AccorHotels launches new lifestyle division

(AccorHotels Jo&Joe Lounge)

After last year’s flurry of mergers and acquisitions, hotel companies around the world are figuring out what to do with their newly increased brand portfolios.  

In the wake of its September acquisition of Starwood, for example, Marriott now has 30 brands—some of which would seem to be in direct competition with one another. So far, the company has insisted that it will keep all of its brands, and divided them into “Classic” and “Distinctive” categories, as well as forming a Luxury Brands Group

AccorHotels, which acquired FRHI Hotels & Resorts in July, has also been adjusting to its new brand divisions. This week, the company announced plans to create a new “lifestyle” division for its boutique brands, which will include its stake in Germany’s 25Hours Hostels and its nascent Jo&Joe brand, as well as the boutique MamaShelter properties in France. Cedric Gobilliard will head the division as of February 1. Gobilliard joined AccorHotels in 2009 after 10 years at Club Med, and was responsible for the operations of Accor's mainstream Mercure and Novotel brands for the French provinces. In the last two years, he has also managed relations with the MamaShelter teams.

Bringing MamaShelter and Jo&Joe under one umbrella is an intriguing step. MamaShelter is considered an upscale, design-oriented brand (Philippe Starck is the chief designer), while Jo&Joe is geared to be more like a hostel with basic spaces and rooms starting at €25 per night. The two could be said to represent two competing demands of the lucrative millennial spectrum: name-brand design on one side, efficiency and value on the other. 

The move also indicates that Marriott’s brand consolidation may be a growing trend for hotel companies worldwide. AccorHotels currently has 23 brands in its portfolio, with Sofitel competing directly with Fairmont for the luxury segment, and 25Hours competing with Jo&Joe for the budget-minded millennial guests. By uniting the different brands into different categories, will AccorHotels and Marriott find mutual support among the ranks instead of competition, or will dividing the brands drive competition among the segments for the most lucrative demographics?