Recently I had the pleasure of spending the night at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam at a citizenM Hotel. It was my ninth night on the road and since it was a business trip over an American holiday, my wife, Emily, was along for the trip. We had two laptops, two iPads and two phones. Michael Levie, COO, is on the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals board and although I knew that they have won a list of design awards because of the room's small footprint, I was a little bit nervous about how the technology would work.
The room turned out to be amazing and more than what we needed for this stay. (Please note, that due to my desire to experience what any guest would experience, I did not notify citizenM that we were staying there.) My concern was the Internet, especially with all of our devices. Not only was it fast, it worked seamlessly throughout the building, bar and restaurant, and it was free! citizenM exceeded our expectations and literally, Emily walked around the room for the first five minutes saying, wow, wow and wow!
Nick Price, citizenM CIO and HFTP Technology Hall of Fame member, and his team have developed a system that has been dreamed of in the hospitality industry for at least 25 years. Price has used technology as a guest enabler and kept it invisible. It is incredibly simple on the front end. Any of our devices that we use at home or the office worked at the hotel, from watching movies streamed from an iPad to using the television as my laptop screen to catch up on my email. The tablet provided in the room worked instantaneously to close the curtains, change the lighting, set the alarm, and also provide information about the hotel. Regardless of the language you spoke, the system was so easy that it worked.
Other things that make the technology special from a back-of-the-house view is that the dependencies on interfaces between the hotel software that have structurally given our industry problems have been mitigated and stability has been returned to the systems. All of the service providers for citizenM communicate through one "service bus solution." Since date from the outside systems are being pumped through the same heart of the bus, real-time data can be used via a dashboard that allows the hotel to monitor areas that need attention before the guest even notices there is a problem. This technology allows citizenM to view, service and proactively make changes from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection to any of its individual hotel guestrooms, demand or distribution systems.
Finally, because of the uniqueness of this system, API to the bus is easy, and can open up new innovations and opportunities. The future is definitely bright for our industry with innovations like this coming on to the scene.
Due to space and time, I cannot share all of the neat things about this innovative technology. But if you'd like to talk bits and bytes, you can contact citizenM directly and executives will share their nonproprietary innovations.