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Topic(s): Customer Centricity Employee Engagement CX & Business Strategy

CitizenM - a New Kind of Hotel Experience

How to better kick-off a customer centricity tour, than in a hotel that claims to be totally different. The rebel of hotels. CitizenM. Our tour has already finished, and now I'm sharing with you how it started :)

And yes, the story is impressive. Founded from the idea that a hotel experience should be designed around guest needs. What an idea ;-)

A shift from hotel to guest point of view

They first stripped down current hotel experiences. They figured out what the top frustrations and irritations are when traveling. The list put a smile on my face, because yes - really annoying things on that list:

  • Long check-in / check-out lines
  • Hidden costs (minibar, movies, ...)
  • No water pressure in the showers
  • Confusing multiple room types

Hotel concept upside down

They looked close and hard to today's and tomorrow's traveler. Their behaviours, their wishes, they really made a great effort to truly understand them. Then took the list of frustrations into account and designed a hotel experience around it. Some of the ideas they integrated really put things upside down.

  1. Free movies! At first I thought, yeah so? Who watches movies? And hello Netflix? But then I experienced it myself, it's a private netflix, operated from the room iPad. And you can choose an ambient to go along with it. Awesome! Tap the 'movie' mode and the whole room adjusts, colour schemes, lighting, blinds. With one touch on a screen, the room becomes an inviting private cinema.


hello customer blog citizen m


  • Space, loads of space downstairs. Even in areas where each m² needs to make money, like New York. They created cosy spaces, like living rooms. They want to get people out of their rooms and connecting with each other. There is no back-office, no large reception area. A central bar that is open 24/7, inviting you to join, have conversation and a drink. A central area where you can meet, relax, work. 

Technology at the heart of CX

I have never seen more technology used in a hotel that adds so much efficiency and fun. It starts when you first walk in. A few take aways:

  • Check-in: no check-in desks with receptionists that are a tad arrogant. You are greeted by a CitizenM ambassador, and you are free to check yourself in via the touch screens. In 2 minutes you are good to go! And the coolest part is that now I have my own keycard, that I can use whenever I go to a CItizenM. It's like having a key to the place. And what higher feeling of home is there, than having a key? 




  • Room iPads: each room is equiped with an iPad, which is gives you full control of the room. You can control the lights, the temperature, choose movies. The craziest part for me, is that they can save my preferences for next time. If I like a chilled room, they can assign me a room next time that is already chill.


hello customer blog citizen m


About Citizens and Ambassadors

Guests at citizenM are citizens, employees are their ambassadors. CitizenM operates from a flat organisational structure. Their employees are completely wrapped in the CitizenM culture, and are passionate about their customers.

This starts at the recruitment process. They don't have job interviews, they organise happenings. They make people do workshops and work together, and from those days they recruit new ambassadors.

New ambassadors receive training to be a great barista, to be a great cocktail shaker, but mostly they are trained in how to interact with customers. They learn what they can do to be the hero of the day.

CitizenM is succesfully a new hotel experience because it combines this extreme customer focus, a great internal culture and the technology-layer as the finishing touch.