. In this sector no one seems to know in which part of he world they might be from one day to another.
On the Accor Stand was Ludovic Dupont, the French hotel group’s Vice-President in the Global Sales Department responsible for Meetings & Events.
What does that mean in terms of numbers? Well, Accor has about 3,500 properties under brand names such as Sofitel, Novotel, Pullman, M Gallery and Ibis. Of course, Accor is Number One group in France, but it is also the biggest hotel operator in Brazil and Australia, Number Two in China and Number 16 in North America.
Ludovic couldn’t be entirely sure how many hotels there are exactly. ‘We are adding between 150 and 250 new hotels each year’, he explained. ‘There are some 2,000 properties that have extensive MICE facilities’.
Ludovic was able to quote some very salient statistics that are influencing Accor’s current thinking.
‘About 50% of all enquiries’, he told me, ‘are for events with less than 30 participants.’
Accordingly, they are working on developing a system whereby bookings for these can be an online Do-It-Yourself procedure, with prices and availability accessible at the organiser’s fingertips.
This will be the next step in a system that Accor has just introduced called The Accor Meeting Hotel Finder.
Ludovic explains that there is an unfortunate trend for organisers to increase the number of requests for a quotation for each event. This is increasing the workload of hotels without increasing the volume of business. It is also impacting on the clients, who might not get the rapid turn-round they want.
‘We fully understand’, he says, ‘that budgets around the globe are still under pressure and that organisers are looking for the best value for money and so we have introduced an online system to help everyone in this business environment.
‘Our new website’, says Ludovic, ‘allows users to key in all their requirements and it then comes back with a shortlist of Accor Hotels that meet those criteria. The users can then click through to these properties and further refine their list before requesting a quotation. It very effectively reduces the time and effort spent by all parties.’
The criteria that can be keyed in include location (country, city, airport), number of participants, room layout, number of guestrooms and category of hotel.