Accor aims to bolster its presence in the midscale hotel sector with the launch of a new soft brand, Handwritten Collection.
Hotels in the Handwritten Collection will be "an expression of the personalities of the host," rich in personal touches and stylish design elements, said Caroline Benard, Accor's global senior vice president for economy and midscale brands.
"What makes Handwritten Collection distinctive from other collections is really this concept of a host's personal touch," added Nadege Dumont, Accor's global vice president for midscale brands. "It fosters human and meaningful connection, igniting conversation between the host, staff and the guest."
Guests at Handwritten Collection hotels will be greeted by what Dumont describes as a signature "welcome gesture," which will vary by hotel.
For example, at Le Saint Gervais Hotel & Spa in Saint Gervais, France -- which is one of the first independent hotels joining the Handwritten Collection this month -- guests will be greeted upon arrival with a traditional Turkish cologne hand-washing ritual, which pays homage to the property owner's years spent living in Türkiye.
The hotel's bar will serve Turkish specialties, like Turkish coffee and Turkish delight, while a dedicated Turkish food section will be offered during breakfast.
Other key brand elements will revolve around high-quality bedding and bathroom amenities and access to 24-hour food and beverage offerings, with a hotel bar, room service and breakfast service also a requirement.
In addition to the Le Saint Gervais Hotel & Spa, other properties joining Handwritten Collection are Hotel Shanghai Sheshan in China, Wonil Hotel Perth in Australia, Hotel Morris in Sydney, and Le Splendid Hotel Lac d'Annecy in Annecy, France.
Additional hotels in Toulouse, La Roche-sur-Yon and Paris, France; Tallinn, Estonia; Hoi An, Vietnam; Bucharest, Romania; and Madrid are also slated to join.
Accor said it plans to expand the Handwritten Collection to more than 250 hotels by 2030.
According to Camil Yazbeck, Accor's chief development officer for premium, midscale and economy brands, the launch of Handwritten Collection comes as "collection brands," also known as soft brands, emerge as one of the industry's "highest-growth hotel categories."
"They are designed for independent hotels," said Yazbeck. "Seventy percent of hotels, on average, are unbranded, and there are three times more signing collection brands than classic brands in the past two years."
Handwritten Collection will be Accor's third soft brand, joining MGallery (upper upscale) and the recently launched Emblems Collection (luxury).
On the chain scale, Handwritten Collection will sit alongside Accor's Novotel, Mercure and Adagio flags at the midscale level.