If there was any doubt that peer-to-peer rentals would affect hotel earnings, Accor removed it with the €145 purchase of One Fine Stay. The hotel brand rejected the idea that it could develop its own version of the site, suggesting the effect of increasing home rentals may hit the industry earlier than anticipated. “To get to where One Fine Stay is today would have taken between two and three years,” he said. “It would have been a terrible idea to do it by ourselves.”
Yet contrary to that forward-thinking move, Accor is one of the digitally weaker enterprises in L2’s 2016 Luxury Hotels report. The owner of Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery scored an Enterprise IQ of 89, with Sofitel being the highest ranking brand and falling in the Average category. The study finds while Accor properties are strong in mobile and site functionality, they lag in SEO, SEM, lifestyle content in social media. For example, Pullman has good site features and functionality but is invisible on paid and organic search results and Pinterest. And the latter cannot be ignored when accounting for digital performance, because they are precisely where travelers search for properties.
Sofitel has strong performance on TripAdvisor, with properties in major cities ranking four stars and above. However, the lack of destination content integrated with booking options on property-specific sites makes the site difficult to navigate. Furthermore, the Sofitel brand account does not have a large following and is not active in responding to consumer complaints.
Accor brands have an advantage in developing their SEO/SEM profiles and on-site booking capabilities due to their parent company’s site. MGallery, for example, has developed a loyalty program integrated with Accor. The brand has also abandoned its standalone app in favor of integrating its properties in the Accor app.