CitizenM to Enter German Market

BERLIN—Dutch hotel and lifestyle brand CitizenM has entered into a collaboration with German project developer GBI to find prime locations for the brand’s entry into the German hotel market.

The focus for CitizenM’s expansion in Germany will be on four cities: Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Berlin, where the brand plans to open several hotels in each city. GBI and CitizenM will search for suitable properties and plots of land for the brand to acquire, and then develop turnkey CitizenM hotels together.

With its owner-operator model—delivering a high profitability per square meter—lean operational cost structure, and a robust tech-forward approach, CitizenM reports that it has been expanding its global portfolio smoothly and continuously across Europe, North America and Asia in prime locations. In March 2019, CitizenM welcomed its third investor, GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, raising the value of the company to €2 billion ($2.35 billion). GIC joins CitizenM’s two other investors, KRC Capital (the private investment vehicle) and APG (the Dutch Pension Fund). Together, they have committed to invest €750 million ($879.8 million) of new equity for future hotel developments.

“It had been clear for some time that Germany, as Europe’s strongest economic country and a sought-after travel destination, would be one of our next targets,” said Klaas van Lookeren Campagne, CEO at CitizenM, “but we needed the right partner and consultant for our expansion. We are delighted to have found this with GBI.”

In the spring of 2020, the GBI Group of Companies was named Germany’s largest project developer of hotels by Bulwiengesa, a major independent real-estate consulting company in continental Europe.

“For GBI, the new mandate is a perfect addition to its development activities,” said Reiner Nittka, CEO of GBI Holding AG. “In terms of brand positioning and location requirements, this is an ideal fit. Now we can supplement further locations with exactly the right brand.”

According to the company, the building specifications and requirements for high-quality furnishings have already been tailored to the German environment. Now a final check can be carried out directly on behalf of CitizenM to determine whether hotels can be developed at the chosen locations in accordance with the standards of the brand.