Breaking: Accor Acquires Fairmont, Raffles, And Swissôtel

Aaaaaaaaand the consolidation continues!

First we saw it with the airlines, where the “big six” US carriers became the “big three.” And now we’re slowly seeing it with hotels. Marriott recently announced that they’re acquiring Starwood, which I consider to be pretty devastating, given how much I love Starwood Preferred Guest. SPG members have lots of questions which we likely won’t get an answer to for a while. Late last year IHG announced that they were taking over Kimpton.

Well, here’s the next hotel acquisition. Accor has announced that they’re acquiring Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel.

Accor-Fairmont

Here are the major points regarding the takeover:

  • An unrivalled collection of iconic hotel assets with 155 hotels and resorts, of which 40 are under development
  • Acquisition to provide AccorHotels with robust and global leadership in luxury hotels, a key segment in terms of geographic reach, growth potential and profitability, for long-term value creation
  • FRHI’s unrivalled hotel portfolio, expertise in marketing luxury hotels and sizeable footprint in North America, provide a stronger platform to continue aggressive worldwide expansion.
  • AccorHotels will pay for the acquisition by issuing 46.7 million new Accor shares and a cash payment of $840 million (€768 million) – Qatar Investment Authority and Kingdom Holding Company of Saudi Arabia are to become major shareholders, with 10.5% and 5.8% of the share capital* respectively
  • Transaction will be accretive to earnings per share from the second year with €65 million in revenue and cost synergies identified in the medium term

I can see how the merger makes sense from Accor’s perspective. For those of you not familiar with Accor, they have nearly 3,800 hotels (and 500,000 hotel rooms) in 92 countries, ranging from luxury to budget brands.

Accor-Brands

Fairmont, Raffles, And Swissôtel are tiny by comparison, but are strong in the luxury sector, which is an area where Accor is fairly weak. The deal is expected to close in mid-2016, around the same time the Marriott & Starwood deal is expected to close.

Vancouver
Stunning view from the Fairmont Pacific Rim Vancouver

Here’s the email Fairmont sent out to their President’s Club members:

As a valued Fairmont President’s Club member, we want you to be among the first to learn about the exciting news that was announced today.

FRHI Hotels & Resorts, the parent company of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, will soon be joining AccorHotels. This is an extraordinary milestone as Fairmont’s unrivalled collection of iconic hotels joins one of the world’s leading hospitality groups.

Being part of this global hotel portfolio means that in the future we will be able to provide you with more options in new and exciting locations around the world. AccorHotels is a global leader in the travel industry with a diverse portfolio located in 94 countries, over 3,800 properties and 20 recognized luxury, midscale and economy brands including Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Grand Mercure, and Novotel.

This latest news does not change our brand promise to you as we remain committed as ever to providing you with unparalleled service and access to unique and meaningful travel experiences whenever you stay with us.

While an exciting next chapter awaits, we want to let you know that today your membership in Fairmont President’s Club and any upcoming reservations including reward redemptions remain unchanged, and as a loyal guest you will continue to enjoy all your current benefits and privileges when staying at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.

As we move forward on our journey with AccorHotels, we will look to find new and interesting ways to further enhance your travel experiences and we promise to keep you informed as we learn more about the exciting enhancements ahead.

Thank you for your ongoing loyalty and we look forward to welcoming you to one of our locations soon.

Nothing will change immediately, though I think it’s safe to assume that eventually the Fairmont President’s Club will be folded into Le Club Accor. That’s quite unfortunate, because President’s Club is a really cool niche program which a lot of people love.

I’ve written in the past about Fairmont President’s Club loyalty program (including their Premier and Platinum status levels), as well as their co-branded credit card, which comes with some awesome perks.

Fairmont President’s Club offers even their base members free internet, health club access, discounts on the hotel spa, etc. With status you get some confirmed upgrades, e-certificates for restaurants and spas, etc. There are some really cool perks, and the status qualification levels aren’t that high.

Fairmont-Pacific-Rim-Vancouver
Fairmont elite members receive club lounge upgrade vouchers 

Bottom line

I think it goes without saying that consolidation is terrible news for consumers. We saw that with airlines, and it seems like we’re now seeing it with hotels. It’s especially sad in the case of Fairmont, which was such a cool niche hotel group. I’d be willing to bet their program will be eliminated soon enough.

Now that we’ve seen three hotel mergers of varying scales (IHG and Kimpton, Marriott and Starwood, and Accor and Fairmont), here’s to hoping that Hilton, Hyatt, and/or IHG don’t have any further mergers (especially Hyatt)…

What do you make of Accor taking over Fairmont?

Comments

  1. Ben, Given that “Le Club Accorhotels” is a dog’s breakfast of a loyalty program, would it be wise to sign up for the Fairmount Visa Signature card as soon as possible? Or would you wager that Accor will keep the Fairmount/Swissotel/Raffles trio as a separate “loyalty entity” like the recent Kimpton and IHG arrangement especially since North America currently represents 1% of Accor’s global hotel footprint.

  2. Your pic is of the Pan Pacific in Vancouver, not the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Fairmont Waterfront is across the street (to the right of the pic) and the Fairmont Pacific Rim would be behind and to the left of the camera shot.

  3. @23H : to be fair, he did say the shot is FROM the hotel, not OF the hotel. But yea, it’s odd to post the view from the hotel instead of the hotel instead.

  4. @23H — Absolutely correct and great catch. The Pan Pacific Vancouver, recognizable by its iconic sail-like structures toward the far end, is part of the Vancouver Convention Center where I have attended at least two conferences…

  5. This is very disappointing news. I am a huge fan the Fairmont and Raffles properties and even some of the Swissotel’s are very good. It seems membership with Virtuoso and FHR will be even more valuable now.

  6. I’m sad as well. Fairmont has been one of my favorite niche programs for years. I definitely get full value out of the loyalty program especially with the Chase card. The certs have always served me well.

  7. Bad news indeed, I’ve been platinum for last few years which requires only 5 nights a year to maintain if you hold Canadian Amex platinum card…for that you get an annual free night, room and suite upgrade certs and dining certs/gift cards of around $250 annually. Hopefully we get another year under the same program since I’ve already requalified for next year 🙂

  8. Fun Fact: All of the Raffles seem to have huge room sizes as a brand standard. Base rooms being close to 60 m2 in most parts of the world and 40+ m2 in Europe (Still double of average)

    You were almost confirmed into a junior suite even by booking a base room.

    Oh right, the merger, as a cross platform elite (including Accor) I can safely say Accor is down there with IHG for worst program. It has by far the worst customer service (much much worse than IHG) and the only hotels with lounges are Sofitels and the best Sofitels in Australia don’t really participate in the program and are quite hostile to elites. So no lounge access/breakfast there either.

    If Hyatt was geared towards an acquisition and had the funds, it beggars belief that they let Fairmont go. They don’t have a classic decor luxury style brand to compete with Ritz/St Regis/Four Seasons/Rosewood/Waldorf and this would have plugged that hole nicely.

  9. This is like hearing that McDonald’s is taking over Ruth Chris’ Steakhouses. There is a reason I don’t eat at McDonald’s and a reason I don’t stay at Accor. Fairmont will do anything to make a stay perfect and even though they are small, I am very loyal to them when they have a hotel available in the area. My guess is that I have about another year before things head south and my loyalty will go elsewhere. I have yet to see a case where a large inferior organization takes over a small exceptional organization and the exceptional organization improves or even stays the same. What a shame.

  10. I can almost guarantee the next chip to fall will be Hyatt and my guess is IHG will be the one who makes the move.

  11. Spent an amazing vacation with my family this summer at the Fairmont in the Big Island. Top notch customer service at an amazing property. Too bad that boutique feeling of the Fairmont President’s Club will probably disappear.

  12. Le club now is not that bad. Indeed there are a lot of economic and mid-scale hotels in accor group. But as a high-end customer (as most FRIH customers think they are), you can focus on sofitel/MG/pullman.

    Most sofitel/pullman, and some MG/novotel in Asia pacific get executive lounge and offer the platinum member free lounge access (even though the platinum member book the base room).

    Up to my experience and information two weeks ago, sofitel sydney and Melbourne started to offer platinum member lounge access as well. I will check the situation in sofitel brisbane next week. If yes, it means platinum member can get free lounge access in all accor hotels with a executive lounge.

    If you travel a lot and world wide, you will understand the benefits from the merge to an existing FRIH member.

  13. I am a LeClub Member and Accor Plus member and so far, it doesn’t seem too bad. Yeah, there are better loyalty brands out there. But LeClub is still kind of good. Hopefully with this merger, they can create a new programme which makes it more interesting on both sides. Better benefits I hope. Hahaha

  14. Wow….a lot of angst towards Accor here. Yes, I would avoid some of their low-end properties but I love the Sofitel/Pullman properties and many of their newer mid-level properties are great for exploring Europe. Adding I enjoy Fairmont properties and this will add a lot more North America options to Le Club Accor which is lacking.

    I know very well that some of you Marriott snobs would turn your nose at Accor but happily stay at some dumpy Springhill Suites for the points.

  15. Plus, Accor Upscale properties are good. Sofitel, Pullman and MGallery are usally the ones I stay at and the service is good. Even though I am a Silver in LeClub, I do get upgrades from time to time if I do ask. Also, with this merger, Accor now has bigger access to the North American market.

    I agree with BenjaminJ84, do avoid the older Novotel properties, Mercure and Ibis. They target the budget travellers.

  16. Wonder how it will affect the 100+ lifetime Platinum members from the promo they did a couple of years ago…

  17. Yes a lot of hate towards Le Club actually, not Accor specifically though we tend to use them interchangeably. It’s mostly the loyalty program that we hate, the Sofitels themselves are usually good to great.

    Got to separate the two. Similar deal with Delta and Emirates (great airlines, good customer service relative to direct competitors but unrewarding loyalty programs).

    Also I think the snobbishness is being underestimated, no one is a Marriott snob who would willingly stay at Marriotts :P. Fairly certain in these parts Marriotts themselves are a last……resort.

  18. Hello Everyone

    I have been an Accor ale Club member for over 15 years. I have travelled the world and everywhere I go I look for the Accor brand. Whether I have stayed at the Novotel or Sofitel in Bali or the Sofitel in Fiji or even the Ibis at Sydney airport the level of service as a member has been excellent. You are joining one of the best loyalty programmes In the world. No I do not work for Accor but as a Platinum member I would belong to no other programme and I have belonged to others such as Starwood. I suggest you all embrace the journey ahead. You will not be disappointed. Cheers

  19. Personally I think it’s a great move. Accor is an outstanding blend of upscale mid range and lower cost hotels. Raffles, Fairmont and Swissotel will be a nice addition especially the first two of those brands (never been much of a fan of Swissotel). French hotel groups are the best, imho, and I spend over 100 nights a year in hotels.

  20. …and yes, as a Platinum Accor member, as well has holding Diamond Hilton and Gold SPG, I can only say the Platinum Accor is the one card that never disappoints. SPG is pure garbage and Hilton hit and miss….

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