"We will return to 2019 activity levels at the end of 2022, or even at the start of 2023," warns Sébastien Bazin. The CEO of Accor, at the head of 5,099 hotels in more than one hundred countries, is tightening the screws in order to face a crisis that will last. He announced on Tuesday the launch of a savings plan of 200 million euros, on a cost basis of 1.2 billion in 2019.
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This plan will involve the elimination of a thousand jobs in the world (out of 18,000 in total). "We went from owner to operator and service provider to hotels, without aligning our organization with this new economic model ," explains the manager. We opened up the “Accor engine” to understand our human resources needs and become more agile and close to the field. We reviewed 7,000 tasks. Some are not done in the right places, others are no longer useful. "
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Two-thirds of these savings should be achieved by the end of 2021, and 100% by the end of 2022. They are in addition to a previous emergency plan, a reduction of 60 million euros in central costs (stopping advertising and marketing campaigns, etc.) , already run at 60%.
The cost breakage will affect all services where posts are duplicated from one country to another. All regional headquarters should be affected, such as the world headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux. The amount of savings was calculated using the “zero base budget” model, scrutinizing the relevance of business organizations.
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Affected like its competitors by the cessation of travel around the world, Accor has lived through the worst hours in its history, because of the coronavirus pandemic. At the height of the crisis, in April, 90% of hotels were closed. The recovery is there, but gradual. At the start of August, 81% of hotels had reopened, with strong disparities from one country to another. In China, the entire fleet has returned to service and the occupancy rate is around 60%, while South America has still not restarted. In France, 80% of hotels are open, but only 50% in Paris, for lack of foreign tourists.
"The shock to our industry is unprecedented and incredibly violent , " recognizes Sébastien Bazin. Not surprisingly, the results for the first half of the year are very poor. The group shows a net loss of 1.5 billion euros, for a turnover of 917 million euros, down 52.4% over one year. Prices haven't gone down, but with fewer business travelers, the more expensive rooms are less in demand. "The decline in turnover and that of the average revenue per room of 53.9% were expected ," says the manager. On the other hand, monthly cash consumption is more limited than expected, thanks to cost reductions. We also opened 86 hotels, or 12,000 rooms over the half-year. " Accor can always count on ample liquidity (4 billion at the end of June) and its size. “Medium-sized operators could join us ,” says Sébastien Bazin. We are talking with owners of TravelLodge hotels (in recovery, Editor's note) by suggesting that they switch to the Ibis Budget brand. "