AccorHotels recently organized its event ‘Soirée découverte with a touch of Orient Express’ for meeting planners at the Hotel Pullman Brussels Center Midi. Erik Wood, CEO of Eventonline, was also present as a guest. He had a chat with Kris Vanderstappen, VP Sales AccorHotels Benelux.
“We had the pleasure to host around 120 meeting planners at our ‘Soirée découverte’, already our third Meetings & Events soirée organized in Belgium,” says Kris Vanderstappen. Indeed, last year the event was organized at Novotel Brussels City Center, themed ‘Blue & White’. Two years ago, it was a Winter BBQ at Sofitel Le Louise. “This time we have chosen to develop a theme around the ‘Orient Express’, which is one of our new brands that will be launched by the end of this year,” explains the VP Sales.
Given the developments within the group – read an expansion of its portfolio with more luxury brands – AccorHotels wants to place more emphasis on this segment. “Hence the choice of this theme for the third edition.”
The concept of speed dating was chosen. “During sessions of eight minutes each, the meeting planners were given the opportunity to meet with representatives of our hotels and partners, to see where certain business opportunities could occur or might occur. Context and theme were the ‘Orient Express’ that we had developed in the largest meeting room here at the Hotel Pullman Brussels Center Midi,” says Kris Vanderstappen.
About 22 AccorHotels were present. “Local properties, such as the Novotel Hotels from Wavre, Leuven, Mechelen, Bruges, Ghent as well as a number of hotels in Brussels. Sofitel and Pullman were also represented, and a number of international hotel chains, such as Sofitel Warsaw, Castle Hotel Windsor by M Gallery, Hotel Pullman Eindhoven Cocagne, the Rixos brand that we have added to our portfolio for two years. We also had SO/Berlin Das Stue and of course Le Royal Monceau, which is our Raffles property in Paris. A number of partners were also present, i.e. Géné Electra, SNCB, Brussels Airlines and Etihad Airways. It also gave us the opportunity to put a number of international hotels in the spotlight and, for example, the region of Wavre where we are now present with no less than 3 hotels of the new ibis and Novotel in Wavre together with the renewed meeting rooms of ibis Styles Louvain- la-Neuve,” says Kris Vanderstappen.
In addition, there were a number of animations, such as an original photo booth that was an old camera, which was very popular with the guests. A shoeshine service and a magician were also present. Afterwards, a dinner followed where the guests could continue to network. The evening was also concluded with a raffle with great prizes such as wellness weekends in Aachen, flight trips to Berlin with Brussels Airlines and to Abu Dhabi with Etihad for 2 persons. “The feedback from both customers and hotel representatives was very positive, so again a successful initiative,” confirms Kris Vanderstappen.
Speech by Karelle Lamouche, Sr. VP
Prior to the networking moment, Karelle Lamouche, Senior Vice-President of Northern Europe, gave an overview of the changes within AccorHotels in her speech. After all, the Group expanded from 15 to more than 30 hotel brands, more specifically luxury brands. The expansion started with the acquisition of Raffles, Fairmont and Swissôtel. Afterwards shares were acquired in Mama Shelter and 25hours was added to the portfolio. Recently, Mövenpick became a brand of AccorHotels also. In the meantime, Orient Express has been added and is now undergoing full development and the first hotel will open by the end of 2019. In addition, a new brand was recently announced, namely Greet Hotels, which will also be further developed.
In short, a lot is happening within AccorHotels. The Group now has 4,700 hotels in its portfolio.