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IN FOCUS


IS JOINING ACCOR A POSITIVE MOVE?


Accor’s commitment to bringing us into the fold has been amazing. We will be run as an independent company but take advantage of all the things that come with being part of a big hospitality group that has been moving into luxury. They see onefinestay as an important part of their luxury boutique portfolio. Accor have a huge number of loyal high-end travellers who, when going for a longer stay, looking for something bigger and more comfortable, or travelling with family, will appreciate something different from a brand they trust. We could not move into so many new markets as quickly without the support of Accor.


DO YOU EXPECT ACCOR’S LOYALTY CLUB MEMBERS TO USE ONEFINESTAY?


Not everyone in the loyalty club will be right for onefinestay. But if you combine Accor’s knowledge of its customers and our unique offering, it is relatively easy to see pockets who will be excited by what we bring.


WHERE WILL THE EXPANSION TAKE YOU?


Miami is our most recent announcement. We will concentrate on the Americas and Europe to start with – places you would expect. We have looked at where people are going and where our guests are going. The US is still the biggest market for families or large groups for long stays. That’s our first filter and then we look for something we can bring to the market that’s different. We will also be looking at more resort-type cities, which would be new for us.


WILL THE EXPERIENCE CHANGE MUCH?


It won’t, as we have found something that works, and what we do is very different. We’ve spent a few months studying our customers. Women are driving buying decisions and we zeroed in on affluent customers who may be familiar with villa rentals from brands, but are less


opportunity for us. She trusts experts such as her agent, beautician, hairdresser and architect – and the agent is a key part of her holiday decisions. There are a lot of similarities between us and agents because, like us, at their core it’s about advice, trust, personal relationships and knowledge of what that customer wants.


DO AGENTS TRUST ONEFINESTAY?


Once agents have tried us, and their clients have experienced what we offer, it spreads quickly through their clients. Agents’ reputations are on the line, so it takes time to build trust. We have not traditionally had many agents out to stay, but maybe we should do more. We have focused on educating agents and then making sure their clients have an amazing time. This gives agents confidence to continue to recommend us. The focus before Accor was already to increase distribution through agents, and we had committed to growing that part of the business. We have commission tiers, so preferred agents can get as much as 12.5%. We’re also expanding our account management team for agents, and want to spend more time with them. We have something unique for them.


TOP: Miranda Cresswell ABOVE: Piazza Margana, Rome


HOW STRICT ARE YOU WHEN CHOOSING ONEFINESTAY PROPERTIES?


familiar with homestay or renting from an individual. It’s our job to make sure she [the woman driving buying decisions] knows and understands what we do, and the quality and service levels. They value service and surround themselves with experts.


DO THESE HIGH-END FEMALE CONSUMERS BOOK WITH AGENTS?


Yes, and that is why they are such a big


We vet all houses and have 132 standards that need to be met. It’s all about seamless liveability and giving people the character and charm of a real home, but with an added layer of standardisation, so the quality is maintained. A lot of stays are more than 30 days, and while people want that comfort of a home, they want it to feel like their home and not have a photo of granny staring at them, for example. We send at least four people into every home before the guest arrives to make sure it is perfect for arrivals.


aspire december 2016 — 65


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