Accor partners with Microsoft for hybrid events platform

The new All Connect concept will help Accor hotels host hybrid events. Photo credit: Accor

Hospitality group Accor is collaborating with Microsoft to launch All Connect, a new hybrid meetings concept supported by Microsoft Teams. This new concept will help guests around the world adapt to the new ways of working that are expected to be an enduring legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, 55 percent of Accor hotels with meeting rooms are already providing hybrid meetings solutions to their clients. Launching in April 2021, the new All Connect concept will let Accor hotels provide a full hybrid experience. Accor aims to have 100 percent of its hotels with meeting rooms in compliance with the group’s new standard for hybrid meetings by 2022 across all brands worldwide.
This new offering aims to enable corporate customers and meeting planners to combine physical in-hotel meetings with virtual interactions across multiple locations simultaneously. For hotels not already equipped for hybrid meetings, the new offering will allow attendees to connect and engage virtually on the Microsoft Teams platform. In select Accor meeting spaces, Microsoft Teams Rooms and Surface Hub 2S will connect people on-site to those joining remotely with audio and video device experiences. People can present content and see virtual participants as if they were in the same room. 
The concept will focus primarily on small meetings of eight to 50 physical participants, though options are also available for larger meetings and events. Bespoke meeting programs and experiences will be available to attendees along with Allsafe-vetted protocol co-developed with Bureau Veritas through the Allsafe program. 
Research by Accor shows that 50 percent of physical meetings planned by the company’s meetings and events customers in 2021 will switch to virtual formats, and that 70 percent of respondents see hybrid meetings as an important service in the future.
In addition, sector analysis shows that the trend towards remote events and meetings is likely to endure beyond the pandemic even as corporate budgets return to pre-COVID levels, according to the company. Accor’s hybrid meeting offer will be a new revenue stream for the group as corporate customers will focus on more sustainable corporate travel, continuing to prioritize health and safety, while maintaining business connections.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused business travelers and meeting planners to review the way they work,” said Patrick Mendes, group chief commercial officer in charge of sales, marketing, distribution and loyalty at Accor. “Virtual and hybrid formats have become an essential part of daily business life. Accor’s new concept All Connect, created in collaboration with Microsoft Teams, will be an important tool for our guests, offering them the opportunity to organize safe, qualitative and seamless hybrid meetings as they continue to focus on health & safety and sustainability. All Connect is another example of Accor responding rapidly to the ongoing crisis following on from the launch of AllSafe and the rollout of Hotel Office and coworking concepts. We are delighted to launch this collaboration with Microsoft, knowing that Teams has become a new way to work for 115 million daily users who come together every day to meet, call, chat, and collaborate.”
“The future of work is hybrid, and the services and experiences which organizations offer their customers will reflect this,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, EVP and president, Microsoft global sales, marketing & operation. “We want every person and every organization to benefit from this new working environment in a way that ensures business continuity. That’s why we are proud to collaborate with Accor on All Connect, helping their customers stay connected wherever they are.”