AccorHotels is continuing to expand beyond its core business through the acquisition of the French concierge company John Paul.
The 4,000-strong global hotel group has announced that it has begun "exclusive negotiations" to buy 80% of John Paul for about $150m (£115m), with the remaining stake being kept by the founder, David Amsellem, who will remain as chief executive.
Founded in Paris in 2008 after Amsellem acquired SARl Concierge Service three years earlier, John Paul provides a bespoke service round the clock and works with leading global brands in the financial, car, travel, consumer, healthcare and luxury industries. It merged with Les Concierges in 2005 and today has a combined worldwide workforce of 1,000.
Sebastien Bazin, chairman and chief executive of AccorHotels, said that the acquisition of John Paul would enable the company to enhance the guest experience.
"Through this partnership with the world leader in the growing concierge market, AccorHotels positions itself as the best provider of multi-nature services to guests, supporting the whole customer journey, from non-hotel offers to 24/07 assistance through an integrated and innovative solution," he said.
Amsellem added that the focus of John Paul was to deliver the highest personalised service and that the acquisition by AccorHotels was "a game changer" for the industry.
"Now that we are the worldwide leader in premium loyalty solutions, we feel that we are at a tipping point in our venture and we need the empowerment of a strong leader to support the current traction," he said.
The acquisition of John Paul marks the latest step by AccorHotels to be involved in every sector of the travel business and in particular establish a strong digital presence.
In April the group acquired the luxury home rental business onefinestay for £117m, having two months earlier bought a 49% stake in Squarebreak, which offers private homes for rent in France, Spain and Morocco, alongside a 30% share of Oasis Collections, which has 1,500 properties in 18 destinations across Latin America, the US and Europe.
AccorHotels first took on its competitors head on through the opening up last year of its digital channels to independent hotels with the aim of signing up more than 10,000 properties worldwide, in a reaction against the increasing dominance of online travel agents.
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