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Become a "Heartist®" - Column by Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Accor

"Hospitality is an industry that, throughout the history of humanity, has always been focused on taking care of others." - Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Accor

Every morning, no matter what the day ahead looks like, I remember that I am lucky to work in a sector that is blessed. Hospitality is an industry that, throughout the history of humanity, has always been focused on taking care of others. It’s an industry which continues to grow over the long-term despite the successive crises we have experienced in recent years. And it’s an industry that is constantly renewing itself and creating moments where we can get together and interact, with each day enhanced by new experiences.

We have to admit that our industry is not perfect. But can you name any other business that lets you start as a housekeeper in a hotel and work your way up to the Executive Committee of an international group? For example, at Accor, Heather McCrory, who now leads our North and Central America region, began her career as a housekeeper at Fairmont Banff Spring. Our industry is an incredible driver of social mobility. I keep repeating it, but it’s something I see every day among the 280,000 employees in the 5,100-plus hotels that make up our Group. I could give you thousands of examples. 

To succeed, there are certain skills which are essential. Our hospitality roles are synonymous with dedication, excellence, attention to detail and professionalism. But also – and this is less well acknowledged – they are synonymous with initiative, autonomy, entrepreneurship and boldness. Hospitality demands interpersonal skills and expertise; at Accor we expect not just the highest standards of professional conduct but also what we now refer to as soft skills. For example, at Mama Shelter, we’ll hire a mixologist based on their ability to connect with the customer, not just their knowledge of spirits; we’re looking for a lifestyle, an art de vivre. And you will find different unique examples of other soft skills at all our other hotel brands as well.

But there is one thing common to all our brands and all our professions: everything that we do at Accor comes from the heart. Every Accor employee is a “Heartist®”, which means we always put people at the heart of what we do. Taking care of others. Providing a unique and warm welcome. Dreaming, pushing boundaries, creating new sensations, and inspiring experiences. It’s vital to us that we acknowledge the value and talent that each individual brings to our Group and empower them to take control of their own development.

This will continue as we grow in the coming years. In 2020, the travel and tourism industry accounted for 300 million jobs globally: 1 out of 10 in the world. We are committed to ensuring that everyone who takes one of those jobs at Accor can bring their own personality, history, culture and religion. As a major employer with a wealth of talent, we are deeply committed to Diversity & Inclusion for employees and customers alike. For example, more than 34% of our hotel directors are now women. We’re proud that these roles, which were historically regarded as male professions, are increasingly gender balanced, and we are taking steps to further drive equality for women at all levels.

The hospitality of the future is the hospitality that we are building today. And at Accor, we need future workers like you to help us rethink how we see and do things, how we think and how we act. Each year, we hold a challenge, “Take Off!”, which brings together 500 students from 86 schools in 25 countries across five continents. It is an opportunity to work on an issue or problem which then drives our professions forward and continues to help them grow.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been rolling out an initiative within our ALL Heartists® fund to help welcome interns globally. In France, we have signed an agreement with the platform “1 Jeune, 1 Solution” to promote the recruitment of young people.  Regardless of the circumstances, we continue to ensure we have the resources to continue supporting each other.

Hospitality is about trusting yourself, trusting your heart and using it to serve others. It’s vital to us that we ensure other people feel welcome, feel at ease, feel safe and ultimately feel at home in our hotels. You need us, just like we need you to continue creating these daily experiences that our guests will remember for the rest of their lives, as these experiences also enhance our lives. That is why we work for this industry and are proud to be involved in a welcoming and nourishing world, that of focusing on others – which ultimately generates virtuous circles.

Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Accor

Hospitality is an industry that, throughout the history of humanity, has always been focused on taking care of others.

“Heartist®” describes both Accor culture and who we are. Everything we do comes from the heart, and we’re experts in what we do. Generous, attentive, and free, we ensure that everyone can come as they are, and feel like they belong.

Heart (Everything we do comes from the heart) + Artist (we’re experts in what we do) » = Heartist®

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