Accor goes global with subscription cards to increase hotel loyalty

Accor plans to expand its subscription card offering to be more global, offering discounts and perks to members worldwide, the Paris-based hotel giant said on Tuesday.

Previously, Accor only offered subscription cards in a few regional markets: Asia Pacific, India, China and Brazil. The new program, called All Plus, offers travelers worldwide access to discounts at select branded hotels in 4,000 hotels in 100 countries, as well as opportunities to accelerate their status in Accor’s loyalty program.

“Our goal is to capture more of the frequent traveler market who seek both rational value and security when traveling for business or pleasure,” said Mehdi Hemici, Chief Loyalty and E-Commerce Officer. “We believe the subscription model is a way to reduce peace of mind by reducing friction, which leads to greater loyalty.”

Cardholders accelerated their Accor bookings by 35 to 45 percent, Accor estimates.

“We’re going to take market share from our competitors,” Hemici said.

Accor’s move is the latest attempt by travel companies to create subscription-based products as a new frontier for inspiring customer engagement. Examples include eDreams Odigeo Club for access to discounts, Selina’s digital nomad subscription stays, CitizenM’s discount program and Inspirato’s pass for access to luxury accommodation. (Refer to the latest Skift Research report, Subscriptions and Memberships in Travel 2022.)

“Subscriptions are a very big trend in most other industries, and we want to maintain our leadership position in this space among hotels,” said Maxime Gareau, vice president, Membership Subscription Development. “Subscriptions allow us to offer our best customers unparalleled booking terms.”

Frequent users of Accor’s upscale hotels are the target of the new All Plus Voyageur program, which gives paying members 20 percent off at ten of Accor’s luxury and premium hotel brands and 15 percent off at nine of its midscale and economy brands . Another advantage is the silver status in Accor’s loyalty program, which offers the free option of a 3 p.m. check-out. Prices vary by market. In France, for example, the cost will be around $213 (€199) per year. It will be cheaper in Portugal and some other countries.

Road warriors, who often stay in economy accommodation, may prefer the cheaper All Plus Ibis card, which offers 15 percent off at Ibis, Ibis Styles and Ibis Budget hotels. In France, the card costs around $106 (€99).

“One is a global product that is brand specific, while the other is a regional product that is accessible worldwide,” said Hemici. “Separately, in Brazil and China — where the domestic markets are large and dynamic — we have bespoke products after we launched the Brazilian product last month.”

Unlocking the availability of the last room

A key benefit of the All Plus cards is that cardholders have priority when making reservations at hotels that otherwise appear fully booked.

Accor said customers are now booking every third business stay two to seven days in advance, a shorter booking window than in the past, on average. The travel boom has resulted in many full hotels.

Accor reserves blocks of rooms at participating hotels, which are secretly available to All Plus cardholders up to 48 hours in advance. If no cardholder books, the rooms will be released for sale to others.

If a cardholder wants a room and it appears that the hotel is fully booked when displayed on third-party online travel agency websites, they can log into Accor’s direct websites and app to book. You see availability that other travelers don’t see.

Accor has been courting franchisees

Businesses and corporate travel programs can purchase tickets for their employees.

Accor only owns about 2 percent of the hotels it operates, so asking franchisees and owners to accept a discount-based product might be difficult.

Accor promises owners an incrementally higher frequency of guest bookings in exchange for essentially offering discounted stays. It cited data from its Accor Plus program in Asia Pacific and its testing to support this.

“We’re yielding between 35 percent and 45 percent room nights compared before and after a hotel’s availability in the subscription program over a five-year analysis,” said Hemici.

Accor also believes it will help its partner hoteliers reach new customers. The subscription bookings aim to attract more business travelers to spend on direct bookings, which Accor and its partner hotels offer cheaper than booking through online travel agencies.

“It’s complicated for [hoteliers] Commission hundreds of SMEs [small- and medium-sized enterprises]’ said Hemici. “Subscription cards are the best solution for SMEs who can buy as many as they need.”

AccorPlus cards in Asia Pacific

Accor will keep Accor Plus, its longstanding subscription card business in Asia Pacific, and its newer cards in China, India and Brazil unchanged.

“More than 80 percent of our business is either national or regional,” said Hemici. As such, the Company will continue to operate its regional subscription programs.

Accor Plus’ subscription card business has approximately 600 employees in eight offices in Asia Pacific alone.

“The size of the booking volume of rooms coming through AccorPlus is in line with the volume of rooms booked through its third or fourth largest online travel agency partners,” said Paul Stevens, Singapore-based CEO of Accor Plus. “In that sense, it behaves like a digital marketing company, although the bookings are direct and cheaper than third-party distribution.”

To help customers evaluate cards, Accor will offer “a payback calculator” on its loyalty program website,, to compare plans.

“Our whole philosophy behind our subscription product is to engage more with our guests and give them more reasons to choose us on the right channels and in a way that builds loyalty,” Gareau said.

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