Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Free hotel rooms

Trend changes after free flights and car rental, now hotel giant joins giveaway of free hotel rooms...

One of the world's biggest hotel chains has joined the ground breaking campaign to help Britain's small firms boost exports.

The BA offer equates to 5,000 free return flights for companies that will first be vetted by the Government's UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) organisation. Accor will match this with 5,000 free rooms at its hotels.

Mr Fontaine said: 'It is with great pleasure that we back this outstanding initiative and offer 5,000 free nights to match those earning 5,000 free British Airways flights.

'This initiative is in line with our longstanding commitment to small businesses for whom we offer a free-to-join scheme, called Accor Away On Business.'

The offer from BA was inspired by the Daily Mail's Fair Deal for Small Firms campaign, which has fought for the Government, banks and big business to provide support for this key sector.

The Accor Hotels group - whose brands include Novotel and Ibis - has pledged to provide 5,000 free rooms worth £500,000 to UK businessmen chasing overseas orders.

The announcement follows the Daily Mail's decision to support a British Airways initiative to offer £15million in free flights to small and medium-size businesses to help them pursue export orders.

Yesterday we revealed car hire firm Avis has agreed to provide 1,500 free rentals to companies who meet the qualifying criteria.

Now Accor, which has more than 4,000 hotels in almost 100 countries, is throwing its weight behind the initiative.

Head of sales, marketing and distribution, Frederic Fontaine, said: 'We are wholehearted supporters of this campaign.

'Small businesses are the beating heart of the British economy and it's absolutely right that their importance and value is recognised and supported.'

Small and medium-sized enterprises are uniquely well placed to help pull Britain out of recession.

Together, these 4.7million businesses provide 22.7million jobs - 58 per of the total - and generate just over half the country's commercial takings.

The fall in the value of the pound has provided a silver lining to the storm clouds circling the UK economy as it makes British products cheaper and more attractive to overseas consumers.

However, the nation's entrepreneurs have difficulty tapping into potentially lucrative markets from the U.S. to Europe and the Far East because of the cost of reaching buyers.

The package of free flights, car hire and now hotel rooms will provide a lifeline to these small firms as they travel the globe to trade fairs and face-to-face meetings with clients in a bid to find more business.

Last night the Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, congratulated all those involved in the initiative to help small and medium-size companies.

He said: 'The dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit of small and medium-size enterprises is key to the UK's continued economic recovery and vital for Britain's future prosperity. In order to help UK businesses break into new markets UK Trade & Investment, British Airways and others will work together to help British businesses reach their full potential and take those important first steps abroad.

'This package, announced and supported by the Daily Mail, brings together Government and business to help our small and medium-size enterprises search for new opportunities overseas.'

Accor Hotels is in the process of finalising terms and conditions of the proposal with UKTI and BritishAmerican Business, which is also backing the campaign.