Accor is happy to be considered something of a “trade secret”, but the global French hotel operator would rather have a higher profile among UK agents.
In February, a well-known trade figure, former Virgin Holidays director and one-time Tui sales manager Chris Roe, joined Accor with a brief to boost relationships with the trade.
Speaking to Travel Weekly at Accor’s UK flagship property, the five-star Sofitel St James, Roe said he knew many agents regularly booked Accor properties and regarded the chain as something of a “trade secret”.
However, as a result of the often complex array of third parties in the hotel bed supply chain, Accor cannot always identify which agents support it.
“We have deals with all operators in the UK and all the bed banks such as Lowcost and Expedia. If you want to go on the GDS and buy the bed independently, you can,” he said.
“I’m not bothered about the channel they come to us from, we just want to grow awareness. The problem is, agents do not necessarily know about us.”
Roe has two key responsibilities in his new role as Accor’s vice-president of sales, distribution and loyalty in the UK and Ireland.
He aims to help fill rooms in Accor’s 208 properties in the UK and Ireland, and to spur more Britons travelling abroad to stay at one of its 3,600 worldwide hotels, which span beach, city and winter sports locations.
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