AccorHotels and the Digital Transformation: Enriching Experiences through Content Strategies along the Customer Journey
Read a related Knowledge article ""Lessons in Digital Transformation from the Hotel Industry"" by David Dubois. The case focuses on AccorHotels' ambitious digital transformation, aiming to put the customer back at the center of its strategy and operations. Responding to a powerful wave of digital disruptions in the hospitality ecosystem, from the emergence of review websites, online travel agents and active forums to the rise of new competitors such as Airbnb, the transformation entailed: (1) designing and implementing an innovative content marketing strategy (including online content creation or co-creation, curation and dissemination) (2) incorporating e-reputation as a core business objective, and (3) creating and/or adapting organizational structures - from management to operations - to support this new dynamic and maximize value creation. The case starts in Fall 2015, when Olivier Arnoux, SVP Customer Satisfaction at AccorHotels, and his team, are asked to devise an ambitious plan to address the new challenges facing major players in the hotel industry brought about by digital disruptions. It follows the decision-making process step by step, from (1) understanding the nature and impact of online content in the customer journey, to (2) building a strategic plan to integrate online insights into AccorHotels' core business objectives (in particular the importance of e-reputation), (3) redefining where and how value is created, and creating incentive structures aligned with the new objectives. Participants have multiple opportunities to put themselves in the shoes of the protagonists so as to understand the logic behind the decisions taken. What is novel is the systematic articulation of how digital and social media impact the customer journey, as well as the integration of online content into marketing strategy (i.e., content marketing) and organizational design (i.e., team structure, incentive system), underlining how embracing the digital revolution entails breaking traditional silos between functions such as marketing, strategy, finance and human resources. A teaching note supplement with short recommendations for remote teaching of the case is available.