A leadership lesson from Sébastien Bazin of Accor
Plus: How Clean the World pivoted to save lives during the pandemic
This week, we’ve looked at how Philippe Zrihen, head of Ennismore Americas thinks about brand experience, recruiting and culture. In this final episode, we look at the story of what led to their partnership with Accor, and a leadership lesson from CEO Sébastien Bazin.
As an operator, the Ennismore team had owners come to them saying they love their hotels and their vibe, but some were worried a boutique brand won’t be able to bring in the type of business a big brand would.
Zrihen’s previous experience at SBE was helpful here, as he saw the company’s acquisition of Morgans Hotel Group in 2016. That included brands like the Mondrian and Delano, which were iconic and sold themselves to some extent. But as time went on, the importance of distribution, procurement, loyalty programs, and other benefits people expect from larger hotel companies became more important. So in 2018, Zrihen and his team began having conversations with larger brands that were looking to get into the lifestyle space.
The goal was to combine the uniqueness and DNA of the Ennismore lifestyle brands with the global distribution of a larger brand. But the challenge is that many operators from big brands have struggled historically to successfully run boutique/lifestyle brands because many aspects of what makes boutique lodging special aren’t in a corporate operations process manual.
The Ennismore team eventually formed a partnership with Accor Hotels, and something their CEO Sébastien Bazin said at the time stood out to Zrihen: "We are going to involuntarily try to monetize your brands. Do not let us do that.” Accor has stayed true to their promise, allowing Ennismore to continue building their brands and only engage when they need help. “That philosophy has proved to be successful because it avoided the potential pitfalls of a deal like we did.”
Bazin’s approach to the partnership was also a masterclass in leadership. “What you remember 25 years into your career aren’t the long speeches or someone telling you how to run your day-to-day responsibilities - it’s just the little tidbits of guidance and then getting out of the way,” Zrihen concluded.
How Clean the World pivoted to save lives during the pandemic
Clean The World has long represented the best in hospitality in the broadest sense: being resourceful to take care of people.
Since its start in 2009 with leftover soap from a single hotel, they’ve recycled 63 million bars of soap collected from more than 8,000 hotels and resorts and saved countless lives in 130 countries.
Today, they’re fighting the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases around the world by giving people access to water, sanitation and hygiene education.
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