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As the leading hotel operator in France and the 6th largest worldwide, Accor now has more than 4,100 hotels, with a total capacity exceeding 580,000 rooms in 95 countries. The Group has a portfolio of 19 brands across all segments. Chaired by Sébastien Bazin since 2013, the group has accelerated its transformation through acquisitions of hotel brands and many digital companies.
Formerly a SIEH (hotel operations and investment company), Accor Group was founded by Paul Dubrule and Gérard Pélisson in 1967, the year of birth of the Novotel brand. The first hotel in the chain, which opened its doors at Lille Lesquin airport, laid the foundations for a concept that would quickly become a great success. Inspired by "Modern Merchandizing Methods" by Bernardo Trujillo (modern distribution theorist, whose teachings at Dayton were followed by Accor’s founders), Novotel would lay the foundations for the development of chain hotels in Europe.
Thanks to the success of its brand, the group rapidly developed on the French market and then expanded its offering with the launch of the Ibis economy brand (1974) and the acquisition of the Mercure (1975) and Sofitel (1980) brands. At the same time, Accor launched its international operations with the opening of a first hotel in Switzerland in 1972 and then in the United Arab Emirates in 1973. It also began to diversify its activities thanks to the acquisition of Courtepaille in 1975, and with the acquisition of Jacques Borel International in 1982, a company specializing in group catering and issuing meal vouchers.
Renamed Accor in 1983, the group began to develop its first hotel in China in 1984, and in 1985 launched a new super-economy hotel concept, Formula 1. Accor then made its debut in the Americas with the acquisition of the brand Motel 6 in 1990, and in the same year increased its restaurant & catering activity with the takeover of Lenôtre.
The years 1991 and 1997 marked other important steps in the group's diversification strategy with the acquisition of the International Company of Wagons-Beds and Tourism, then SPIC which would then become Accor Casinos. Accor continued to develop its hotel business and launched new concepts: Etap Hotel in super-economy (1991), then SuiteHotel (in 1999) in the aparthotel market, with suites of more than 30 m² with kitchenettes. The group entered a new era in 1997 with the departure of the founders, who handed over the reins to Jean-Marc Espalioux.
In 2004, the group took a 28.9% stake in Club Méditerranée, which it divested from two years later. From 2005 onwards, with Gilles Pélisson at the helm, Accor decided to refocus its activities on hotels and disposed of several assets, notably La Compagnie des Wagons Lits, the luxury caterer Lenôtre, and its shareholdings in the Lucien Barrière group (which had merged with Accor Casinos in 2004), and Compass Group. It sold a growing share of its property assets, and withdrew from the North American continent via Red Roof sales in 2007 ($ 1.3 billion) and Motel 6 in 2012 (for $ 1.9 billion ). Meanwhile, new brands were added to the group's portfolio, including the Pullman and All Seasons brands in 2007 and MGallery in 2008. Under the aegis of Denis Hennequin, the group unveiled its new strategic plan in 2011 with the grouping of its economy banners under the umbrella brand Ibis: Etap Hotel became ibis Budget and All Seasons became the new Ibis Styles.
Sébastien Bazin was appointed CEO of the group in 2013 and announced a redefinition of the economic model around two strategic poles: HotelServices, operator and franchisor, and HotelInvest, owner and investor. At the end of 2014, the group signed a strategic alliance with the Huazhu group (China Lodging), with more than 2,000 hotels, and entered a 35% stake in the lifestyle brand Mama Shelter. It also accelerated its digital transformation with the acquisitions of Wipolo and Fastbooking, a dynamic that led it to change its name in 2015: Accor evolved into AccorHotels.
The acquisition of FRHI Hotels & Resorts in 2016 allowed it to add the luxury brands Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel to its portfolio. The transaction also resulted in Qatar Investment Authority becoming the largest shareholder (10.8%) alongside Al-Waleed, Kingdom Holding Company (5.8%). They joined the Chinese group Jin Jiang which had surpassed the threshold of 15%, while the Colony Capital / Eurazeo consortium gradually disappeared.
Accor also ventured into leases between individuals with the purchase of the luxury apartments sharing site Onefinestay, and equity investments in the Oasis Collections or Squarebreak platforms. It entered the lifestyle hotel market by acquiring 30% of the capital in 25hours Hotels, developed its resorts offering via partnerships with Banyan Tree and Rixos, and launched its hostels brand Jo & Joe, a hybrid product especially for Millennials. Finally, the group is launching the final stage of the sale of its real estate assets carried by HotelInvest with the "Booster project".
Today, Accor operates a portfolio of 19 brands ranging from the luxury segment to the mid-range and budget segments with 4,149 hotels totaling 583,782 rooms. Present on five continents, it is the leading French and European operator, and ranks 6th in the world ranking of hotel groups.