IHIF Interview: Michael Levie, COO, CitizenM

Michael Levie and Rattan Chadha founded CitizenM in 2005, and since then the brand has planted 12 hotels in some of the largest markets in the world. If you ask Levie, he’ll tell you that CitizenM appeals to the global traveler, and there may be something to that. The interest the company has generated is such that former Starwood CEO Frits van Paasschen signed on with CitizenM’s advisory board last year.

For Levie, every little detail of the hospitality business matters. That's why his hotels use modular construction techniques to speed up development while micromanaging every facet of development. It's also why, when we sat down with him at IHIF in Berlin, he was eager to talk about hiring, staffing strategies and how his company approaches metropolitan development. Above all, he said CitizenM’s focus on one brand, one strategy has been an asset that some hotel companies have let slip from their fingers.  

“It’s heavy lifting to do one brand real well, and I think ‘brand’ is being used in a broad sense by many,” he said.”

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