Here’s How Accor Hotels Is Being Smart About Its Digital Transformation


Digital transformation is continuing its ascent in the travel and leisure industry, and from mobile technology to smart rooms, Accor Hotels is off to a flying start.

The company began life in 1967 when Paul Dubrule and Gérard Pélisson opened the first Novotel in Lille, Northern France. In less than a decade they had launched a new brand, with the opening of the Ibis Hotel in Bordeaux in 1974. Since then, the company has cracked the American market, and even diversified into the casino business.

Today, the Accor Group is one of the largest leisure and tourism brands in Europe, with a market cap of $12.1 billion and over 150,000 employees. The company holds the #240 spot on Forbes’ Global 2000: Top Regarded Companies list.

Mobile Technology


One issue which Accor Hotels sought to address when it set about creating its new smartphone app was that, until now, the hotel experience was limited to the time a guest spent with the company during a holiday or business trip. To extend the experience, Accor Hotels wanted a service where guests were also supported and engaged before and after their stay.

With the new Accor Hotels app, Accor customers can now get a bird's-eye view of their hotel options – including over 6,000 branded and independent locations. Guests can select between chic, mainstream, luxury, or cut-price options, and each one comes complete with a city guide, available in eight different languages to advise on cultural, gastronomic, and shopping preferences.

A particularly smart feature called MoodMatch allows customers to create a profile of their ideal experiences, and the app’s algorithms will then match them up with an ideal location. Customers can set preferences on three criteria – ambiance, aesthetics, and neighbourhood, and then add extra considerations such as romance, family, etc. Using the same software employed by dating sites, MoodMatch aims to find users the perfect location on holiday.


Once travellers set off, they can use the app to book everything from trains and planes to taxis and room service. The Virtual Valet service means customers don’t have to keep heading to the reception desk to find out what’s on and book excursions, as it can all be accessed through the app. The Virtual Concierge and Loyalty programmes even let users pay in-app, and save points which can be redeemed in future stays.

Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Accor Hotels said, “Once you've said to the guest that you're not there to ask for his passport or credit card, that's the opportunity to engage in personalised dialogue that generates value.”

Smart Rooms

Another way Accor is using digital technology to enhance the hotel experience for its guests, (especially those with reduced mobility,) is with its soon-to-be rolled-out smart room concept. Created in collaboration with acclaimed designer Didier Versavel, Accor Hotels’ smart rooms will boast a range of innovative and luxurious features.


A connected tablet will allow guests to adjust light and music, close the curtains, adjust the headboard on their bed, and control the audio-visual features. LED lighting will be activated by footboard-mounted sensors to help guests move about in the dark without disturbing travel companions. Wearable technology in the form of a headband which senses brain energy can help guests relax or concentrate. The room will also feature customisable scent devices designed to ensure guests wake up to their favourite aromas, such as coffee, tea, or sea air.

"With the Smart Room concept, our goal is to inspire the hotel market by introducing a new approach to the traditional [persons with reduced mobility] room, which is often unoccupied, not very welcoming and stigmatising," said Damien Perrot, Senior Vice President of Design Solutions at Accor Hotels. "We have envisioned a room for everyone, with design and creativity adhering to PRM standards and practices to the point that they disappear to the benefit of emotional and sensorial experience.”

Final Thoughts

From its mobile technology to its exciting smart room concept, Accor Hotels has thrown its hat into the digital transformation ring with gusto.

The last word goes to Damien Perrot:

“Innovation can be tailored to all Accor Hotels brands in all segments. It reflects the group's desire to pave the way toward positive hospitality and to respond to the concerns and requirements of all our guests."

At the Digital Travel Summit you can learn about the latest technology disruptors and if they are worth investing in.

Hear from the Future Disruptors panel - Who are the new technology disruptors and are they worth the investment?

David Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer, HolidayPirates Group
Andrew Watson, Global VPt, Digital and Loyalty, Marriott International


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