Two years of health crisis, loss of 2 billion euros for 2020 alone. Customers who swallow, smartphones in hand, are waiting for new offers. Don’t forget the environmental changes that also invite hotel rooms. This was enough to accelerate the transformation of Accor (which has more than 5,300 establishments in 110 countries).
A movement that started before the epidemic, with new technology as the foundation. So in May 2021, the creation of a digital factory, the lung of the European leader, whose primary goal is to “create the best possible digital experience for customers”, according to the entity’s director Alex Bullonois, brings together more than 600 employees.
These famous customers for whom new dematerialized services should be designed are those who accept hotel and restaurant services for personal or professional reasons. As well as the owners of the walls, as Accor has gradually shifted its economic model towards “wealth lighting” (management bias over property ownership).
“And as customers we also consider the operational staff who work in the organization, that is, those who use our solutions at receptions, spas, restaurants …”, Alex Bullnois, who describes the digital factory, ” A conversion catalyst “.
Pay with loyalty points
In addition to hybrid profiles that combine IT specialists (developers, testers, data analysts, etc.) and digital skills, customer relationships or products (such as “product managers”), the digital factory has technical partners: major publishers of software solutions, start-ups, and even Entrepreneurs, or in-house project leaders. “Even if the term is overused, the main premise of the digital factory is agility: the goal is not to travel through a tunnel of three years of experimentation, but to adopt a repetitive mode, to make progress with short jumps”, Alex Bolnois summarizes, adding that each innovation The starting point is “customer demand and data”.
An example of a digital factory-born solution, the ALL-Accor Live Limitless Payment Card lets you collect points on purchases made across all ecosystems. Then to pay for the services provided by the group and its partners: overnight stay, but air travel, restaurants, co-workers’ places, etc. To go further in this direction, Acre has entered into a partnership with Fever, a platform that specializes in online reservations for entertainment and leisure. “That way, customers can exchange their points, or spend directly through all credit cards, to save tickets for concerts, theaters and other shows,” said Alex Bolnois.
Explore the Metaverse
At the origin of these inventions? About thirty technologies, “the most advanced in the market”, according to Alex Bullonois. From artificial intelligence and machine learning, essential to personalizing the customer experience, in the cloud, through application programming interfaces (APIs), the basis of technological change. But Accor is exploring a more distant future “hospitality”, for example in Metaverse.
“In the digital factory, dedicated to the short and medium term, we have created an innovation cell dedicated to pioneering long-term projects,” notes Alex Bolnois. A laboratory that specifically focuses on social and environmental responsibility (CSR). And where, again, start-up innovations have a place of pride Like Fulsun, which allows one to anticipate the occupancy rate of a restaurant in order to reduce food wastage. Born in Acre’s bosom, this young stem is now fluttering its wings.