“Tourism will regain its dynamism”, Sébastien Bazin, CEO of Accor

Interview of Sébastien Bazin, about Accor’s post-covid recovery

How is the recovery going for you in your business?

Tourism plays a vital role within the global economy. The recovery that is now underway will be gradual, but the sector will undoubtedly regain its dynamism; it is simply a matter of time.

Like all players, Accor has been hit hard, but we are facing up to it. China has been showing encouraging signs of recovery for several weeks: within 15 days, 85% of our employees were back in our hotels. Today, our 400 establishments are in business and Chinese people are starting to travel in China again.

Today, our 400 establishments are in business and Chinese people are starting to travel in China again.

In Europe, several countries are already up and running again. In France, the government has just encouraged French people to book their vacation for this summer. Our 1,600 hotels will of course be delighted to have them!

The recovery which is taking shape has also come with a new set of expectations from our customers: more safety, reinforced hygiene rules and new services. We have just launched ALL SAFE, our cleanliness and prevention label. It guarantees that the most demanding sanitary protocols in our hotels are implemented. We are also deploying medical assistance in partnership with AXA group, which can be accessed in all our hotels throughout the world.

What have you learned from the crisis?

It is a time that calls for great humility. In just a few weeks we entered into an unknown world. The foundations of our business, the free movement of people, the development of business travel and tourism, have all disappeared.

It is a time that calls for great humility.

We had to make choices that were as quick as they were painful; I had to  put 200,000 employees on short-time working worldwide in the space of 3 days.

But the crisis has also revealed the mobilization of our employees, owners and shareholders that went well beyond anything I could have hoped for. Their outbursts of solidarity have been tremendous.

More than 400 of our hotels have remained open in France to welcome vulnerable individuals and nursing staff. Throughout the world, our restaurants have rallied to deliver thousands of meals to hospitals and people in need. The support of our shareholders has enabled us to dedicate 70M Euros to the ALL Heartist Fund, a fund intended to support our employees and our partners who have been hit the hardest financially.

What is your objective for 2020?

To reopen all of our hotels as quickly as possible, to allow our employees to reconnect with their passion for hospitality and service and to see our guests smiling again.

The hotel industry is a wonderful profession made up of encounters, shared moments and discoveries. I can’t wait to meet my teams again on-site and have our customers return to our establishments. We can now look ahead to the future once again.

This article was originally published on Paris Fantastic!, our content partner.