So the hotel industry is a really red
red red ocean. The competition is fierce: people try to outdo each other. The
industry is not very creative; the industry is very bland, and I think that
the best to prove that is that brands take down their name and logo and sell a
property to another brand. So from a brand proposition
nothing changes, it’s just a logo and the name. Hotel star classifications are
really five-star, and all the five-stars compete in a red ocean, all the four-stars compete in the red ocean, all the three-stars compete in a red ocean. We
knew immediately that, you know, comparing ourselves or or looking into the
industry…we needed to do something completely away and break out and really
create a blue ocean. The blue ocean thought that we created with that is: how about creating our own classification; how about taking from
five-star what is important for a frequent traveler; how about taking from
a four-star, from a three-star and combining it so that the price is right,
the location is triple-A and you feel comfortable and are serviced by great
ambassadors. When we travel, there’s a couple of things we want: we want an incredible king-size bed; we want a wonderful rain shower; we need to have a
safe; we need to have Wi-Fi; we need to have a certain comfort, and aesthetics are
important. Our rooms are efficient and small but they do have all the important
features and those at the highest luxury. Historically, we traveled to hotels also
to get inspired. We have created like we have at home living rooms and
comfortable settings. Guests first talk about the incredible architecture, about
the art, about everything they see. But in the end, it’s all about the ambassadors,
it’s all about personalized guest service that they receive. citizen M eliminated the front desk, the reception area altogether. Usually a big aggravator for people, you stand in
line to get in, you stand in line to get out. Instead we said, can we give control
to the guests? And we’ve done so through kiosks just like at an airport checking
in for your flight. It’s a quick in-and-out, controlled, and we’re
able to check people in on average including payment under three minutes.
citizen M eliminated restaurants because our locations are always triple-A
locations in the metropolises, in the major cities. People want to walk out and,
you know, choose their restaurant; they like to entertain, they want to go out. In
the hotel industry, you will find a doorman, a front desk clerk a reservation clerk,
housekeeping this, a restaurant… So there’s all kinds of different disciplines and
staff. We just have one staff: ambassadors. Our ambassadors really do everything.
They could host you as you check in; they could make an incredible barista-made cup of coffee for you, they could shake a cocktail for you at night. You never know
where they, are but they’re always with you and around you, and that gives them a sense of pride. And the great result is that really, because we have less
ambassadors or need less ambassadors, it’s about 50% of the staffing that a
regular hotel needs. We have been able to be very efficient in our construction
and bring the construction costs down. And with having more rooms because of
the size in the hotel, we’re able to share that with the guests. So if you
look at five-star pricing and our pricing, yeah we’re 30/40%
cheaper than the five-star hotel. citizen M opened in 2008 at the
Amsterdam Airport, Schiphol. We have now opened an 11 additional hotels ranging
from Taipei to New York, Paris, London. So we’re rolling out. We have constructions going on in Boston, in Washington, Miami, two projects in Los
Angeles, two projects in San Francisco and two projects in Seattle. citizenM
achieves incredible guest ratings. We are at par or at times better than five-star
properties. With the occupancies that we run in the low 90s on an annual basis
for the company, we generate quite some happy people. Our citizenM blue ocean
approach really has set us apart from the industry. We have eliminated what the
guests don’t want; we have increased what they’re looking for. Instead of competing
in the red ocean of the hotel industry, citizenM made a blue ocean shift. We
created affordable luxury; we created our own territory; and as such, we have five-star luxury at three-star prices in a completely new environment