Michael Levie, COO, CitizenM Hotels
Michael Levie will take part in Executive Roundtable: The New Hotel Power in Europe at Phocuswright Europe.
Ahead of the event, he discusses the importance of data, what it means to be a mobile traveler and more.
What topic should we be discussing right now, and why?
For hotels to be relevant in the distribution game, they should have their tech deck in order, understand data and learn.
If you could change one thing about how the travel industry functions, what would it be?
Eliminate (more) friction for travelers.
What is the biggest opportunity in online travel in 2018?
Data, data and data... What we have to realize, however, is that not many companies have clean and useable data, or a tech deck allowing them to get to their data and use it effectively. Those organizations that have this well covered will win.
What single piece of advice would you give a new business entering the travel industry?
Like starting in any industry, offer a differentiated product, believe in your proposition and use learnings of those that already exist in the industry.
CitizenM is known for appealing to “mobile citizens” - how are today’s traveler's growing even more mobile?
They say the world is getting smaller and smaller - not sure that is the case. But speed and efficiency sure make it feel that way. Mobile citizens as such are able to multitask and make more for the most relevant commodity: "time."
Design has always been a hallmark of your hotels. What do you make of Airbnb - a design-focused brand - entering the hotel space?
Airbnb offers a wide variety of places to stay, not sure that "design-focused' is their unique selling point. It is a contemporary relatively new way of overnight stay, and the huge inventory increase around the world has its effect on demand spread.
It is affecting the hotel industry performance, however not directly every hotel's performance.
How is CitizenM incorporating in-room technology?
Once hotels were inspiring and offered more than we would have in our homes. That has long changed... CitizenM offers in-room technology that brings back that original feeling. From an iPad: the room is operated, window treatments open and close, the temperature is controlled, there's mood lightning, music, TV, movies and more.
In addition, CitizenM offers the fastest internet one could ever expect, obviously free of charge. All this technology, however, is just an enabler and enriches the functionality and experience.