From using a footfall counter for influencing revenue decisions to analyzing climate control systems to finding the perfect temperature, CitizenM is using different types of tech to track data points that better the customer journey.
NASHVILLE, Tennessee—CitizenM’s ultimate goal is to improve guest satisfaction, and the company is doing so by tracking specific data points to tweak hotel processes to create a seamless stay experience.
The company was formed 11 years ago in Amsterdam and currently has 18 hotels open with 22 under development. Its properties welcome 1 million guests per year, which makes guest satisfaction a top priority.
During the “Data-driven hotel” session at the 2019 Hotel Data Conference, Thijs Brugman, business intelligence at CitizenM, said when his company decided to start measuring different types of data at its hotels, it was important to map out relevant data and account for potential data gaps.
CitizenM found the best way to track relevant data was by focusing on individuals’ behavior rather than the behavior of large groups.
“Really try to find the data points that are connecting to one individual, and I think this is the most difficult part because you have so many different systems that you have across all of your hotels, and that really means you need to work with one unique identifier to really make sure that across all these different systems, you can actually trace that individual to really understand that person across the customer journey,” Brugman said.
Once hoteliers can understand each individual, they can connect the dots, he said.
“When it comes to all the different data points that you have, you want to make sure you understand the relation between the different data points, and you want to understand to what extent guests experienced a happy flow, so they didn’t have any friction or any issue in your hotels,” he said.
Today, CitizenM tracks data from three main areas: the online journey, public spaces and in-room. Here’s a look at what data is measured and how the company uses it to improve guest satisfaction.
The online journey
Data from the online journey consists of looking at how guests behave on the website, how much time they are spending on each page and if they are looking at multiple properties in a city or one specific property in that city, Brugman said.
CitizenM can then see how guests experience and interact with its website to make improvements, he said.
In the public areas, guests check themselves in and out using kiosks, “meaning everything they do is being registered,” Brugman said. The check-in process takes one minute while check out takes 30 seconds, and the hotel can see if these processes went well or if there were issues, he said.
This allows CitizenM to optimize check-in and check-out processes by tweaking systems to make sure there are fewer issues. Brugman added that about 98% of check-ins are “flawless without any issues.”
The company also uses a type of footfall technology at some of its hotels to analyze how many people are in a certain area of a hotel at different times of the day. The technology counts the number of people walking across the area, and is currently used in spaces such as CloudM bars. In one case, a CloudM bar at a property looked at how many people walked through the area at different hours of the day for 20 days to find its busy periods and slower periods.
The technology isn’t perfect because it doesn’t count specific individuals, Brugman said. For example, if one person leaves four times to use the bathroom and comes back, it counts that person four times, he said.
While the technology isn’t perfect, having an idea of slower and busier periods helps with revenue-management decisions, he said.
CitizenM is testing out this method because it doesn’t always make sense to only track revenue on a per-room basis because some areas of the hotel, such as CloudM bars, are open to the public. It makes sense to look at “simply the amount of people in our hotels,” Brugman said.
An iPad installed at the center of each CitizenM guestroom allows guests to control everything in-room from the temperature to the lights to opening and closing the blinds.
The company can then track data points of individuals using the iPad during their stay to make tweaks to improve the experience.
One example of this is a recently opened CitizenM hotel that was having issues with the room temperature, Brugman said. Data from the tablet showed that guests were turning down the room temperature more often than not, so the company used that information to tweak software and optimize the hotel’s HVAC system to bring the set temperature in the room closer to the desired temperature.