citizenM – Nailing User Experience On & Offline

Every business has the same goal, to create walking advocates for their brand, product or service. This may be an indirect result for some, and a concerted effort for others. When it comes to citizenM, they seem to have nailed the genre.

Last year, my wife stayed at one with a friend, and whenever the subject of hotels comes up in conversation, she invariably brings up citizenM. So, when it came to our recent trip to Amsterdam, this was, of course, our first port of call.

‘A new kind of hotel’ – A website to draw you in

When you go to citizenM’s website, this is the strapline you’re met with. Balancing order and chaos is always a tricky mix but the video on the website is inspirational and shows the locations in all their glory.

One of the company’s USPs is their XL-sized beds and once you scroll down that’s what you get to see, along with money off if you join and become a citizen.

If you’re not ready to commit to citizenM yet, their one-minute check-in/out and free wifi might just be the final push you need. The homepage is finished off with the Twitter feed and social proof of reviews.

citizenm homepage

Branding and Tone of Voice – Converging online and offline

citizenM continually make reference to their ‘mobile citizens’, and the diversity of said citizens on the website shows that the hotel is what many would call a progressive modern business. The beauty of it though is how it works for business travellers and the common ‘tourist’.

So, how does it work offline?

First off, check in does literally take a minute but you’re not left alone with this. An ‘ambassador’ comes over to check everything is OK and whether you need anything to get settled in the hotel or the city.

The downstairs area is open, vibrant and airy, making it the perfect place to have business meetings and catch-ups. But the real beauty is that it’s also a place to relax for people using the hotel as a base to explore the cities in which they’re located.

Being a youthful brand at heart comes into view with the copy on the citizenM website and guides. Capital letters aren’t used in the main, while the written copy is relaxed and informal with a bit of cheekiness.

Listening to the user

People have different opinions as to what constitutes a must-have when it comes to staying at a hotel. A comfy bed is almost always top and that’s ticked by the XL bed; the rain showers make for a great experience and the minimalist style of the rooms makes them all the more relaxing – particularly with the smart tech to control almost everything in the room.

A couple of things that are often standard – irons and tea/coffee making facilities – are absent but there’s a reason for this. An ironing room is set up for each guest to use and the idea is that in a more immersive environment, tea and coffee should be drunk while relaxing downstairs.

user experience citizenm hotel room

Returning guests

When everything from finding out about the hotels to planning your visit is simple online, things begin to look optimistic offline. Upon arrival, the rapid check-in, alongside the opportunity to speak to an ambassador and immediately relax, does nothing but further this optimism and excitement.

The vibe of the locations puts you at ease and it’s plain to see why the downstairs areas are so often filled with people.

Of course, it won’t be for everyone but with a philosophy of being the chain of choice for the modern-day traveller, citizenM is designed with a global audience in mind. I’ll be back, and will recommend it to anyone who wants to listen.

Hotels are changing and while I may be late to the party, citizenM is a true disruptor in the space.


Jonathan Bell
Head of Marketing
Knapton Wright