Ibis Hotels Business Report

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IBIS – Hotel Report

Ibis, the popular economy hotel chain, opened its first hotel in 1974, in the French town of Bordeaux. Since then, the company has expanded globally, reaching 40 countries worldwide, opening over 800 hotels. The majority of chains have been established in France, while the UK hosts over 50 chains, with further four hotel openings expected in December 2009. Recently, the chain has introduced a strategy to “promote the chain’s drive for ‘greater and greener customer comfort’”. (Mintel 2009) The Company

The chain is owned by the French firm ‘Accor’, a global corporation operating in the travel and tourism industry. Accor leads a number of brands, with Ibis falling under its ‘Accor Hospitality’ sector. As a two star hotel, Ibis is part of Accor’s ‘economy brands’, sharing the stage with 2-3 star ‘All Seasons’. Ibis hotels provide simple accommodation features, described on their website as being, “inviting, modern, spacious and cosy, with a comfortable bed and a functional bathroom.” (Ibis 2009) As well as this, some of their hotels now offer internet connection, and even climate control. Recently, in January 2009, Ibis announced they were rolling out two new products: “a new bed designed by Simmons Company, and toiletries from Ecolabel.” (Mintel 2009). Ibis are the 5th largest UK ‘budget hotel’ chain, with the number of hotels and rooms they provide expanding by 0.5% for 2008-09 statistics. Comparatively, the 3rd largest chain, ‘Holiday Inn’ enjoyed a 9.5% increase. However, the top two chains, Premier Inn and Travelodge dominate the market, with around 68% of the entire market between them. Ibis is only one of 5 UK companies with 50 hotel chains, and they continue to increase this amount. (Mintel 2009) Customers

Ibis target market is mainly travellers, evidence being the 24 hour reception service that they provide, and the international travelling suggestion on their website: “Always on the move? Ibis hotels welcome you all over the world” (Ibis 2009). As well as this, they cater for early risers, offering hot breakfasts from 4am. Although Ibis target short-term occupants, and people ‘pit stopping’ at their hotels, they don’t alienate other customers, and recognise their ‘in-a-hurry’ bias: “We don't forget customers who are in less of a hurry” (Ibis 2009). Their market position also suggests that Ibis caters for those with a “mid-budget” (Mintel 2009), and those looking for extra services such as internet connection and food catering. Secondary research shows us that Ibis has a fairly respectable reputation in the UK, serving as a low profile hotel chain. A study found that over 60% of customers thought their experience was either excellent or good, with around 6-8% finding their experience either poor or unsatisfactory (Mintel 2009). Moreover, further research shows that Ibis shares a similar correlation to the ‘average’ budget hotel, scoring slightly under-par with regards to friendliness. The hotel suffers from a lack of stand-out feature, as the ‘Mintel Budget Hotels - UK - August 2009’ report points out, “Ibis ... has no particular brand identity of its own” (Mintel 2009). Another interesting consumer attitude is the general opinion towards Ibis’s environmental stance. A July 2009 survey discovered that only a small percentage (around 5%) thought Ibis cares for the environment, however, as previously mentioned, Ibis launched a new initiative in January 2009, driving towards “greater and greener customer comfort” (Mintel 2009), on top of this, Ibis’s impressive website dedicates a large area to its environment pursuits. This area, entirely designed using ‘flash’, allows the user browse specific actions and challenges the company claims to strive for. Not only this, a new feature on the website is an Ibis ‘green press kit’. The comprehensive 15 page document claims Ibis to be “the first international economy hotel chain to obtain ISO 14001 certification” and “75% of ibis hotels will be ISO 14001...
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