Leading Global Hospitality Strategy

with Gilda Perez-Alvarado, CEO of Orient Express and Group Chief Strategy Officer at Accor

Together with

Gilda Perez-Alvarado gave us the first interview after being appointed CEO of the iconic Orient Express brand! She remains Accor's Group Chief Strategy Officer, and today, we’re publishing the first part of our exclusive double feature.

We’re also learning about:

  • Tracy Prigmore’s investment training kickoff

  • TSH’s partnership for education

  • Creating and selling merch

  • Surrounding yourself with joy

  • …and more

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Report: The Future of AI Recruitment in Hospitality

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Leading Global Hospitality Strategy

with Gilda Perez-Alvarado, CEO of Orient Express and Group Chief Strategy Officer at Accor

Gilda Perez-Alvarado // Credit: Accor

Today, Gilda Perez-Alvarado, CEO of Orient Express and Group Chief Strategy Officer at Accor, discusses her new roles and observations so far.

Why Gilda joined Accor

Why not? It’s the most exciting company in hospitality right now.

Gilda and Accor CEO Sébastien Bazin knew each other well before, and this was a factor in her taking this job.

The first time I met him, I said to myself, "One day we're going to work together, and I'm going to learn from him."

Gilda’s focus for the past few months

The best piece of advice that I got was, "Go, learn, listen, see, experience." And that's what I've been doing for the last two months.

I've been participating and adding value as much as I can, but I also want to make sure that I come here with an unbiased approach. I'm listening, I'm getting the context behind, I'm getting the why. Why do we do things this way? Why is this our approach? What's the context behind it?

When you're going up an organization, even at JLL or anywhere for that matter, people are always very critical of, "Oh, I would do things this way." Or, "Why was this decision taken?" And you don't have the full context, you don't have that vantage point. And so, that's what I'm trying to perfect as much I could for the last eight plus weeks. Just observe, learn, and get the context.

Leading the Orient Express brand

This is a very special brand with a tremendous amount of legacy, history, brand equity. We're making a very significant investment in taking its heritage and making it even more relevant today.

We have brand historians, creative directors, an amazing design team reviewing all the archives. This is something that is of national and I would say European interest. We’re working with partners and brands that were present inside the Orient Express over a hundred years ago. We're being very meticulous about it. We're at day one. Honestly, the opportunities are endless.

This is a jewel that we have. It's a dream for me. I'm very, very excited to work with the team and to take the brand forward.

What provides Accor with a strategic competitive advantage

Gilda is retaining her role as Group Chief Strategy Officer at Accor even as she leads the Orient Express brand, and I asked about what she sees as the company’s core competencies that she wants to double down on. One of those was its treatment of brand founders.

We have been extremely respectful of those founder-led brands. If you look at the brands that the group has acquired or partnered with over the last decade, if there's a founder, that founder has remained in place. That DNA, the brand architecture has stayed intact. I really love that.

Getting to know a lot of those personalities, hearing what their initial vision was when they were entrepreneurs either launching that concept or that brand, and how they've partnered with Accor to bring through the machine, that has been great. I would say that's probably one of the main core competencies that I would like to see even more of.

This is just a preview. In today’s episode, you'll learn more about the process of managing a historic luxury brand such as Orient Express, the strategic vision behind Accor's diverse hospitality portfolio, and Gilda's approach to integrating sustainability and global perspectives into corporate strategy.

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