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Published by:
INSEAD (2016)
Revision date:
25 pages
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The case focuses on AccorHotels' ambitious digital transformation, aiming to put the customer back at the center of its strategy and operations. Responding to a powerful wave of digital disruptions in the hospitality ecosystem, from the emergence of review websites, online travel agents and active forums to the rise of new competitors such as Airbnb, the transformation entailed: (1) designing and implementing an innovative content marketing strategy (including online content creation or co-creation, curation and dissemination) (2) incorporating e-reputation as a core business objective, and (3) creating and/or adapting organizational structures - from management to operations - to support this new dynamic and maximize value creation. The case starts in Fall 2015, when Olivier Arnoux, SVP Customer Satisfaction at AccorHotels, and his team, are asked to devise an ambitious plan to address the new challenges facing major players in the hotel industry brought about by digital disruptions. It follows the decision-making process step by step, from (1) understanding the nature and impact of online content in the customer journey, to (2) building a strategic plan to integrate online insights into AccorHotels' core business objectives (in particular the importance of e-reputation), (3) redefining where and how value is created, and creating incentive structures aligned with the new objectives. Participants have multiple opportunities to put themselves in the shoes of the protagonists so as to understand the logic behind the decisions taken. What is novel is the systematic articulation of how digital and social media impact the customer journey, as well as the integration of online content into marketing strategy (ie, content marketing) and organizational design (ie, team structure, incentive system), underlining how embracing the digital revolution entails breaking traditional silos between functions such as marketing, strategy, finance and human resources. Detailed information on the consumer, the ecosystem, the firm, marketing and financial indicators is provided. Teaching notes and accompanying PowerPoint presentations suggest appropriate classroom exercises and include supplemental material and databases for group exercises. Videos provide insight on what drove the digital transformation and vividly illustrate its implementation and initial impressive results. They include interviews with Emilie Couton (Vice President Digital Marketing Asia Pacific), a video-recorded session of Olivier Arnoux on the digital transformation at AccorHotels, as well as examples of content created or co-created by AccorHotels. A teaching note supplement with short recommendations for remote teaching of the case is available.

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education courses.


Digital transformation; Content marketing; Customer centricity; Hoteling & tourism; Social media marketing; Customer journey; Consumer experiences; Digital disruptions; e-Reputation; Reputation management; AccorHotels booking Airbnb; TripAdvisor; Online reviews; Social media listening; Digital organizational integration


The events covered by this item took place in 2015-2016.

Geographical setting


Featured company

Company name:
Leisure, travel and tourism

Featured protagonist

  • Olivier Arnoux (male), SVP Customer Satisfaction

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