How entertainment became a key component of hospitality
4 min

It's been a long time since being handed a big metal key over the counter was all the welcome that hotel guests would receive! In 2019, access to a room with a soft bed and functional bathroom is no longer enough to meet everyone’s expectations – and certainly not the expectations of younger guests. Growing up with the Internet and social networks, they expect interaction, fun and entertainment anytime and anywhere – including hotels. 

Millennials are changing the game

Hotels are becoming less of a place to sleep than a springboard to moments in life that are worthy of significance: meeting up, sharing with friends, attending an event, etc. Before settling down, Generation Y or ‘Millennials’ want more - and they’re getting it. In 2019, according to the French consultant firm Deloitte, 55% of hotel offers were targeted at this customer base. This generation and the next are taking control and are driving the market. Especially since they are adopting other consumer practices and expectations that push hotels to think differently.

Faced with customers that crave immersion and experiences, overnight accommodation is no longer an end in itself. Increasing the number of hotel nights offered is a largely outdated goal. The hotel must become a genuine living space, a place where business travellers, tourists, and especially people living and working in the neighbourhood, can mingle. Whether they live in the city or are visiting, they come for the laid-back atmosphere, design, and connectivity, as well as services or locations with multiple uses that can play host to exhibitions, concerts, or unique experiences.

A not-so-recent turning point

Accor has fully understood this for several years, because the concept of augmented hospitality is not a new one. Part of Accor’s portfolio since 2014, Mama Shelter is a “creator of living spaces and daily director”, a brand which offers more than stylishly decorated rooms, and which proclaims “Mama Loves You!”. We love Mama - and you will too - for her trendy bars and quirky restaurants where we can party all night long.

New concept, new brand

Providing entertainment as well as hospitality is also fundamental to the JO&JOE venture. The brand was created by Accor in 2017 around the concept of a new generation Open House which promises, “a totally reinvented and disruptive experience” where, freedom to party, and even cooking are all on the menu. It is a place for travellers or ‘tripsters’ and locals or ‘townsters’ to gather and take advantage of the available facilities. With a hammock hill, ping-pong tables, a climbing wall, volleyball court, slackline, boules pitch, and more, JO&JOE is a fully-fledged playground! 

Development of the lifestyle offer

With its Augmented Hospitality strategy, Accor is going further by imagining an ecosystem built around hospitality and entertainment. “You have to customise the experience and interact with guests by increasing the frequency of encounters,” stresses Sébastien Bazin, CEO of the Group. While brands such as Amazon or Facebook have daily contact with their customers, hotels only see theirs three or four times a year. Hence the idea of enticing them with other offers that will keep each guest coming back.

To attract Millennials (but not only them!) to its hotels around the world, Accor is now looking to gain serious advantages, like its partnership with sbe Entertainment Group. The lifestyle hotel operator boasts renowned hotel and residence brands (SLS Hotel & Residences, Delano, Mondrian, Redbury, Hyde Hotel & Residences, The Originals), as well as restaurants and nightclubs. Its strength? Offering exceptional experiences at its various brands, while undertaking to combine authenticity, sophistication, know-how, and innovation at each of its locations. The newest creation from the Accor/sbe union arrived in early 2019. The House of Originals is an international collection of historic, if not iconic hotels, each asserting its originality in a masterclass of bold design, range of cuisine and mixology, and its parties.

On the pulse of exciting events

In just a few years, Accor has accelerated the development and diversification of its lifestyle offerings, primarily through acquisition, but also through other means. Historic brands have also gone down this route. 

For example, 'La Nuit by Sofitel' offers a new, multisensory experience that offers a combination of music, design, and mixology to cosmopolitan travellers. True to the brand’s DNA, combining French style and elegance, its evenings are organised in parallel with prestigious cultural events such as fashion weeks, major film festivals, or international design and contemporary art exhibitions.

With ibis Music, hotels are turning into intimate music venues, with programmes featuring the discovery of new talent at 44 live concerts in 17 different countries. More than ever, the brand shares its passion for music with its guests, travellers, and residents! This musical journey will come to an end on 7 August at the 2019 Sziget Festival in Budapest (Hungary). Nine bands and artists will appear before a panel of professionals, and one act will be crowned ‘ibis Music's best up-and-coming artist’. Artists, programmes, and playlists can be found at

Music gives the Group a broader reach, whether at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, where the biggest international stars perform or as part of the Montreux Jazz Festival, the internationally renowned festival which Accor has been a Global Partner of since 2018. In July 2019, the Terrasse ibis Music will welcome festival-goers to the first stage built for the occasion on Lake Geneva. The bar will open its doors at midday with pop and electro shows entertaining 500 lucky spectators until dawn.

And these are only a few examples from the range of experiences offered by the Group!

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