Disruptors of the hotel scene, citizenM Hotels is changing the game with its tech-enabled hotels and dipping its toes into the metaverse. Chief Marketing Officer, Robin Chadha, tells us more
Writer: Phoebe Harper
We wanted to disrupt the traditional hotel industry by creating a luxury hybrid hotel for today’s modern travellers.”
Since 2008, citizenM Hotels (citizenM) has been shaking up the hospitality world with a new breed of hotel.
Designed to eliminate the shared frustrations of modern travellers, citizenM combines luxury with location centrality and affordability, offering a streamlined guest experience with tech at its core.
Currently, the citizenM footprint comprises a portfolio of 29 hotels in 18 cities around the world, with an average guest satisfaction score of nine out of 10 on booking.com.
Most recently, citizenM made headlines for becoming the first hospitality company in the world to pioneer a foray into the metaverse with the upcoming launch of a virtual hotel.
In April 2022, the chain announced plans to acquire a LAND site in The Sandbox - a virtual gaming platform where players can build, own, and monetise personalised experiences in the Ethereum blockchain.
“We are a brand that has always pushed the boundaries and challenged traditional models,” continues Chief Marketing Officer Robin Chadha. “As the first hospitality company in The Sandbox, the venture fits not only with our brand strategy but also the commitment we have to the creative community and to our guests both online and in the real world.”
For citizenM, the metaverse represents the culmination of a virtual dynamic that has been in evolution for years and one that is currently underserved by the hotel industry.
“Our goal with this initial venture into the space is to learn how hospitality needs to keep evolving, in order to better meet consumer behavioural shifts. It’s our responsibility to meet our guests where they are and continue to explore how citizenM can better serve their needs,” he adds.
GEARED TOWARDS THE GUEST
The ‘modern traveller’ is one defined by frequent travelling, often for business, seeking comfort and efficiency away from home. This is where citizenM’s incorporation of tech steps in as a key differentiator.
All citizenM guests benefit from speedy self-check-in, in-room controls provided by the award-winning app or MoodPad tablet, and free superfast WiFi.
Elsewhere, the spirit of connection is fostered in a more physical sense with inspiring living room spaces ideal for co-working, and on site eating with the 24/7 canteenM.
“Our tech efforts are entirely guest-centric and are always done with their experience in mind, adding to the creation of a seamless guest journey,” says Chadha.
With fast and intuitive technology placed at your fingertips, guests can use their individual MoodPad to turn lights on/off, operate mood lighting, adjust the room temperature, stream content to their TV, and control the blinds without having to step out of bed.
Meanwhile, the citizenM app offers the same services, alongside digital check-in/out, food and drink orders, and a chance to peruse a bespoke city guide for their location, including insider knowledge of the local art and culture scene alongside the best bars, restaurants and cafes.
A UNIFORM APPROACH
Despite its burgeoning global portfolio, citizenM stands out with the level of consistency found across its properties, thanks to its relatively rare status as an owner-operator chain.
“This means we have full control over the entire business, from securing a property to construction, design, branding and operations,” outlines Chadha.
“Over the years we have worked with the same partners, from Amsterdam-based architectural and design studio Concrete, to the furniture manufacturer Vitra, so that the hotels – although all slightly different – share the same quality and aesthetic that our guests value.”
Each hotel is assembled through an unparalleled modular construction process, whereby rooms are built off-site using prefabrication techniques and then transported to the property.
“We don’t have confusing room categories like suites, junior suites or twin rooms. Each room is identical across the whole portfolio, offering a huge comfortable bed, a powerful rain shower and quality linens.”
The room’s small, modular size is designed to naturally encourage guests to utilise the shared spaces, and of course get outside to explore their destination.
This human touch extends to citizenM’s unique hotel ambassadors, who are carefully recruited and enjoy a level of freedom beyond traditional hotel staff, meaning they are completely free to cater to the varying whims of each guest.
In 2023, citizenM is poised to roll out a selection of new hotels, with three due to launch in Paris (its fifth in the city), Miami World Center (its second), and in Austin, Texas, which will be a first.
With Rome, Dublin, Menlo Park and Boston all hotly tipped for new openings, watch this space.