15 minutes with Sarah Derry, CEO of Accor Pacific
Five years after joining Accor’s Pacific business, Sarah Derry, Senior Vice President – Talent and Culture, took over as Chief Executive Officer in February. Having successfully owned and operated his own business for over 10 years, Derry brings a wealth of experience as well as a unique understanding of Accor’s values and culture.
Here, she shares insight into the top travel trends that are on her radar and her plans to grow the business in 2022.
Congratulations on your recent appointment as CEO of Accor Pacific. What projects are you most excited to tackle in this new role?
We are entering a new chapter in tourism and have a bright future ahead of us. Above all, our teams and I look forward to welcoming guests back to our regions and cities. I am also excited to maximize the potential of our key partnerships, such as Accor Stadium, which will bring greater benefits to our loyal customers and support our partners.
What impact has owning and operating your own hospitality business had on you as a leader?
Running and growing my own business has been a formative part of my experience, I’ve been blessed to work with some great organizations and people. Being a business owner also helped me develop an entrepreneurial spirit and I realized that an essential part of any successful business is trust, loyalty, referrals and relationships.
You already contribute to organizations that make a difference to the wider community, in terms of education, well-being and social impact. How do you intend to shape CSR at Accor?
We will continue to support our local communities, teams, guests and partners to forge a long-term, sustainable future. We take our responsibilities to the environment very seriously and we each have a role to play in contributing to the community. From reviewing innovation around renewable energy to food waste to overhauling our supply chain, we are making positive change. We all need to work together as an industry. We don’t want to be competitive when it comes to sustainability and the future of the environment, and Accor recently signed up to the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance for that reason. We must learn together and from each other, inspire and challenge each other to make a difference.
How will Accor attract and retain new talent now that Australia’s international borders are open?
Now that the borders are open, we will see skilled workers and foreign students bringing their talents to Accor and this will complement our existing teams. Our company is built on an incredible culture we call “Heartist” – a culture with real purpose, which cares about guests, teams and partners and delivers meaningful and unforgettable experiences. We have created a number of innovative programs to attract new talent to our business, from same-day hiring to flexible working. I believe in meeting people where they are and supporting them on their career path.
What are the priorities/projects for Accor Pacific this year?
We will continue to execute a solid business strategy that will ensure the long-term success of our partners and our teams for decades to come.
This is an exciting industry in one of the best regions in the world and in the next few years we will have launched a variety of new high end and luxury brands with the debuts of Mondrian, 25hours and So/ in Australia .
What are the main travel trends that you intend to exploit this year at Accor?
It is great to see that international visitors are returning to our region and that our cities are once again opening up to arts, theater and sports experiences. People love to travel and bookings are accelerating. Accor has nearly 400 hotels, apartments and resorts across the Pacific and will benefit from global events such as the Grand Prix which will draw people to Melbourne. Enjoying our own backyard in the Pacific has been a key trend and it will continue; leisure destinations such as Queensland and Fiji are very popular with Australian holidaymakers.