AccorHotels books new agency for 'six-figure' retained UK comms account

AccorHotels has appointed Manifest to handle UK brand communications across three of its hotel brands: ibis, Novotel and Mercure, PRWeek can reveal.

The agency won the account, which PRWeek understands is worth ‘six figures’, after a four-way pitch. It has begun working with the group, but officially takes over press office duties from incumbent Hope & Glory in January.

In addition to designing and executing creative consumer campaigns for all three hotel brands, Manifest will be responsible for running strategic communications, 'always on' press office and reputation for AccorHotels’ mid-scale and economy brands.

The AccorHotels portfolio has more than 3,400 hotels worldwide. The three hotel brands account for a significant proportion of the UK’s hospitality footprint, with more than 220 properties.

Within the group, Novotel Hotels provides multi-service offers for business and leisure guests; Mercure Hotels’ midscale proposition is more of a midscale proposition; while ibis is the the group’s economy brand comprising ibis, ibis Styles and ibis budget.

"The hotels space is changing quite dramatically from just being one room in a good location at a good price to being much more connected to why you might be staying in a hotel," Manifest CEO and founder Alex Myers told PRWeek.

"It’s also about connecting experiences with the local community. For example, you might have live events and experiences at a hotel that the local community might attend, even if they are not a guest at the time. It’s about building a brand experience. If you are travelling to Manchester for a gig, it’s about the hotel being part of that experience."

More than ‘heads on pillows’

Manifest’s brief moves beyond traditional consumer PR for a hotel brand. The agency will be responsible for helping ibis, Novotel and Mercure grow their respective brands in the live music and events space.

"Our job is to build these three different brands and their purposes. It’s about establishing what these brands stand for in terms of experience and making that magnetic to the audience they are targeting," Myers added.

"Live music is definitely something we will be looking at and reinventing perceptions around a budget hotel experience."

AccorHotels vice president of marketing for Northern Europe James Wheatcroft said Manifest will play an important role in helping the brands move beyond the travel category.

"Manifest showed us that they not only have a clear understanding of our overarching vision for the business, but also the personalities of the three brands individually," Wheatcroft said.

"Next year we’re continuing to take ibis, Novotel and Mercure outside the travel category and into new guest experiences, ranging from music to design and fashion. To this end, Manifest delivered three distinctly different creative approaches that stir emotions, build loyalty and showcase our unique propositions."

'It demonstrates maturity'

For Manifest, the win is an endorsement of its new approach to market. Recently, the business integrated PR, branding and its other divisions, breaking down silos to provide a holistic approach to marcoms.

"This is an example of the scale of brands that are looking for the approach that we take, which is combining agile creativity with consistent, solid unified services," Myers said.

"It demonstrates our maturity in the market, in the sense that it’s not just start-up brands or scale-up brands that are looking to find more agile creative agencies. Big household names understand the potential of building a brand and using creative comms to do that."

The AccorHotels win caps off a strong year for Manifest. It won the PRWeek 2018 Small Consultancy of the Year award, and recently picked up Swedish beauty brand Oriflame and Spanish room rental start-up badi.

Listen to: Myers recently caught up with PRWeek US for a podcast about the agency’s new approach.

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