400 members of Accor’s regional leadership team attend ‘EMPOWERED’ at Sydney’s ICC

Accor, the largest hotel operator in Australia and New Zealand, hosted its first ever Pacific Leaders EMPOWERED Conference and Awards with more than 400 general managers and senior leaders from Accor attending from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, French Polynesia, and across the world.

Held at the International Convention Centre in Sydney on 11 and 12 July 2023, EMPOWERED delivered a range of thought-provoking presentations, panel discussions, workshops and tradeshows aimed at extending Accor’s business performance in the Pacific region. Key themes of the conference included Accor’s People, Loyalty & Guest Experience, Sustainability (ESG), and driving Market Leading Performance.

Sarah Derry, Accor Pacific CEO for the Premium, Midscale and Economy division, said the conference was an investment into people and performance, and would support Accor’s goal of achieving profitable and sustainable business growth for its stakeholders.

“Our aim of the two-day conference was to bring our senior leaders and key stakeholders together to develop a shared understanding of our business and to hear directly from our business leaders as they discuss Accor’s vision for the future of hospitality,” she said.

“Empowerment is a key value at Accor, and we believe that by empowering our people, we can truly transform and lead the hospitality industry. We have no doubt that the insights and ideas shared at this conference will have a lasting impact on all of us, and we are excited to see the positive change that will come from it.”

Day one of the conference kicked off with a global update from Accor’s Group Deputy CEO and Premium, Midscale & Economy Division CEO, Jean-Jacques Morin. This was followed by an informative keynote address by Tourism Australia Managing Director, Phillipa Harrison, on the strategy to market Australia to the world.

Accor Global Chief Commercial Officer for the Premium, Midscale & Economy Division, Karelle Lamouche, also shared an update on global commercial strategies and the power of Accor’s portfolio of brands including popular offerings such as Pullman, Novotel and ibis, while Accor Global Chief Talent & Culture Officer, Steven Daines, gave a talent and culture update.

There was also a supplier village curated by Accor’s procurement team to showcase innovations from the Group’s partners, an Accor Plus update from CEO Renae Trimble, and an expert panel discussion of leaders from Accor’s Middle East, Africa, Turkey & Asia Pacific, Premium, Midscale & Economy Division.

A First Nations panel, consisting of Dean Parkin (Yes23), Mundunarra Bayles (Black Card), and Nareen Young (UTS), hosted by Sarah Derry, kick-started the second and final day of the conference. Leading the discussion were topics including cultural capability, team member engagement, and the importance of valued First Nations partners.

Attendees then did a deep dive into three of Accor’s key priorities with workshop sessions on People, Sustainability, and Loyalty & Guest. Joining the high-profile speakers from earlier in the day, Sarah Derry then hosted another panel discussion with key Accor partners, including Olivia Wirth (Qantas), Margy Osmond (TTF), Luke Bould (TEG), and Andrew Abdo (NRL).

Accor closed the conference with a world-class entertainment experience at Accor Stadium. Delegates travelled via Rocket Ferries to Sydney Olympic Park Wharf and onto Accor Stadium to watch State of Origin III. The atmosphere was electric with over 80,000 tickets sold for this event, which is one of the largest and most impressive in the stadium’s event calendar.

Gala Dinner and Pacific Awards
A highlight of the conference was the Gala Dinner and Pacific Awards ceremony on Tuesday 11 July, which recognised standout service and key performance across the Group.

Presented on the night were nine award categories:

  • Best Loyalty Performance Property (winner: Mantra on Jolimont Melbourne)
  • Best Guest Experience Property (winner: Mantra Epping and The Sebel Pinnacle Valley)
  • Best Sustainability Initiatives Property (winner: Peppers Silo Hotel Launceston)
  • Best Performing Food & Beverage Outlet (winner: Platform 818 at Mercure Sydney)
  • Best Performing Property (winner: Novotel Hamilton Tainui and Novotel Brisbane South Bank)
  • Most Engaged Property (winner: Mantra on Northbourne Canberra)
  • Highest Academy Accor Training Hours Property (winner: ibis Styles Karratha)
  • Hotel of the Year (winner: Mövenpick Hotel Wellington)
  • Business Unit of the Year (winner: Adelaide Qantas Lounges)

Two 2022 Bernaches Awards – Accor’s highest individual and team accolades – were also presented on the night to the team’s behind Accor Pacific’s Work Your Way talent attraction and retention initiative and Heartist 2022 projects.

During the glamourous evening event, the French Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Ambassador Jean-Pierre Thebault, also spoke about the powerful partnership between Australia and France and updated attendees on the 2024 Olympics in Paris. This was followed by a surprise performance by star of stage and television PAULINI – one of Australia’s finest vocalists who shot to fame on Australian Idol.

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