Olivier Granet, has been with AccorHotels for two decades now, and was promoted to chief executive officer of AccorHotels Middle East and Africa in January 2018, where he oversees a portfolio of more than 200 hotels, consisting of 50,000 rooms across 30 countries in the region. He also has oversight and responsibility of the development of AccorHotels’ brands in the region and more than 35,000 employees across its MEA portfolio.
Under Granet’s leadership, the company has more than tripled its portfolio in the region with 160 operational hotels and 115 properties in the pipeline amounting to almost 80,000 rooms in total. Besides an impressive portfolio, AccorHotels as a company has been on an expansion spree with a string of acquisitions in the Middle East and the worldwide. Recently, the company also moved on a deal to acquire Swiss-based Movenpick Hotels & Resort for reportedly US $566 million which, once integrated, will further boost its portfolio by Movenpick’s 84 hotels which operates more than 20,000 rooms in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Some of the significant moves made by the hotel company in the last year as of July 31st include investing in a 50% stake of the South African based Mantis Group, a collection of 84 privately owned, managed and branded five-star properties and lodges located around the world with a deep-rooted presence in Africa and UAE.
Accor’s most recent opening is the Novitel Jizan Corniche is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It also debuted Ibis Styles Muscat, the first of its brand in the Sultanate of Oman. In Sharjah, the Majaz Hotel Sharjah opened earlier this year under the Managed by AccorHotels ‘white label’.
In North Africa, the company launched the first Fairmont in Morocco with the opening of Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakec in adittion to the opening of ibis Casa Voyageurs and Novotel Mohammedia. In Tunisia, Accor opened ibis Sfax. Porto Marina opened in the North Coast of Egypt under the Managed by AccorHotels ‘white label’.
Over the last year, Accor has also signed 43 projects in the Middle East and Africa, outpacing any other hospitality group. Seven hotels of which have been takeover from existing operators. Accor also announced plans to debut So/, a luxury brand, with So/ Uptown Dubai slated to open in 2020. The company will also be opening the first beachside resort for Raffles Hotels & Resorts in the UAE with Palm360, a two tower development on The Palm Jumeirah.
Besides expanding the luxury portfolio, Granet notes that his vision for the region includes greater focus on the growth of economy and midscale brands. In February 2018, construction began on the 25hours property in the region with 25hours Dubai Hotel.
Granet tells Hotelier: “For many years, the Middle East was positioned as a luxury travel market, with international economy and midscale brands having limited exposure. However, as the region expands tourism with increased infrastructure, the opening of theme parks, and cultural attractions, greater attention is being placed on economy and midmarket segments.”
Under Granet, Accor also has ambitious plans regarding staff growth and its cultural transformation. In 2017, the company’s increase in employee engagement score in the MEA region was benchmarked against other hospitality companies and other industries. With the integration between Accor and FHRI complete, the company plans to reach the 50,000 colleague mark by 2021, Granet tells Hotelier.
To achieve this sizable feat, the company has accelerated its Saudization efforts and plans to employ 5,000 Saudi nationals by 2021 to complement its 2021 goals.