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AccorHotels and the Digital Transformation: Enriching Experiences through Content Strategies along the Customer Journey

Published 26 Aug 2016
Reference 6241
Topic Marketing
Region Global
Length 23 page(s)
Language English
Prizes & Awards

2022 The Case Centre Best-selling Case in the Category 'Marketing'

2021 The Case Centre Best-selling Case in the Category 'Marketing'

2020 The Case Centre Best-selling Case in the Category 'Marketing'

2019 The Case Centre Best-selling Case in the Category 'Marketing'

2018 The Case Centre Best-selling Case in the Category 'Marketing'

Winner of the Case Centre Awards and Competitions 2018 in the Category 'Marketing'

2017 The Case Centre Best-selling Case in the Category 'Marketing'

Finalist of the 2017 AFM-CCMP Award for the Best case study in the Category 'Marketing'


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.

Teaching objectives

This case offers a forum to discuss what it means for a company to engage its digital transformation in order to foster customer-centricity. A discussion of the nature and role of online content in shifting consumer behavior in the hoteling industry serves as a basis to explore how companies can create value at different points of the customer journey and what these steps entail. The case also touches on a variety of important strategic, organizational and operational decisions that the company must undertake to fully leverage online content and can be used to address the following broad questions (Specific questions are available in the teaching note): 1) How does online content stemming from digital and social media create value in the hoteling industry? 2) How can a company actively manage online content and implement a content strategy? and 3) What aspects of its organizational design a company need to remodel in order to maximize value creation through digital and social media.

FOR EDUCATORS ONLY: Detailed information on the consumer, the ecosystem, the firm, marketing and financial indicators is provided for educators on our website. Please check the section "Restricted Material for Instructors". Teaching notes and accompanying PowerPoint presentations suggest appropriate classroom exercises and include supplemental material and databases for group exercises. Videos provide insight on what drove the digital transformation and vividly illustrate its implementation and initial impressive results. They include interviews with Emilie Couton (Vice President Digital Marketing Asia Pacific), a video-recorded session of Olivier Arnoux on the digital transformation at AccorHotels, as well as examples of content created or co-created by AccorHotels.
A teaching note supplement with short recommendations for remote teaching of the case is available.

  • Digital Transformation
  • Content Marketing
  • Customer Centricity
  • Hoteling & Tourism
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Customer Journey
  • Consumer Experiences
  • Digital Disruptions
  • Reputation Management
  • AccorHotels Booking Airbnb
  • TripAdvisor
  • Online Reviews
  • Social Media Listening
  • Digital Organizational Integration
  • Q41516
  • Corporate Governance
  • Value Creation, Strategy and Implementation
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