Accor is aiming for the second spot in the Indian hospitality market: APAC, CEO, Duncan O’Rourke

April 13, 2024

French hospitality leader Accor is setting ambitious goals for India. Currently holding the number three spot by room count, Accor aims to become the second-largest international hotel operator in India within the next four years, according to Duncan O’Rourke, Middle East, Africa & Asia Pacific, CEO of Accor.

Speaking to businessline, O’Rourke said that he sees the significant potential in the Indian market. He added, “We’re number one in almost every market except for North America and China. We will become among the top three in India in the next four years. The opportunity in India is significant. In France, for example, we have over 1,200 Accor hotels. In India, we only have 62. This represents a massive chance for growth across all sectors, not just budget-friendly options.” The company plans to add 30 hotels in the next three to five years.

Accor’s current portfolio in India boasts 62 hotels, catering to a diverse range of travelers with brands like the budget-friendly ibis and the luxurious Raffles. With 30 more hotels already in the pipeline, their growth strategy hinges on a two-pronged approach. One key element is the expansion of existing successful brands like Novotel and Grand Mercure, which have established a strong reputation in the Indian market. O’Rourke elaborated on this strategy, stating, “We see significant potential for further growth in these established brands within India. They offer a familiar and trusted experience for travelers, and we believe there’s room for significant expansion.”

The second pillar of Accor’s growth strategy focuses on introducing new lifestyle properties like Tribe, 25 Hours, SLS among others. These hotels cater to a younger generation of travelers seeking a more personalized and experience-driven stay. “The Indian travel market is evolving, and we want to be at the forefront of that change,” commented O’Rourke. “By introducing new lifestyle brands like Tribe, we can cater to this growing segment and offer a unique and memorable experience for our guests.”

Beyond just building hotels, Accor plans to leverage India’s unique strengths to fuel its growth. This includes the country’s rich cultural heritage, skilled workforce, and the booming outbound travel market, with a growing number of Indians exploring the world. “India offers a truly unique opportunity,” said O’Rourke. “We’ll focus on building a strong market presence while capitalizing on the growing number of Indian travelers. We believe our diverse brand portfolio and commitment to exceptional service will resonate with both domestic and international travelers in India,” he added.

This strategy positions Accor for a head-to-head battle with the current number two player, Radisson Hotel Group, which boasts over 115 hotels under the Radisson, Park Inn, and Suites by Radisson brands. However, the ultimate prize lies in dethroning the current leader, the US-based Marriott International, with its strong presence of 148 hotels across 17 brands in India. Accor’s ambitious expansion plans and diverse brand portfolio could propel them to the coveted number two spot, potentially pushing past Radisson and giving Marriott a serious run for their money within the next four years. In terms of the largest hotel chain in India, that position has been captured by homegrown IHCL with over 184 operational hotels in India.

The rising average room rates (ARRs) in India further bolster Accor’s strategy, he said. While ARRs remain lower than those in major international cities like Paris or London, O’Rourke emphasized, “India offers excellent value compared to more expensive destinations. The value provided here is just as good, if not better, for travelers seeking a high-quality hotel experience,” thus explaining the bullishness of the brand.

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