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Accor to Open First Fully Digital Hotel in Northern Europe

The digital eco-system will include features such as online and mobile check in, in hotel payment, the ‘Accor Key’ – a digital key solution, digital F&B services and guest relations via Whatsapp throughout the stay.
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Accor announced the technological integration of its first fully digital hotel. Accor’s philosophy and ambition is to offer a full suite of digital technologies to make guests feel welcome, while improving the guest and employee experience. At Accor, we are using our best asset, our people, to reinvent how we approach customer service and we’re using the latest technology to enable this.

Ibis Styles London Gloucester Road is the first Accor hotel in Northern Europe to provide a fully digital experience with contactless solutions at each step of the guests’ stay. The hotel will provide an experience that is quick, safe and easy, with contactless solutions that rethink the guest journey from arrival to departure. The digital eco-system will include features such as online and mobile check in, in hotel payment, the ‘Accor Key’ – a digital key solution, digital F&B services and guest relations via Whatsapp throughout the stay.

The innovative adaptation of the experience at the London hotel is the first step in an ambitious roll-out plan which will impact at least 50% of hotels across all brand segments in North & Central America in the next five years.

“We know that guests increasingly seek contact-light travel and hotel experience that is easy to use, and we want to ensure they can do just that,” said Carla Milovanov, SVP Customer Technology Services, Accor. “This is not about robots or faceless technology, this is about the smart integration of innovative, customer-facing technology at pace and at scale. Technology is part of our daily lives and is now fully part of our hotel experience – and with this important step, we give our guests the opportunity to adapt their hotel stay according to their preferences.”

Check-in will be made easier for the guest with a full tailor-made contactless online check-in experience. Any guest, including those with indirect bookings, can choose to self check-in from their smartphone, tablet or laptop. Accor has also extended its existing Fast Check-Out (FCO) functionality to all guests, allowing them to check-out via their smartphone and a PDF invoice will be sent to their email.

Accor’s proprietary mobile technology, FOLS, enables hotel teams to greet guests with ease, removing the need for check-in desks and enabling employees to interact with guests directly. The introduction of FOLS Mobile gave the hotel teams the freedom to engage personally with guests whilst using their mobile operating system to manage their day-to-day tasks. Since the launch of this technology in 2018 guest satisfaction and employee engagement at hotels has increased, reflecting the business’ long-held belief that business is best when it uses technology to empower staff, not to replace them.

ibis Styles London Gloucester Road will have digital keys where guests can open their room door via smartphone making access quick, safe and easy. Each guest will be provided with an ‘Accor Key’ that will allow room access, entry to meeting rooms and floor access from lifts. The hotel led the UK in a global pilot scheme for this technology. Accor has announced the global roll-out of “Accor Key” and an objective to equip 20,000 doors in 2021 and all new hotel openings from this summer. This development shows the group’s ambition to innovate and invest in high-quality technological solutions to deliver the very best and most convenient experience for its guests.

Hotel guests will be able to make online payments for their stay through a quick and secure payment experience by Pay By Link. Guest only need to sign in once and they can then pay for expenses throughout their stay. Accor's Click Pay Collect technology also enables guests to order food and drink from the hotel's digital menu using just their phones. Fully integrated with Accor's hotel systems, expenses can either be paid up front or charged to the room and paid on check-out.

Enhancing the guest experience further, Accor has successfully integrated Whatsapp into the in-hotel customer journey, enabling guests to liaise directly with hotel teams before and during their stay, making pre-arrival requests and helping to facilitate their needs during the stay.

Luc Gesvret, SVP Loyalty, Partnership & Guest Relations at Accor Northern Europe, added: “Technology is an intrinsically important part of our business, but only where it enhances the ability of hotel teams to provide great service and create memorable experiences, which, at the end of the day, is what really matters. Our everyday lived are augmented by technology and today that continues in our hotels. We want to enable guests to get what they want in our hotels in the way that most conveniently fits with their everyday behaviour. We know that in this changing world, our guests want more safety and opportunity to maintain social distancing, so having technology at their fingertips that they can own and manage, comes at a perfect time. It is a technology that has our guests at the heart of it.”

Cristina Cavaco, General Manager at ibis Styles London Gloucester Rd, said: “It is fantastic to be the first hotel in Northern Europe to become a truly digital hotel. These days, more than ever, technology is a reassurance for guests and hotel teams, enabling safe interaction and transaction and a better overall guest experience. When we reopen after UK lockdown our guests will be able to check-in remotely before they even arrive at the hotel; access the lift and their room with Accor Key on their mobile phone; order a meal remotely from their room and chat to my team via WhatsApp to make any special requests they may need.”

She added: “Accor Key is intuitive for our guests – it is easy, fast and safe to use. From an operational perspective the transition and installation of the technology been easy. The impact of the new technology is already being felt by the team who are excited to be freed up to offer a more personal and interactive service to our guests.”

Situated in a prime London location in the heart of Kensington, ibis Styles London Gloucester Road features stylish en-suite rooms with free Wi-Fi, a lobby bar and a spacious dining room. The hotel is located just 200 yards from Gloucester Road Underground Station, 550 yards from both the Natural History Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum, and Harrods is a 20-minute walk away.

For more information, watch this video:



  • ibis Styles London Gloucester Rd will reopen following the end of UK lockdown restrictions
  • Accor Key will be delivered through a partnership with STAYmyway.
  • Accor’s F&B Order and Pay functionality is delivered in partnership with London based hospitality software provider Bizzon
  • FOLS is Accor’s proprietary technology developed to enable greater interaction between hotel staff and guests. The people-centric mobile technology makes employees less static and increases interaction with guests and teams, using technology to empower staff and enable greater customer experience.
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