Meet Greet: Accor’s new brand delivers on sustainability

PARIS—Sustainability isn’t anything new for hotels. Sustainable bathroom products, sustainable lighting and even sustainable food sourcing are ubiquitous concepts. “Going green” and saving the planet one reusable towel at a time has proved to be much more than a trend, but more a way to stay.

Now, hotels are taking things further, and rather than replacing items and incorporating green programs, they’re creating brands based on sustainability itself: For example, there’s Greet.

As Accor’s 37th brand, Greet was created earlier this year, introducing a platform that revolves around sustainability and eco-conscious offerings.

“Nowadays, being sustainable is not a plus, it is mandatory,” said Joseph Hannouche, marketing manager, Greet. “Greet was created to address big expectations from our franchisees—who wanted a new brand in the economy segment that would allow them to have more flexibility, especially in terms of design—but also from our customers, who seek meaning in their purchases, relationships and way of living.”

The debut property, Greet Hotel Beaune, opened last April in France, a 52-room property that was renovated to meet the brand’s standards.

According to Hannouche, Greet has a target to open 300 hotels in the next 10 years, mainly in Europe. Planned openings include Marseille (St Charles & Airport), Lyon Perrache, Paris, Saint-Witz and Rennes. Greet’s first property outside of France is scheduled to open in Darmstadt, Germany, in the coming months, all set to promote sustainability through a “less is more” approach.

Incorporating eco-conscious design means that guests are surrounded by sustainability at every turn. Rooms include upcycled furniture sourced from flea markets, and furniture and decor sourced from garage sales, local designers and charity stores.

“For the French market, where the first hotel opened, we have a lot of partnerships with organizations such as Atelier Emmaus, Les ReCréateurs, Les Résilientes and Valdelia, which help the designers and the owners to source all the upcycled products. These partnerships are expanding, with the aim of building an efficient ‘second chance ecosystem,’” Hannouche said.

Every Greet property aims to build at the local level to help the surrounding economy. The brand will also give its owners the freedom to choose how and where these products are sourced, whether it be through secondhand networks, eco-conscious suppliers or by repurposing items for a second life.

“Travelers’ expectations have changed. Customers are now increasingly focused on hotel experiences that respect people and the world around them. It is therefore essential for the group to have meaningful brands that are in keeping with what’s important to both consumers and partners,” Hannouche said.

Giving owners freedom of expression is key for the brand, with the only guidelines being that each property must have a few Greet signatures, including its logo in the common areas, a large table for socialization and that 20% of rooms can accommodate between four to six people. 

Greet offers three room types: Pure rooms, with stripped-down design and essential furniture; the more spacious Pop rooms with energetic design and upcycled furniture; and the Family/Tribe room, which represents at least 20% of the capacity in every hotel.

“However, we do not necessarily want guests to be in their room all day long. We want them to spend time together, meet people and entertain themselves in the lobby, the most important area of the hotel,” Hannouche said.

Bringing people together is a distinction for the brand, he added.

“What makes Greet unique is that it offers a second chance to everything around us: people, places and things,” he said.

This includes hiring people who are not necessarily coming from the hospitality industry, but who are in reintegration or have disabilities; by rebranding independent hotels and giving them a second life; and through its upcycling and design approach.

“Greet is not just an economy brand; it is a state of mind,” Hannouche said. “The name reflects its unique identity within the Accor brand portfolio. Greet celebrates people and things by giving them a new lease on life.”

Greet’s public spaces also support inclusion, with The Social Hub as Greet’s central space, a children’s corner with vintage and secondhand games and a shared library for adults that encourages guests to take and leave books.

“Sharing and socializing are at the heart of Greet’s identity, symbolized by the space devoted to the living areas within its hotels,” Hannouche said.

Greet also includes a relaxation corner with a dedicated reading area, a hotel boutique with local items created by regional craftspeople and a “Greet bar” with local drinks and bites.

“In terms of F&B offerings, many hotels are embracing locally sourced items because it is what customers are looking for. However, we are taking this to the next level,” Hannouche said.

Greet works with what Hannouche calls “ultra-local producers,” coming from less than 30 miles away.

“At the first Greet hotel, Hotel Beaune, the cuisine in the restaurant draws inspiration from the region and offers guests a sharing menu and signature dishes where tasty, simple food and the Burgundy region are well showcased,” he said, pointing to coffee roasted by a producer from Dijon and red berry jams from Concoeur on the hills of Nuits-Saint-Georges, with breakfasts that inspire sharing. Dairy and meat products are also sourced locally.

“When staying at Greet, guests are encouraged to share moments and experiences, to refocus on meaningful essentials and to enjoy being and having fun together while shaking off formalities,” Hannouche said. HB