In 2017, the Accor Group established a joint venture with Bouygues Immobilier, a real estate development company, and invested in a joint office space, Wojo (formally called Nextdoor). The partnership fits exactly its mission-to be an empowered hotel brand. This not only allows the brand to provide more value to customers and hotel owners, it also helps travelers and locals create another common area where they can interact and participate in meaningful ways.
SkiftX, Franck Gervais, CEO of Accor Group Europe, Frédéric Fontaine, Senior Vice President of Accor Group, Innovation Lab and Wojo CEO Stephane Bensimon to learn more about the story behind the strategic investment in Wojo-making Wojo the largest co-working brand in Europe , Accor Group plans to improve the co-working industry and how to integrate Wojo in Accor hotels.
ranck Gervais: The way people work is changing rapidly. We not only serve corporate clients on business trips, but also a new generation of entrepreneurs, remote workers and freelancers, most of whom work or work on business. Investing in co-working through Wojo is strategically important for businesses to meet changing consumer needs. In addition, these co-working spaces not only allow our hotel owners and operators to provide more value to their overnight guests, but also generate revenue from locals and enhance the customer experience everywhere.
Stephane Bensimon: This investment helps the Accor Group to provide customers and partners with a more diverse and growing value proposition. Working with Bouygues Immobilier, we can leverage our common expertise in the hospitality and real estate sectors to provide the broadest range of solutions and truly enhance the collaborative experience.
SkiftX: How does Wojo fit into Accor's long-term brand and business strategy?
Gervais : A few years ago, we realized that our customers wanted more than just a hotel room, they wanted to create new experiences. Because of this, we have made a strategic decision from a pure hotel group to a group that empowers hotel brands. We are reshaping the image of the hotel, instead of treating it as a place or service, but as an experience consisting of countless interconnected moments. We are creating a holistic ecosystem around consumers.
Wojo is an example of how our unique strategy will connect us to our customers' daily lives. This is the first time an international hotel group has partnered with a recognized co-working brand to create a vibrant hub where local communities and our visitors can work and socialize.
SkiftX: What do you think of Wojo?
Bensimon: Derived from the words "work" and "mojo", Wojo is a spirit that embodies the positive aspects of work. One of the reasons we renamed it was to ensure that we have a brand that can grow internationally. We plan to expand 10 locations in France to 50 locations in Europe within the next five years, making it easy for anyone looking for co-working in the area to access Wojo. Our team at Wojo is also creating a stronger sense of community for our customers. We organize new integration projects that provide opportunities for individuals and companies to establish business connections at all levels. We also have a digital platform that allows businesses to connect directly using our workspace.
We believe that our “workspitality” approach—services you can usually find in a hotel, such as concierge services and food and beverages—to bring to the workplace—along with our scale and products—will become a joint Wojo and others Really different office space.
Fontaine: Wojo changes the concept of hotel space for tourists and travelers only. It brings people from the local community into our hotel, seamlessly blending with our goal of building a brand for the entire community.
SkiftX: How did you integrate Wojo into Accor hotels?
Our main focus is to create as many Wojo sites as possible. We want everyone in Europe to find their place of work within 10 minutes. To this end, we have launched two new Wojo products that can be integrated into Accor hotels.
The first is Wojo Spot, which will use a freemium value-added model that can be integrated into all Accor hotels without any major investment or additional renovation of underutilized public areas.
The second product is Wojo Corner, which will be more refined. These spaces will have more private and hidden areas and will be larger (from at least 100 square meters). Although we are currently launching Wojo corner in the hotel, its development potential is huge, and it can be built in railway stations, airports and other places in the future.
At Accor, we have our own brand, space and team. Our restaurants, bars and conference venues are serviced and we are open 24 hours a day.
On the Wojo side, the brand brings a deep understanding of the experiences people want and the types of communities they want to enter when looking for a workplace. We integrated Wojo and Accor and combined their respective expertise to create a unique hybrid space. By participating in Wojo's ambitious development, we are optimizing the use of our assets and creating value for our owners by opening up to new types of client "workers".
Wojo helps Accor rethink its traditional approach to workspace design. We use our collaborative experience to help Accor focus on designing workspaces around the experiences we want our customers to have. Digitizing some touchpoints and providing digital community management tools to our customers has become part of the development process. In addition to being able to incorporate a service-oriented hotel service approach into the collaboration, Accor is also able to use Wojo Corners to provide cooperating customers with modern workspaces with different types of workstations, such as standing workstations and lounge seating. We looked at how to provide privacy and quiet when someone is trying to make a call, and where people can put personal belongings for security. We've added sofas, food and beverage supplies, and made sure to pay great attention to details such as power outlets, a small library, and easy layout. It sounds simple, but these little things will ensure that we give our customers a unique space they want to return to.