Accor Hotels had a global press conference September 13, 2011 to announce a new strategic plan for rebranding a large portion of its economy and midscale segment hotels among the 4,200+ hotels in the French based chain. A new hotel loyalty program name with Le Club Accorhotels replaces A|Club.
The major change in the Accor brands structure is the creation of an Ibis Mega Brand with over 1,500 hotels by rebranding midscale all seasons to Ibis Styles and the Etap brand becomes Ibis Budget.
- Ibis Styles (currently all seasons)
- Ibis Budget (currently Etap)
Accor Hotels has global reach with over 15 brands from economy (etap, Formule 1, Motel 6) to its flagship luxury brand Sofitel Hotels.
The Accor Hotels chain is proportionally far heavier in the economy hotel market segment with about 2,200 hotels in brands like etap, Formule 1, Hotel F1 and Motel 6. The two upscale hotel brands of Novotel and Mercure at 1,100 hotels are far larger than the global Hyatt chain at under 500 properties and match the total hotel presence of Starwood Hotels.
Sofitel was divided up into separate brands when Accor added Pullman Hotels and MGallery Hotels and these upper upscale and luxury brands hold about 220 hotels.
Le Club Accorhotels, formerly A|Club is the loyalty program for Accor Hotels that excludes several hotel brands from the economy segment of the Accor family. Only about 2,300 hotels participate in the loyalty program and more than 1,700 hotels in Motel 6, Etap and Formule 1 are excluded from A|Club for earning points.
It remains to be seen what the loyalty program changes might be, if any.
Etap hotels are not currently included in A|Club points earning. The Ibis Budget hotel brand could be added to Le Club Accorhotels and increase the earning potential for members by 400 hotels globally. No word on that aspect of the loyalty program came out of the press conference.
Moderator StarFlyerGold of the FlyerTalk Accor forum states Le Club will launch beginning 2012.
A|Club Loyalty Program Basics
A|Club operates differently from other points-based major hotel loyalty programs. The earning side is similar in that members earn points based on hotel spend at the rate of 2 points/1€ at Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Suite Novotel, Mercure and Adagio Hotels. Ibis and all seasons earn 1 point/1€. Global and property specific promotions offer bonus points for member stays just like other loyalty programs.
A|Club Earn Rate
2 points per EUR
- Suite Novotel,
- Adagio Hotels
1 point per EUR
- all seasons (to be rebranded Ibis Styles)
The different aspect of A|Club is the redemption side of points. Points can be exchanged for hotel cash vouchers to redeem for hotel stays. Hotels are not divided into hotel redemption categories, the system used in most major hotel loyalty programs.
2,000 A|Club points can be exchanged for one US$60 voucher or in a variety of other currencies.
- 2,000 points = US$60
- 2,000 points = 60 AUD (Australia) =US$62.18
- 2,000 points = 30 GBP (UK) = US$47.36
- 2,000 points = 40 EUR =US$55.19
- 2,000 points = 90 BRL (Brazil) = US$51.95
There is room for currency leverage when traveling with Accor Hotels. Even with a hotel currency exchange rate somewhat lower than a credit charge rate, I’d think the 60AUD voucher would be worth more than the 30GBP voucher.
The past two years A|Club has run a summer special allowing redemption of A|Club cash certificates for payment at Motel 6.
Redeeming a voucher at a Motel 6 is not going to earn loyalty points, however, when redeeming a loyalty hotel voucher at a Motel 6 you are getting the same US$60 cash discount that you would get when redeeming the voucher for a paid room at the Sofitel Chicago.
Accor Hotels Brands
- Sofitel (120 luxury segement hotels)
- Pullman (60 hotels in upper upscale market)
- MGallery (40 hotels in upper upscale market)
- Novotel (400 hotels in upscale market)
- Suite Novotel (30 hotels in upscale market)
- Mercure and Grand Mercure (700+ hotels in upscale market)
- Adagio (33 extended-stay apartment hotels)
- Ibis (900+ hotels in midscale market)
- Ibis styles (formerly all seasons brand – 140 hotels in midscale market with about 30 in Australia)
- Ibis budget (formerly etap – 430 hotels in economy market)
- Formule 1 (360 economy hotels with 80 outside France)
- Hotel F1 (260 budget hotels in France)
- Motel 6 and Studio 6 (1,100+ economy hotels in U.S. and Canada)
Loyalty Traveler Analysis
What changes will be made to A|Club as it becomes Le Club Accorhotels remains to be seen. Potentially the number of properties available to members for earning loyalty points could increase. The multifaceted loyalty programs among Accorhotels could be consolidated. No details have emerged in the strategic plan for the evolution of Le Club Accorhotels.
Motel 6 still remains mostly neglected as an Accor family brand in the loyalty program. Remember that pets stay free in Motel 6 and a US$60 A|Club voucher is worth as much at a Motel 6 as a Sofitel Hotel.
Story Update: Sep 19 – This morning I just saw the Bloomberg News story from September 13 stating Accor is interested in selling Motel 6/Studio 6 brand.