France: SNCF and AccorHotels sign strategic partnership
SNCF Group, owner of the iconic “Orient Express” brand,will collaborate with AccorHotels to develop the Orient Express within the luxury hospitality sector.
As part of the agreement AccorHotels will acquire a 50% stake in the share capital of Orient Express, until now fully-owned by SNCF.
AccorHotels will use the partnership to strengthen its identity in the luxury sector. It will develop a new collection of prestigious hotels under the Orient Express banner. This collection will aim to offer a unique experience based in history that combines the luxury and sophistication of the Orient Express brand in iconic locations.
Sébastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO of AccorHotels, said: “We are delighted with this strategic partnership, which today cements the alliance of two major French players in the world of travel for a shared purpose, that of giving fresh impetus and international standing to an historic and world-renowned brand. Thanks to this partnership, our customers will be able to enjoy a prestigious range of services and exceptional experiences based on a portfolio of luxury brands.”
The train itself will remain the physical property of SNCF. It will be operated by Orient Express for private journeys and events. They will provide a setting for events to be held in collaboration with AccorHotels.
Guillaume de Saint Lager, Corporate Secretary of Orient Express, said: “In its time, the Orient Express took the art of traveling to its peak. This ambitious project, which is unique, cannot come to fruition without the complementary skills of our two shareholders. We are proud and particularly look forward to being involved in writing this new chapter with such strong backing. Our ambition is to recreate this experience and make the Orient Express the gold standard in luxury travel and hospitality.”