On Thursday, Mercure announced that they intend accelerating their ambitious expansion plans by kicking off a global refurbishment program, linked back to a positioning strategy to affirm their brand as “strong, attractive and coherent”.
Mercure, which forms part of Accor’s midscale hotel offering (alongside Novotel) is the world’s third largest hotel chain in the midscale segment and the largest in Europe where it has 500 hotels – most well-known for its presence in France and Germany but has planned for some time to increase their market share in more markets, most notably the UK and Italy.
2011 was a record growth year for the brand which opened 80 hotels worldwide, including 63 under franchise contracts. This dynamism makes Mercure a key player in the midscale segment, which is the world hotel industry’s core market and one that appeals strongly to both investors and franchisees.
Mercure continues to expand in large cities and on average opens establishments in two new countries a year. In 2012, the brand opened its first hotels in Russia and South Korea, respectively the Mercure Arbat Moscow and Mercure Seoul Ambassador Gangnam Sodowe. In 2013, the brand will continue to expand in Eastern Europe and will also develop its network in Latin America.
Christophe Alaux, Chief Operating Officer Hotels France describes Mercure as “a truly ‘glocal’ brand”, referring to the fact that it is an international network in which the style, design and services of each hotel are inspired by local cultures, “Mercure is primarily driven by a network of franchisees and managers, which makes it an ideal brand for the deployment of Accor’s strategy”, he explains.
Indeed, close to 75% of the network is operated under franchise or management contracts and Mercure federates the hoteliers around strong brand identity hallmarks and the acknowledged expertise of the Accor group (E-commerce, procurement, technical expertise, training, etc.).
“In order to maintain our average rate of more than one opening a week and our network of 725 hotels, we have created a brand strategy that will guarantee a coherent global network, even though it consists of non-standardized hotels,” declares Frédéric Fontaine, Senior VP Global Brand Marketing Mercure.
Mercure tell us that close to 50% of the brand’s rooms have been renovated or are in line with the brand’s new vision. I’m hoping the hotel I stay in regularly is next on the list (although it’s still pretty good today).
In 2012, Mercure confirms their refurbishment ambition renovation to ensures that 10% to 15% (10 000 bedrooms) of its establishments are refurbished each year – depending on the geographic regions – and that the renovation program will be completed within four to five years.
“The renovations are based on a reinterpretation of the codes of the city in which the hotel is located. The idea is to give Mercure an image worthy of its network, to reinforce its coherence while respecting its diversity. The project has been met with great enthusiasm by the franchisees, who will benefit from the image of a strong, attractive and coherent brand,” concludes Christophe Alaux.
In France, the brand’s largest market with 237 hotels, Mercure has launched a revolutionary renovation concept developed by the internal teams in collaboration with two French interior design firms, Studio Marc Hertrich & Nicolas Adnet and Design Studio Didier Rey. The concept enables the renovation of Mercure hotel rooms and/or bathrooms with a 40% reduction in cost, time and noise. By capitalising on “lean management” methods and good component management practices in the auto industry, the rooms and bathrooms are refurbished by module.
By using an extensive combination of choices, this concept preserves the identity of each hotel in terms of atmosphere and interior decoration. A trend book provides two different design options for each of the proposed room styles (contemporary, classical and traditional). For each of the three proposed styles, designers have selected specific equipment, furniture, materials and color schemes that enable a wide range of combinations. In addition, with the innovative e-design device “configurateur Dédicaces”, previewing the rooms in 3D will be possible before any decisions are taken.