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Travel Leaders: Renae Trimble, CEO Asia Pacific, Accor Plus

There’s a belief that our careers need to have an upward trajectory. But Accor Plus CEO Asia Pacific Renae Trimble reminds us of the importance of moving laterally, of seizing opportunities and embracing lessons from unexpected sources. Her story, much like the industry she serves, is dynamic, inspiring, and deeply rooted in passion.

There’s a belief that our careers need to have an upward trajectory. But Accor Plus CEO Asia Pacific Renae Trimble reminds us of the importance of moving laterally, of seizing opportunities and embracing lessons from unexpected sources. Her story, much like the industry she serves, is dynamic, inspiring, and deeply rooted in passion.

Renae’s career began as a tele sales consultant with Newmans Holidays, selling campervan holidays around New Zealand. She later transitioned to Southern World Vacations working on group travel and general admin. 

And then one day it hit her. 

“I don’t think I chose hotels; hotels chose me,” she tells Karryon.

A woman had come in to do a hotel presentation to the consultants at Southern World Vacations. 

“It looked so glamorous, this salesperson travelling around, talking about all these wonderful hotels and bringing everyone morning tea… How could you not like that person?”

This led to her first hotel sales executive role at Gazebo Hotels, where a memorable interview with the late property developer Syd Fischer set the stage for her future in sales.

“Syd put a brick on the table and asked me for ten different ways to sell the brick. And that was my interview. 

“I think I got to about eight. It was a bit intimidating and nerve-wracking, but I got through it and I’ve been in hotels ever since.

Renae Trimble, Accor Plus

Embracing lateral moves

Renae’s approach to her career has been marked by a willingness to take on new challenges and a belief in the value of lateral moves. 

“I was never afraid to take a sideways step,” she explains. 

“There’s a lot of pressure to get to the next title or salary band. 

“I got to where I am because I was willing to take opportunities, even if they put me outside my comfort zone. I never felt pressure to keep moving up; I just wanted to learn more. I’ve been with Accor for 16 years and have had eight different opportunities. It was never about titles for me; it was about learning and delivering.”

This mindset enabled her to gather a diverse set of skills across sales, operations, and marketing, ultimately leading her to the role of Chief Commercial Officer for Accor and now CEO of Accor Plus, Asia Pacific. 

Renae Trimble, Accor Plus

Hiring and the importance of real flexibility

Unlike Syd Fischer, Renae doesn’t use a brick when hiring new team members.

“Today, I look for attitude. You can teach people how to sell, but passion and the right attitude are essential. You need a relationship-oriented personality from a sales perspective. If you find that in people, you can teach them everything else.”

Her leadership style is equally adaptive and responsive to the changing work environment post-COVID.

“You have to meet people where they’re at,” she says.

“We’ve proven largely that you can trust people to work flexibly. It’s pretty easy to determine who’s working and who’s not. But today you have to be flexible to get the best people and get the best out of people. They just may give it differently from the traditional nine to five. 

“If you have trust and open communication it works. And it works because you’ve created an environment in which people enjoy what they’re doing. I don’t think there’s any silver bullet in it.

“And it changes. It’s not going to be a set and forget. We’re going to have to constantly evolve our workforce and the way that we work.”

Renae Trimble, Accor Plus
Renae in her element presenting

Valuing connection, a gift (among many) from her mum

Renae grew up in a small town on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. Her mother, a single parent and fashion boutique owner, instilled in Renae a strong work ethic and a deep appreciation for customer relationships. 

“I certainly have my work ethic from my mom,” Renae reflects. 

“She ran a business for almost 50 years, which is no mean feat. She has huge empathy and loves her customers, loves helping women feel fabulous and confident. I love that she does that.

“One of the greatest strengths I got from her is the ability to connect with people. Connecting with humans is probably the single biggest gift we all have. Many of our partnerships have come from casual conversations. And passion fuels a lot of it.”

Renae Trimble, Accor Plus
Renae with her biggest supporters and inspirations: her mum, nan (who sadly just passed earlier this year), and her sister

Despite the demands of her role, Renae remains connected to her customers, often responding to them directly to stay attuned to their experiences. This commitment to maintaining a personal touch is a nod to her mother’s example and a cornerstone of her leadership philosophy.

Renae also cherishes the community within Accor Plus. “We do a lot of events that bring our members together, creating a community. The feedback we get, whether good or bad, shows our members’ passion for our hotels and the program.”

Renae’s journey underscores the importance of passion, flexibility, and continuous learning. Her willingness to embrace opportunities, even those that didn’t lead directly up the corporate ladder, has been key to her success. Inspired by her mother’s resilience and dedication, she continues to lead with empathy and a focus on building meaningful connections. Through her story, Renae Trimble exemplifies the limitless possibilities within the hotel industry and the power of seizing every opportunity to grow and learn.

Accor Plus is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year. Since its inception in 1994, it has gone on to become Asia Pacific’s most recognised and valued loyalty platforms offering behind the scenes access to incredible events, discounted dining benefits, complimentary stays and money-can’t-buy experiences.