The Hoxton brand is gearing up for a major expansion in the US, with a pipeline of up to 100 hotels being discussed.
Accor’s CEO Sebastian Bazin said there is a niche in the American market for the distinctive British lifestyle brand.
“Owners are a little bit sick of ‘by-the-book’ American brands”, said Bazin. “The efficient nature of Hilton or Marriott doesn’t encourage them to be audacious, and now they are open to trying non-American brands.”
Bazin was candid about the group’s previous attempts to enter the US market.
“We failed miserably”, he said. “There’s a prophecy in France: ‘When French people go to America they fly Concorde and they come back charter’. That’s exactly what happened to Accor. We went to America in 1996, invested 2 billion to buy Motel 6, plus probably another billion in capital infusion, and we lost 2 billion.”
The lifestyle brand is owned by Ennismore, which recently partnered with Accor to form a new hospitality company with a portfolio that includes Delano, SLS, Mondrian, TRIBE and 25hours.
Ennismore founder Sharan Pasricha said: “The combination of Europe’s largest hotel company with an entrepreneurial, founder-led creative business is incredibly powerful.”
Following an asset-lite business model, the expansion will likely occur through partnerships and franchises.
Pasricha said: “Historically there’s a challenge with losing control of a lifestyle brand. We obsess about the curation of the public spaces, and the operation of bars and hotels. With a franchise agreement, you’re simply providing your name above the door and a bunch of brand standards. That’s challenging, so we’ve got to figure out the right balance.
“There’s a handful of brands that tap out at 8-12 hotels. Or you get absorbed buy a large group, but then you lose your mojo. We are hellbent on bucking that trend. I think in the US there’s no question we could build hundreds of these hotels.”
The Hoxton recently confirmed the opening of seven hotels in Europe by early 2024.
Read our review of the Hoxton Southwark London here