In today’s increasingly competitive branded residential market, Accor is banking on the idea that investment partners and home buyers want to align with hotel brands that offer turnkey support at every phase, from planning and design to sales and operations.
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Hotel-branded residences demonstrated extraordinary resilience during the pandemic, appealing to buyers seeking exclusive private homes and the convenience of living in a fully serviced property with best-in-class amenities. According to a Savills report, the branded residential market has seen a 230 percent increase over the past 10 years, adding more than 50,000 units.
As demand for privacy and escape continues to grow, many hotel brands are expanding their presence in this competitive market. In January 2023, Accor launched Accor One Living, a new platform that supports the development, design, and operation of mixed-use projects that more often than not feature branded residences.
SkiftX recently caught up with Jeff Tisdall, chief business officer or Accor One Living and global head of mixed-use for Accor, to learn how the Group’s approach to the branded residential space has changed since we last spoke at the end of 2021 and how the platform is ushering in a new chapter for Accor’s mix of luxury, lifestyle, and premium branded residences.
SkiftX: How has Accor’s approach to branded residences evolved over the last two years?
Jeff Tisdall: We’ve been managing private residences and supporting our partners in developing branded residential communities for over two decades. Fairmont, a pioneer in the category, helped get us get started, and today we are developing and operating branded residences under 25 Accor brands, so we have a lot of momentum as we head into 2024.
Accor One Living is the outcome of this decades-long journey. The platform provides turnkey, 360-degree support to our development partners across each phase in the life cycle of mixed-use projects. This support begins in the planning and design stage to help ensure residential services, amenities, and facilities address buyer needs. It also includes collaboration with partners to properly structure projects from a legal perspective. Sales and marketing support is provided until the project is sold out. We also assist partners in their efforts to convey powerful brand stories and provide ongoing support for years to come as operators of the extraordinary communities we brand.
The essence of this evolution is that Accor One Living has pulled the specialized expertise required to support each of those phases together within a single integrated team, which ensures both clarity and seamlessness throughout the entire process. That way we can operationally deliver on expectations set in the design and development phase and carry that clarity forward into the sales and marketing story.
SkiftX: Is this integration a point of differentiation? How does Accor’s branded residential offering stand apart from the competition?
Tisdall: Yes, the single integrated team we have assembled within the Accor One Living platform definitely sets us apart. Development partners have responded very favorably, and they value our ability to deliver relevant expertise, services, and continuity of leadership across the entire lifespan of residential projects. The same team that supports the planning and marketing phases safeguards assets post-handover for years to come during the operating phase.
A second point of differentiation is that we leverage our experience in the shared services model, which is so integral to branded residence success, to support other product categories such as extended-stay hotels, co-working solutions, private clubs, and, in the future, golf management.
SkiftX: How is Accor One Living leveraging Ennismore’s lifestyle brands, while still maintaining momentum with Accor’s more traditional luxury brands?
Tisdall: The lifestyle category has undoubtedly been a driver of our branded residence growth story over the last several years, representing more than 30 percent of our recent branded residence signings. Accor’s leadership in the lifestyle segment, which is represented through Ennismore, is part of what sets us apart.
SLS Hotels & Residences, which sits under Ennismore, has the largest residential pipeline when it comes to our lifestyle brands, as observed in markets like Dubai, where a standalone project on The Palm was exceptionally well received and fully reserved within weeks of its sales launch earlier this year.
In addition, we recently announced another Ennismore project in Dubai, the first standalone branded residence by 25hours Hotels. Located within view of the Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai, 25hours Heimat will offer eclectic design and a range of distinctive amenities — including a padel tennis court, mini-golf course, screening room, podcast studio, sky lounge, and outdoor kitchens — appealing to buyers that may not have connected in the past with more traditional branded residence offerings.
For the Mondrian brand, we’re excited about a number of upcoming projects, including the 2025 opening of Mondrian Residences Gold Coast in Burleigh Heads, Australia, and Mondrian Tulum Hotel & Residences in Mexico’s Riviera, which will be launching soon.
The support we extend to our lifestyle branded residence communities mirrors the approach taken with our other premium and luxury brands. In each case, the formula for success is quite similar. It starts with an understanding of how target buyers are likely to use their home, building solutions to match those needs, and then mapping out how the key dimensions of the brand can bring those features to life in a way that is meaningful for homeowners.
For example, with the SLS project on The Palm, we’re going the extra mile in terms of planning to ensure a true SLS experience, given the absence of a co-located hotel. Integral to that solution is a private club concept called SLS Social House which also features a food and beverage element. Residents and owners will be able to invite friends and family members to experience the club, its private dining concept, fitness and screening rooms, and other exclusive facilities.
In both cases, strong collaboration with development partners and brand leaders is crucial to getting it right.
SkiftX: How do you see the market for lifestyle vs. luxury evolving in this space?
Tisdall: There will always be a strong market for classic and ultra-luxury brands, as we saw with the incredible response to Raffles Residences in Boston and The OWO Residences by Raffles in London, which both opened earlier this year.
That said, brand preference and resonance are deeply personal and varied. If you think about the market for home buyers, it’s as differentiated and varied as it is for any consumer product. When we look at the Ennismore brands, for example, we see an opportunity to develop and customize private residences for new sets of buyer demographics and psychographics. It is an exciting time for developers, brands, and homeowners alike.
Lifestyle brands like SLS have helped us significantly expand the market for branded residences. If you think about the breadth and scope of our brand offering, it’s becoming very difficult to imagine a market segment for which we don’t have a private residence solution. These buyers appreciate design-led brands that prioritize community, social animation, and innovative food and beverage experiences — and they seek out brands that emphasize these elements.
SkiftX: What do you mean by social animation?
Tisdall: By social animation we mean programming. Our partners deliver the physical product — stunning apartments and villas, exceptional private amenities and facilities for homeowners — but as an operator, it is our role to cultivate animation and community to ensure this investment delivers on its full potential.
For example, in a resort location, we might organize regular mountain bike excursions. Or consider a screening room, which isn’t purely a venue for watching a film as it can also serve as an intimate setting in which homeowners can hear from artists, authors, and thought leaders. In an urban market, animation may take the form of fitness classes, or a recurring farmer’s market. At The OWO Residences by Raffles in London, we partner with Berry Brothers and Rudd to provide cellaring and sommelier services.
None of this happens by accident — and yet it is all critical to delivering on the potential and vision of branded residence projects. As a leading operator, we take our responsibility in this regard very seriously.
SkiftX: What is your long-term vision for Accor One Living?
Tisdall: We’ll continue delivering on the Accor One Living promise to provide a turnkey platform for our investment partners as well as the branded homeowner communities we serve.
Looking ahead, the platform puts us in a stronger position to mobilize support and resources for innovations — new technology, new services, new concepts, and even new brands — so we have an incredible opportunity to evolve over the coming years.
In terms of owner benefits, we already offer an elevated status within our loyalty program, affording owners VIP treatment everywhere they travel within the Accor ecosystem. We see an opportunity to take that to the next level, enhance those benefits, and further build out our private homeowner exchange offering.
And even with as much growth and excitement as we’ve experienced over the last 20 years, I think Accor and the industry as a whole are just scratching the surface of what can be done in the branded residential space.
Learn more about Accor’s branded residence opportunities.
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