CitizenM launches work from hotel subscription services

AMSTERDAM—CitizenM has launched two new subscription services to allow guests to work from its hotels anywhere around the globe—something it sees as the future of work.

The Corporate Subscription by CitizenM is a sleep/work/meet package for companies with remote workers who travel regularly; distributed teams who need to (or want to) gather on a semi-regular basis; and local individuals who need a better alternative to working from home.

For $600/month, one employee can work at any of the brand’s 21 hotels’ living rooms anytime they want, sleep for three nights (including a welcome drink and breakfast), use the meeting rooms, add more nights or meeting room hours at a 10% discount and entertain clients at CanteenM and CloudM rooftop bars.

“It doesn’t matter if you are going to travel to New York, Paris, Amsterdam or Seattle,” said Lennert de Jong, chief commercial officer, CitizenM. “It is one global monthly subscription and if you buy it for a year, you secure the price, of course, but you also get a month for free, so there is an incentive to book this further out. The way you really have to see this is further out. We looked at the pricing of a WeWork subscription. We looked at the pricing of hotel rooms and meeting rooms and we said, ‘For the price of what you pay for a half-day meeting room, for the price you normally pay for three hotel rooms, and the price that you pay for office space, you get all of it in one subscription.’”

The Global Passport by CitizenM is a fixed-rate stay option for “digital nomads who want to travel the world without missing a beat at work, with the ultimate flexibility of deciding on a month-by-month basis,” according to de Jong.

For $50/night when purchasing one full month, subscribers receive the ability to stay at any CitizenM property for 30 consecutive days and discounts on food and beverages. The price of a full month ($1,500) is less than a month’s rent for a central location in a city like London, New York, Amsterdam, Paris, etc., according to de Jong. There are no blackout dates, and the only requirement is a minimum of seven nights at any one location (and a maximum of 30 nights at one location).

The company came up with the subscriptions because there has been a shift in the way people work—even before the pandemic forced millions to work from home and not travel to their offices.

“What we believe in—and what we heard from the research that we have been doing as part of the subscription work—big, small, American, French, Dutch companies, it is all the same,” he said. “More people were already working from home than ever before and then everybody was forced to do everything from home.”

What will also make the subscriptions more useful is that—because many people having successfully transitioned to working remotely—they realize that they don’t need to live in major metropolitan areas to be near their jobs. “We believe that people will move out of the big cities a little bit more,” said de Jong. “Not all people will move out of the big cities, but some people will because they don’t have to come to work every day. Why would you pay $2,500/month for a small Manhattan apartment, if for the same amount of money, you can live on the coast a two or three-hour driving distance from New York? You wouldn’t do that if you were forced to commute to work every day, but perhaps you would if you only have to go to the city once or twice.”

CitizenM has also found that companies are downsizing their office space. “They will optimize the space, but they will require less space because people are using it less,” he said. “We’ve had conversations with companies that say they don’t need to go to the office, but they need to socially connect.

He continued, “They no longer need an office, but they need other things. What do they need? They need a roof under which they can have meetings, they can have a dinner, maybe stay over. That is why we have had a lot of feedback already for our subscription efforts. A lot of companies are saying, ‘Wow, this is really interesting and matches what we believe will be the new normal after this whole lockdown.”

De Jong said the company is focusing on the subscriptions really taking off during post-pandemic time period. “It is not that we expect to sign 1,000 corporate subscriptions next month,” he said. “We want to fill the pipeline and get interest. The positive aspect is that a lot of companies said that this is very innovative, and they will put it on the list.”

The subscriptions also make a lot of business sense for the company, according to de Jong. “One thing that is not a secret in the hotel industry is that contracts with corporations are worth exactly nothing,” he said. “If CitizenM does a contract with company A, company A gets a certain price, but do we get cash in advance? No. The price is based on a commitment that the company will put certain room nights into the city, but that commitment is never really hard.”

He continued, The only thing that the hotel company can say is if you don’t make these targets, your price will go up. With a subscription, we would be entertaining lower pricing than what the companies would normally attract, but we will take the cash in advance, so the commitment is hard. Also, the commitment is for longer, so what we really wanted to attack is the yearly RFP process, and get into a situation where we could put a customer lifetime value on any subscriber that we have on our data list.”                                   —Gregg Wallis