Why citizenM leans toward subscription model

Last week, citizenM launched a membership program, mycitizenM+, which for US$12 a month allows consumers to enjoy the benefits of a loyalty program without having to collect points or achieve levels of membership.

The membership will guarantee an additional 10% discount on the lowest public rate anytime and a room will be guaranteed, even during busy periods for reservations made at least 48 hours in advance. Other perks include free late check-out, free upgrade to a premium view room, first in queue chat service, early access to discounts and members-only events.

citizenM stated that the cost of the membership, especially when used in high-demand destinations like London and New York, will be recouped within two nights.

To learn more, HOTELS reached out to citizen Chief Digital & Customer Experience Officer Casper Overbeek:

HOTELS: Why did citizenM launch this campaign and what are the goals?

Casper Overbeek: We live in a subscription economy. For most consumers subscription means unlimited access instantly. We want to onboard this trend and find the best fit within hospitality.

Through extensive research and listening we identified the biggest pain points among our target audience. These turned out to be around availability and price security.

That is why we modeled the subscription around a 10% extra discount always, and a room guaranteed on 48-hours’ notice.

In addition, we often heard the wish for personalized service – a digital concierge, so to speak.

Since this fits so well with our brand values, which are all around genuine care, we decided to include this as well, by adding the superuser service and late checkout.

Our objective was to make the membership as straightforward and clear as possible. Everyone should understand it at first glance – it should feel like a great deal that you don’t want to leave on the table.

Our goal is to build a new kind of relationship with our customers and ultimately to change the way people ‘buy hotel rooms.’ We want to build loyalty without thresholds or schemes: what you see is what you get.

This is all driven by the notice that customer value drives business value and the other way around. citizenM+ is just a start; we will continue iterating this model, and we expect many additions to come.

Our plan is to consistently improve the value proposition, similar to Amazon Prime. We believe that as a lifestyle brand, we have the potential to have more frequent touchpoints with our members.

The living room at citizen Downtown Los Angeles

H: What are the expectations from a revenue, affinity and brand development perspective?

CO: First results and feedback show we are on a good track on the above assumptions. We have already seen a strong pickup with minimal marketing efforts, which goes to show that our guests understand the value proposition.

It also perfectly fits the post-pandemic eagerness to get out and travel again. To date, we see equal interest from business and leisure guests.

While the feedback is very positive, of course there are always things to improve to a product so new, but we are encouraged by the energy and enthusiasm so far.

We believe over the long term, our members will reward us by coming back more often and greater lifetime value. We will use 2022 to fine tune our commercial goals and expectations.

H: Is this a global rollout?

CO: Yes. As an owner-operator, citizenM always implements new products or updates chainwide at the same time.

We consider it a key asset that we are able to make a global promise to our customer. Again, what you see is what you get – no grayed-out disclaimers hidden somewhere.

This is already quite unique to the industry, and on top of that, our centralized infrastructure also allows us to respond super quickly to emerging needs. We can make improvements with a click of a button.

H: Can you elaborate on your investment in time and money?

CO: citizenM has been developing mycitizenM+ for some time. We needed to build the product but also the customer data architecture that supports it. In 2020, we piloted a number of subscription products, including global passport and corporate subscription. The trials revealed an appetite in the market and valuable insights that served as guideposts for mycitizenM+.

H: Can you elaborate on add-ons coming?

CO: Future add-ons are in development to completely customize the membership for every type of traveler: global explorers, self-employed professionals, corporate networkers, and more.

The add-ons are intended to address the varying needs of our guests – short- and long-term stays, business and leisure travel. It is our intention to broaden the membership for small- and medium-sized businesses as well.

We want to offer valuable, attractive options for all types of travel. And we will not forget about the softer elements, as well. citizenM is about convenience and value for money but also about fun, love and care.

1 comment