Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 1 December 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Accor plans to offer certified virus-free hotel stays in Europe

The new label-based system is under development but aims to give travellers peace of mind

Accor and Bureau Veritas are devising a label-based system to reassure travellers hoping to book hotel stays. Accor
Accor and Bureau Veritas are devising a label-based system to reassure travellers hoping to book hotel stays. Accor

Accor, the hospitality group behind brands such as Raffles, Sofitel, Rixos, Novotel and Ibis, is putting plans in place to reassure tourists considering travelling once current global movement restrictions are lifted.

The French hospitality group has partnered with Bureau Veritas – the specialist in testing, inspection and certification – to launch a quality assurance label based on sanitary measures that will be given to hotels and resorts deemed virus-free.

The virus-free certification will be developed with experts and rolled out in Accor’s French properties first, followed by its European properties. But it could also eventually be applied to other chains and independent hotels.

How does it work?

The aim is that travellers will be able to search hotels, resorts and restaurants on a dedicated website to check whether a property has been deemed safe, before making a booking or visiting.

How this label is granted, and the safety measures and checks that will be undertaken haven’t been announced yet; but it is being developed in partnership with doctors and epidemiologists.

“This label will contribute to the hospitality and restaurant industry reopening with confidence,” said Jacques Pommeraud, chief executive of Bureau Veritas Africa and France.

The final points of the project are being finalised by Accor and Bureau Veritas, which are set to share details with French health and tourism authorities – and want them to be involved in validating their recommendations.

These standards will apply to all guest areas in hotels and resorts, and also to back office and catering spaces.

Road map back to business

Concrete details will then be shared with relevant ministries and governments across Europe.

“Today, more than ever, our employees, customers and partners need to be reassured of our ability to offer them the best welcome possible,” said Franck Gervais, chief executive of Europe Accor.

“As the European leader in hospitality, it is our duty to anticipate needs and respond to health and safety requirements by adhering to the highest standards.”

Accor will also create an operational guide garnered from the project that will be available to any hoteliers who want to see it.

In a sign of how badly the hospitality industry has been hit, earlier this month it was revealed that Accor had closed two thirds of its hotels and furloughed, or temporarily laid off, 75 per cent of its staff.

The company closed more than 3,000 of the group’s 5,000 hotels and made more than 200,000 staff temporarily redundant, but at the time chief executive Sebastien Bazin told Bloomberg Television he intended to reopen all of the properties and re-employ the workers as soon as possible.

Updated: April 21, 2020 12:33 PM

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