Sébastien Bazin (pictured), chief executive and chairman of Accor, has urged hotel brands to be "honest, authentic and transparent" and stand "shoulder to shoulder" with hotel owners.
In the opening keynote for today's In Sync webinar, Bazin said Accor's relationship with hotel owners was "stronger than ever".
He said: "This is a time when they need somebody to talk to, somebody to learn from... Don't fly away from those relationships if you don't have the answer.
"We've learned from them and I hope they've been learning from us."
Accor has a portfolio of 5,000 hotels and residences across 110 destinations. Bazin said the most common questions he had been fielding from owners were assessing when properties would be able to break even, how much they will need to reopen and new health and safety measures, as well as help accessing financial support.
He emphasised that Accor is "not a bank" and, while in many cases hotels got the help they needed from local authorities, on a few occasions the group has deferred fees.
The group announced this morning that it has signed an agreement with a consortium of five banks for a new €560m (£499m) Revolving Credit Facility (RCF) and was seeing "signs of initial recovery".
Although Bazin said the month of March was "apocalyptic", he foresees pick-up from May or June and sees "light at the end of the tunnel" in China.
He also said now is the time to be cautious, prudent and stand still, and that the 220,000 members of staff Accor has furloughed are his biggest priority. He said: "I need each of them back with me and I need them back as quickly as possible… Whatever I can do to get them back, the sooner the better."
He added that he ‘did not buy' the idea that hospitality will be contactless and technology-driven in the future: "if they do come out of their own home they've accepted that level of risk… they want to meet and have fun".
You need to create an account to read this article. It's free and only requires a few basic details.
Already subscribed? Log In