“We will modify the room on a case by case basis”

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© Nicko Guihal
The Parisian hall of the AccorHotels Arena is reinventing itself for the post-Covid period. It unveils a new logo and draws lessons from the health crisis.


The Parisian hall of the AccorHotels Arena (Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy) is preparing for the post-Covid. Nicolas Dupeux, Managing Director, draws lessons from this health crisis. “The major impact is in millions of euros,” he says. However, the legendary enclosure is reinventing itself for the future: electronic ticketing, room modulation on a case-by-case basis, new name and new logo. And as a symbol of a revival, the AccordHotel Arena will host a major concert by France Télévisions on the occasion of the Fête de la Musique on June 21.

Also read: “Let us all commit to the #ScèneFrançaise”, the call of 142 artists and actors from the cultural world

Like all venues, the AccorHotels Arena has been impacted by the crisis. What initial assessment do you make?

The major impact is in millions of euros. We were the first to interrupt our programming, from the beginning of March. And the shock is deep. But we are learning from this crisis: it forces us to reinvent our businesses of tomorrow. Particularly on the digital part whose transformation we are accelerating. Examples: ticket scanning, contactless, electronic ticketing, on-site service or virtual queues… We are thus gaining three years on the plan already in place.

We are on an economic model of deferrals

The ban on gatherings of more than 5,000 people until August 31 remains a constraint that is difficult to overcome …

We are thinking of scenarios to allow a gradual resumption of activity. Beyond the sanitary protocols, it is a question of recomposing the room, of modulating it on a case by case basis, even if physical distancing is not often compatible with elation. But the sector has to revive. From the start of the confinement, we made a behind-the-scenes capture of the group Tryo the day it was to occur in concert. And on June 21, we will be hosting the France Télévisions Music Festival, with a very nice set: 25 to 30 artists from the new scene and others like Vianney and Patrick Bruel. This evening entitled “All together for music” is intended to symbolize support for concert halls and festivals.

You had programmed Mr. Pokora, Kiss, Aerosmith in June, Alicia Keys and Lenny Kravitz in July: is this programming obsolete?

Over the period, around forty events were impacted. But all the concerts planned will be carried over to the next seasons. There will be no cancellation. We are on an economic model of deferrals.

Also read: How culture has reinvented itself since the start of the coronavirus epidemic

Do you have more visibility for the future?

We met, Thursday, alongside officials of large Parisian theaters, the Minister of Culture, Franck Riester. Three points were addressed: support mechanisms since the start of the crisis; the conditions for the resumption and the accompanying measures which will have to be extended. But above all, the recovery schedule. The Minister assured us that he was pleading for a restart from June 1, with reasonable spectator gauges. It is a strong sign which makes it possible to envisage a revival of the machine. There remains the date of August 31: a crucial question. This industry needs not only visibility – deciding on an event or concert on a given date presupposes the establishment of ticketing and logistics – but also by this horizon, gauges of spectators who are more than 5,000 people. The survival of the sector depends on it. We forget that this industry was hit very hard five years ago with the attacks. We have learned a lot from these events by putting in place proven security measures. Reassure customers and change behavior: we know how to do it. It’s part of our DNA.



The AccorHotels Arena becomes the Accor Arena and changes its logo. (DR)


© Renaud Revel (DR)
The AccorHotels Arena becomes the Accor Arena and changes its logo. (DR)

The AccorHotels Arena becomes the Accor Arena: what does this mean for you?

This performance hall has thirty-five years of history and this change of name is an opportunity for us to assert a new identity, through a more ambitious brand platform that we are installing this Monday. One of the key words is “benevolence”. One of the big questions that concerns us is how we will take care of our spectators tomorrow.

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