Case Study: citizenM HotelsHow The Trendiest Hotel In The World Managestheir Online Reputation with ReviewPro! Case Study: citizenM Hotels, June 2011!
About citizenMThe citizenM concept began with the stay. “Our guests just want a good bed, a CitizenM Hotels opened its ﬁrst Amsterdamobservation that over the past few years, a good shower, and then they spend most of Schiphol property with 230 rooms in 2008,new type of traveler has emerged.! their time out in the city or in our hotelsʼ followed by citizenM Amsterdam City 215! social spaces,” said Michael. This focus on rooms in 2009 and citizenM Glasgow 198 public social spaces plays a key role in the rooms in 2010, and has plans to open 20“The traveler of today travels in jeans, acheap t-shirt, an expensive watch, drinks way the brand develops social media additional properties throughout Europe inchampagne, and takes public transport” – content, and is a topic we will explore in their ﬁrst phase of expansion.!Michael Levie! detail later.! ! !! !Michael Levie, Chief Operating Ofﬁcer at An innovative building system (hotels arecitizenM, said this during a recent keynote constructed from pre-fabricated modules) inpresentation at an EyeForTravel offsite unit factories allows the company toconference. According to Michael, citizenM consistently maintain high quality standards while accelerating the building process.was created with “a blank slate” along withthe founder of Mexx clothing brand, Rattan Headquartered in Voorschoten, TheChadha. Starting with no prior constraints Netherlands, citizenMʼs founders includeenabled the founders to design a hotel professionals from both the hospitality andconcept that was revolutionary from the fashion industry. With an experienced management team, citizenM is preparingground up.! itself for a rapid European expansion. !! !CitizenM Hotels aims to provide a new typeof hotel experience for a new type of ! ! !traveler: guests that may not want to stay intheir rooms for the entire duration of their ! Case Study: citizenM Hotels, June 2011! 1!
New concept, new communications strategyIn keeping with their innovative product content. Voted “The Trendiest Hotel in the The partner agency that produces thisdesign, citizenM relies on the latest World” by TripAdvisor two years in a row – digital magazine has strong network oftechnology and digital communications to 2010 and 2011 – the team at citizenM is writers, which serves as a resource forgrow their business. “We are very known for adopting cutting-edge creating each issue.!dependent on online feedback and technologies and operational practices. These contributing writers are nottechnology for driving reservations,” says “Since weʼre a lifestyle hotel we have a lot compensated ﬁnancially, but workingcitizenMʼs Social Media and Internet of material to work with. There is a diverse together provides mutual beneﬁts. TheStrategist, Diego Sartori. “Fast, free WiFi range of content we can create and share.” writers get valuable exposure with a global,attracts an always-connected crowd, and Instead of just passively waiting for social trendsetting audience. CitizenM receivesour guests carry their iPads and iPhones media users to build content, the citizenM interesting material to use in producing theireverywhere.”! team proactively reaches out to bloggers, magazine. Unlike publications from some! writers, and other social media inﬂuencers. hospitality companies, this magazine does “We invite bloggers to our hotels that share not focus exclusively on travel, but follows aBut regardless of how innovative a hotelconcept is, hotel marketers around the the same lifestyle. And then we ask these different subject theme for each issue.! people to share something that representsworld face a similar problem: developing To ensure a consistent voice in the content the lifestyle of our brand.”!information for social media publishing.! created by multiple authors, citizenM has“The biggest challenge we face is content ! created a style guide that encourages acreation,” shared Diego. “How can we While many hotels use a blog to anchor very informal, international style. Eachcontinue to keep relevant information their social media presence, citizenM took a contributor to citizenM publications hascoming in, and share this with everyone in different approach. “Instead of having a either stayed at the property or is veryour social network?”! blog, we created a digital magazine to share familiar with the citizenM concept & lifestyle, brand information and curate lifestyle making their work a natural ﬁt with the other! content for everyone.” ! pieces of content.!The citizenM brand has a few advantagesover other hotels when creating online ! ! Case Study: citizenM Hotels, June 2011! 2!
Publishing interesting informationThis natural approach is one of the bestpractices we can learn from citizenM. Whentheir team was in the beginning stages ofsetting up their social media presence, theyaimed to post something every two or threedays on Facebook. But they found that theiraudience did not interact well with that.Now, they only post something when theyhave something relevant and valuable toshare. “If itʼs just about posting for the sakeof posting, we donʼt share anything.”""In their experience, Twitter is a fastercommunications channel, which allowsthem to share more information. Not onlypromotions, but real-time information,advice, and support. While Diego managesmost of the Twitter brand activity, other teammembers can step in if needed to provide adifferent voice or perspective.! Case Study: citizenM Hotels, June 2011! 3!
Involving guests in creating contentBesides working with writers, citizenMʼs goal for Facebook isnʼt necessarily todigital communications strategy also generate room sales, but to increase ourinvolves guests. “We always try to brand visibility and encourage word ofincentivize our guests to share their mouth,” said Diego. This natural approachexperience online: to write or blog or share works much better with their clientele thancontent about us. People only share online trying to be too pushy in asking for onlineif they have a terrible experience or if they content contributions.!have a very good experience. If itʼs just !ʻokay,ʼ they see no value in sharing withanyone. But our rooms are very innovativeand our concept is very different. We try toalways exceed expectations creating aWOW factor that gets guests talking.”!!The unique citizenM design concept andservice-oriented social media presenceorganically encourages people to talk aboutthe brand online. CitizenM intentionallydeveloped an environment of social spaceswithin their hotels to spontaneouslyencourage conversations.!“Whenever we have the opportunity, wecasually bring up our social mediapresence. We encourage guests to sharephotos of the hotel with their followers. Our Case Study: citizenM Hotels, June 2011! 4!
Encouraging guests to leave online reviewsEncouraging more online guest reviews is a The guest invoice is sent automatically bychallenge for many hotels, but citizenM email, providing one more touchpoint anduses a system that works very well with opportunity to ask for a review. Thistheir clientele. Each of their three properties followup reminder signiﬁcantly increases thereceives many more guest reviews than the reviews received, since many travelersaverage hotel.! forget to post a review immediately after the! stay.!The company has developed a !standardized procedure for use during the According to Diego Sartori, citizenMʼscheckout process. Like many hotels, Social Media and Internet Strategist, thecitizenM staff, called Ambassadors, ask number of the reviews is a result ofguests how they enjoyed their stay as they everything else. “You have to deliver goodare checking out. If there was any issue, service and create clear expectations ofdirect communication with a manager is what people can expect. This is whatencouraged for prompt resolution. But if the encourages more reviews. We get peopleperson had a good experience, they are saying, ʻI usually donʼt write a review, butasked to share their thoughts on my stay at citizenM was so special becauseTripAdvisor.! you did this speciﬁc thing that made me! think WOW.ʼ So thatʼs why we always try to! set the right expectations, deliver excellent service and then surprise guests with! something unique.”!! !!! Case Study: citizenM Hotels, June 2011! 5!
How citizenM responds to online reviews“We donʼt respond every single review” said Since the citizenM concept is soDiego. “If a guest wants to communicate revolutionary, it is inevitable that sometimeswith you, they will contact you directly.” Atguests arrive that immediately dislike thethe same time, if something is posted that isdesign. Perhaps they might think the roomnegative or that requires explanation, the is too small. Or since the hotel does notcitizenM team makes sure to respond and offer room service, a guest that wants thistell their side of the story. “If someone may complain when they cannot get it. “Wecomplains that something doesnʼt work – respond and say we created a speciﬁc hotelalarm, WiFi, etc – it is important to concept that is not for everyone. We arerecognize that, apologize, and give an honest with what we offer. Other people willexplanation for what happened. ! read about our amenities and say, ʻWow –! this is really special!ʼ”!Just as things break in your own house, !things will break at a hotel, even though we What ultimately happens is that these onlinework hard to prevent from happening.” reviews act as a self-selecting mechanismEffective reputation management requires that, in the end, only attracts guests that arean understanding of this reality, and the interested in the brandʼs concept. Peopleknowledge of how to respond in a who are looking for a traditional hotel or withsatisfactory manner.! full-service may read reviews and decide! citizenM isnʼt for them, but it would be good! for someone they know. “It happens that many guests who do not choose us still end! up ultimately referring our hotels to others.”!! !! Case Study: citizenM Hotels, June 2011! 6!
Involving staff in online reputation managementAn effective reputation management Each team brieﬁng is used to raise Perhaps the most remarkable indicator thatprogram includes doing everything possible awareness of their online reputation. citizenM takes online reputation seriously isto encourage guests to leave positive “Whenever we get speciﬁc feedback, we that reputation scoring affects employeereviews, but it also involves creating an discuss it at our team brieﬁngs – both the pay. A percentage of the salary citizenMinternal culture of reputation management.! negative and positive – so everyone is hotel staff receive is tied to guest! always aware of it.”! satisfaction. The way an organizationBuilding awareness about reputation ! conﬁgures its compensation schememanagement with everyone in the reﬂects what is important to them, and itʼs CitizenM goes a step further. Right now, theorganization is an essential part of a company is planning to use the Global clear citizenM is making online reputation a top priority.!reputation program. CitizenM takes some Review Indextm (GRI) from ReviewPro tounique approaches to achieve this. It begins run an internal competition among their !with posting printed copies of ReviewPro three hotels. “We try to keep the GRI abovereputation reports in the staff break room.! 90% at all times. So this new program will! be like a game among the staff at our! properties: who can deliver the best service?” Constant innovation is a critical! component of citizenM, and these internal! competitions will help them continuously! improve.!! !! !! !! !! ! Case Study: citizenM Hotels, June 2011! 7!
Why citizenM chose ReviewProWhen citizenM began their social marketing Thatʼs the reason we started working withprogram, it quickly became clear that they ReviewPro. Itʼs a great product that offersneeded a tool to track, monitor and manage exactly what we need, and has sometheir reputation online. Reports were helpful features like social media tracking,originally created manually, but this task assignments, and so on.”!approach was far too time consuming (and !this was with only two properties). With big “!expansion plans ahead, another solutionwas needed.!! ReviewPro wasWhen citizenMʼs Social Media and InternetStrategist, Diego Sartori, started at the head the tool that ﬁtofﬁce, the management team asked him todo some research on which solution would our needs best:be best to manage this whole process.! it is the most!“I started looking for tools, and came across complete andReviewPro among others,” Diego recalls. “Ihad demonstrations from many different has showntools, and ReviewPro was the one that ﬁtour needs best: it is the most complete and more reliabilityhas shown more reliability than the others. !! than the others. !! Case Study: citizenM Hotels, June 2011! 8!
Why citizenM chose ReviewPro (continued) “!ReviewProʼs search and reporting desk in the room – and how guests wantedfunctionality is especially important to the to have one there. “The newly open hotel in For any elementcitizenM management team. Semantic Glasgow came with the working desk andanalysis reporting provides insights that just a few weeks ago, we modiﬁed all rooms of our hotel, I caneach of their departments can use. Forexample, if guests are having issues with in Amsterdam to include one.”! type the keyword !the showers, the team works with the The results! into ReviewPromaintenance staff to prevent similarcomplaints from happening in the future.! ! The approach citizenM uses to create search, and see“For any element of our hotel, I can type thekeyword into ReviewPro search, and see all compelling social media content and all the things improve their online reputation through thethe things guests say about it. Before Iʼdhave to spend several hours to go through participation of people inside and outside of guests say about their organization has yielded impressiveeverything – and even then it was notcomplete.”! results. ! it. Before Iʼd have !! ! to spend severalSemantic analysis of feedback across Over the past year, the number of activereview sites is also used for product and engaged Facebook fans has increased hours to go by nearly four times. Twitter followers havedevelopment and improvement. A recentexample is the room at the properties in doubled in the past three months. And on through review sites like TripAdvisor, citizenM hotelsAmsterdam, originally built without proper typically appear near the top of rankings for everything – andworking desk. (“We wanted guests to makefull use of the living rooms downstairs and each local market.! even then it wasnetwork with other guests.”) But reviews !were often pointing out the lack of a working not complete.! Case Study: citizenM Hotels, June 2011! 9!
Whats next?See how ReviewPro can help you !! ! !! ! !ReviewPro enables hoteliers to efﬁciently ! Keep learning! ReviewPro monitors whataggregate, organize and manage their ! is changing in the world of onlineonline reputation and presence in leading ! reputation management and passes alongsocial media sites. ReviewPro provides practical ways to use that in hospitality.!the analysis, customer intelligence, ! !competitive benchmarking and reporting ! Read the blog for more articles andneeded to help hotel professionals more ! reports like this: effectively manage their organization.! ! http://reviewpro.com/blog! ! ! !! ! Follow us on Twitter for daily ideas and! Get a demo of ReviewPro today ! tips:!! ! http://twitter.com/ReviewPro!! ! !! ! !! ! !! ! !! ! !! ! ! ! Case Study: citizenM Hotels, June 2011! 10!