Accor helps you explore the real world again

With help from Neil Patrick Harris, the hospitality group is optimistic about tapping into a recent boom in vacation planning.


Accor is hoping to lure vacation planners to its hotels through the star of How I Met Your Mother.

In a new digital campaign for the hospitality group – which operates Fairmont Hotels and brands such as Novotel, MGallery and Swissôtel – Neil Patrick Harris is shown asking a fictional stage actor, Dietrich, for insights as to how to behave like a real person again as he emerges from lockdown. Harris gets tips on how he can properly re-enter polite society and be a “Real Neil” who can “embrace the world.”

Rodrigo Coelho, strategy director for Momentum Worldwide in Canada – which led the campaign, working in partnership with UM on the media – tells strategy that the campaign is based on insights that 65% of consumers are currently planning vacations. And while people are excited to start travelling again, they might end up experiencing messy interactions with the outside world after having been gone for so long.

“We wanted to inject fun and optimism,” he says, with the goal to have consumers identify with Harris. There’s a possibility that Harris will become a longer-term spokesperson, according to Coelho, as Accor seeks to drive greater brand awareness, especially in North America.

Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, Coelho says Accor’s marketing was aimed at business travellers, and now it’s shifted that audience target to include a broader 35 to 54 demo in key North American cities.

The company is also using Harris to help promote the relaunch of its Accor Live Limitless, a lifestyle loyalty program that provides travellers with exclusive offers. Accor began marketing the program last year, but with exclusive experiences no longer an option, it had to pivot to broader awareness and now it’s focusing on promoting those offers again as people renew their interest in vacations.

The campaign will run until early September and will include more digital content (with new videos released bi-weekly), as well as summer offers at some of Accor’s popular brands and hotels across North and Central America.