Antoine Dubois "In marketing, it is always healthy to have active competitors who challenge us"

7 min reading time

Published on 17/04/23 - Updated on 17/04/23

Antoine Dubois Accor

Antoine Dubois, Head of marketing, Guest Experience and Loyalty Europe and North Africa at Accor, sees marketing and communication as a field for innovation and exchange with passionate and exciting people. In this interview, he shares his vision and ambitions in relation to the new scope he was recently given.

More than 12 years with the Accor Group, what makes you feel so good?

It has indeed been 12 years already... I came from the world of media, entertainment and communication. I took this job as a challenge to work on international topics and multi-brand issues. What keeps me at Accor is clearly the dynamism present in the group. There are many projects on the brands and the portfolio as such. These are exciting subjects for someone who is in the world of marketing and communication.

Whether it's the project, from the reinvention of ibis, to the creation of the All - Accor Live Limitless brand, our loyalty programme, or the development of new brands such as Tribe or Handwritten, each time it's a different topic of content for me and for my teams.

There is also the world of hospitality, which I love. The world linked to the relationship with our owners and the people on the ground: this gives feedback and concrete exchanges in a world where we deal with passionate people, entrepreneurs and people who really know the business and want to make it evolve. I love this environment.

When I arrived 12 years ago, I was on the communication side. Since then, I have developed expertise in customer experience, loyalty, and the discovery of all the digital channels that have evolved exponentially. It's a group that allows us to keep up with market developments and to grow.

What are your new responsibilities?

My new scope is to put the customer at the centre of our marketing strategy, to stimulate the use and adoption of our brands and services to meet customers' needs. The consistency of the experience must drive the network of brands, whether they are budget, midscale or premium. This is what will allow our loyalty programme to grow. I have the opportunity to lead a team of experts in Europe and North Africa, to bring our brands to life and drive the network.

Today, this represents more than 3,000 hotels. If there is a need to work on the vision of the brand from a global point of view, the way in which we execute it and adapt it to be relevant in the different countries requires the presence of experts in these different zones. It is always important to make a distinction between global marketing, which gives a long-term vision, and operational marketing, which must deploy actions quickly to have a direct impact in terms of customer experience and communication.

It is a phenomenal universe and playground. Today we have brands that are well established on the market, which sometimes need to be worked on from an image and modernity point of view. Others need a revolution in terms of customer experience.

What levers should be used to capitalise on the brand awareness of the group's core brands?

It should never be said that there are no KPIs and results studies in marketing. Beyond the figures linked to business results, each of our brands is analysed at the end of each month on :

  • Awareness and perception in terms of preference and modernity
  • Customer feedback on the quality of the experience which allows us to detect any gaps between the positioning and the reality experienced or perceived.
  • Social media engagement of brands and hotels

We can thus monitor and adapt our marketing action plans according to the results of these KPIs.

Today we have brands that are known globally, that are loved and that have their customers. For some of these brands we need to work on the criteria of evolution and modernity. This involves communication and above all the customer experience. This is where we have to convince our owners of the merits of the changes.

On the other hand, I have other brands which are very well perceived but which need to improve their reputation. This is the case for the greet brand, for example, which already has a very good image.

All this work is systematically carried out in conjunction with awareness and perception surveys as well as customer feedback on their experience in our network and in our hotels. To emerge, you have to know how to surprise and innovate.

Let's take as an example the work done for the ibis Styles brand. We now have a well-positioned product, perceived as modern, which still needs to develop its reputation. We have worked on enhancing the diversity of the design. This is the first time that ibis Styles has been promoted in strong communication and particularly on television. We did this because the customer experience allowed it with a homogeneous network on this aspect.

We can also take the example of the evolution and modernisation of the Mercure network. This enabled us to work on local food and to promote it via Top Chef, a flagship programme of the M6 group. If we had not included locavore aspects in the customer experience and in Mercure's Food & Beverage positioning, we would not have been able to deploy this partnership. This required product sourcing and research to find the right partner chefs. It's not all about advertising, of course you need product proof.

What are your objectives for 2023?

We have a completely new organisation and vision, as we are now operating on a larger scope of 3,000 hotels. Our 2023 objective is to work on the synergies that can be deployed in the various projects that have been launched on the brands in the different countries.

This will put us in a position, from the second half of the year, to deploy these synergies and to show the European leadership that we have in our brands. In 2024, it will be up to us to develop the various developments that we want to deploy on our brands and their positioning.

There is also the loyalty part. We want to show that being a member gives you an enhanced experience within our brands. The recognition of our members is as important as the reward in points for their loyalty.

Finally, we will also continue to support the development of the brands and work alongside Philippe Bijaoui, Development Director for this zone, and his team to continue to develop the network.

A job that also involves the field

We have a very special relationship with the AFA [Association of Accor Franchisees]. We have discussions with our owners three or four times a year on the marketing of our brands. It's quite unique in the market to be able to have constructive discussions with our partners about the brands and their development.

Every week I'm on the road in a country, whether it's to discuss a brand, meet an owner or managers. I particularly like being on the ground.

In the hotel industry, we are involved in processes that are linked to real estate investment, so we work in the medium term. You need time to invest, to set up and before that, you need time to explain and convince.

Cultivating transversality between industries

I am also very attentive to what is being done in worlds other than the hotel industry. For example, I admire the work done by Burger King, which arrived as a challenger on the market and was very disruptive in terms of communication.

I also follow the Orange brand, they are leaders in their market and know how to evolve in communication and work on their perception.

I am treasurer of the Union des Marques (Brands' association) and a member of the board of directors. It is a space that allows us to have exchanges with other universes and other marketing issues. It allows us to discuss the various regulatory issues of the moment, such as CSR. It is important to remain open and to anticipate trends. This feeds me a lot and I also feed them by promoting all that the hospitality world can do in terms of communication and marketing.



Hotel Group

  • Accor France
  • Offres d'emplois 35 currents job offers
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