Sofitel celebrates anniversary with brand refresh, new partnerships

Sofitel is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year with a brand refresh and a host of new partnerships. At the helm is Maud Bailly, CEO, Sofitel Legend, Sofitel, MGallery and Emblems at Accor, who’s guiding the brands with several new developments.

Hotel Business spoke with Bailly about what’s new for the brands and how she plans to propel them into the future.

“This anniversary is crucial as it allows us to honor our origins and look to the future,” she said, noting that Sofitel’s 118 properties worldwide will unite to offer unique and festive experiences.

“In our new organizational structure established in January 2023, we have embraced a brand-centric approach, where everything begins with the brands themselves,” the CEO said. “Unlike my previous role at Accor overseeing more than 40 brands across 1,900 hotels in Southern Europe, I now focus on four brands—Sofitel Legend, Sofitel, MGallery and Emblems—representing around 240 hotels. This shift is designed to create distinction in a crowded market, making it easier for customers, staff and owners to choose us.”

Bailly stressed the importance of developing this clear brand strategy, where her mandate is to define and highlight each brand’s unique identity.

“The goal is to foster aspiration, coherence and consistency—crucial elements for a luxury brand to fulfill its promises and achieve success,” she said. “Through extensive travel and discussions, we have worked on redefining each brand’s promise to ensure clarity and coherence, inspiration and consistency. This includes refreshing visual identities, brand platforms and new campaigns for MGallery and Sofitel.”

Additionally, the CEO noted, almost 20% of its network is currently undergoing renovations.
“We have also streamlined our portfolio by removing some hotels that no longer align with our criteria, while continuing to open new properties that meet our rigorous standards,” she added.

The new partnerships, Bailly said, blend the brand’s tradition with excellence and innovation. For example, its collaboration with Bernardaud, a renowned French Maison, will introduce votive lights to several of its hotels, adding a touch of elegance and refinement to guest experiences.

And, to celebrate its diamond jubilee, the brand partnered with Courbet, reflecting its commitment to ethical and sustainable luxury, offering guests an exclusive jewelry collection.

“These convictions struck a chord with Sofitel and rapidly united the two entities,” Bailly said.

“This partnership gave form to 18 new jewelry creations that each interpret the Sofitel symbol, the cultural link, in its own way: a delicate embrace of interlacing curves, creating an elegant symbol—a true emblem of the link that is woven between cultures all over the world. A logo that reflects the encounter of two cultures, two fields of expertise and two visions of excellence. At Sofitel, we advocate for hospitality that blends committed luxury, authenticity and French elegance.”

These collaborations extend beyond luxury items, the CEO said.

“By supporting Les Déterminés association, we are fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, particularly in disadvantaged areas, aligning with our dedication to social responsibility,” she said. “Since 2015, Les Déterminés Association has been fostering entrepreneurship in priority neighborhoods of 17 cities across France.”

The approach to grow Sofitel, MGallery and Emblems brands revolves around strategic expansion, meticulous curation and a commitment to delivering luxury experiences, Bailly said.

“Through thoughtful development and a focus on quality, we’re confident these brands will continue to thrive and exceed guest expectations in the years to come,” she added.

Luxury travel, the CEO said, is experiencing a robust resurgence right now, especially in emerging markets like Saudi Arabia, China and India.

“We have a pipeline of 30 hotels coming by 2027 for Sofitel,” Bailly said. “Discerning travelers now seek bespoke, plush and culturally immersive experiences. We are excited about this trend as it catalyzes the emergence of fresh hotel and tourism ventures. Anticipated demands are shifting towards personalized and immersive experiences, driving ongoing growth within the sector.”

The CEO is also seeing an increase in leisure travelers, surpassing those traveling for business.

“Hotels are observing a shift towards a larger leisure clientele, with a ratio of 65% leisure to 35% business, compared to the previous 50-50 balance,” Bailly said. “The surge in leisure travelers—notably multigenerational groups—is spurring the development of expansive spaces offering premium services, such as branded residences, apartments, villas and suite extensions. Furthermore, there’s a rising demand for comprehensive wellness experiences, exemplified by the introduction of The Purist Retreat & Spa, our new luxury holistic wellness brand, at the Cures Marines de Trouville in France.”

To see content in magazine format, click here.