citizenM Facebook Page
Last week, hotel chain citizenM used Facebook to recruit test sleepers for their new Bankside Hotel in London - a few of us from the office got involved and took part, including me!
The initial process was simple - users were alerted to a free night in a hotel in return for giving their feedback via the citizenM Facebook page. Things didn't get off to a great start as the Facebook application was not working properly, but after some perseverance I managed to get through and book my place! Users were given the option of a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night to try out the hotel.
Three days before I was due to check in, citizenM sent me an email giving me some practical information about my upcoming stay. Despite not being particularly designed, I really liked the email they sent - it was really easy to understand and information was presented in a clear and concise way.
Upon arrival, we were met by very friendly staff who talked us through the really simple and easy check-in process. Essentially it's all self service - you answer some questions on a touch screen, create your own key card and you're done! We were also handed drinks tickets for the night and were told that there was 50% off all food and drink for the evening for us test sleepers. Check in was very easy and took less than 5 minutes (including all the questions) - so far so good!
Once I'd checked in, I headed straight for the room. citizenM is a brand based around the idea of affordable luxury, and this was certainly the case with the room. There was a ridiculously huge kind size bed, an incredible rain shower, a wall to wall window, free wi-fi and the MoodPad (more about that shortly). There were also some great personal touches with 'citizenM says: Welcome Citizen Matt' on both the TV and the MoodPad.
Nice personal touch
One of the main selling points that citizenM like to talk about is their touch screen MoodPad. These feature in each room, and are Samsung tablets which allow you to control various elements within the room including the TV, window blinds, the coloured lighting, and temperature - all based around the idea of creating a bespoke room experience suited to your mood and needs.
Often in hotels you're looking for various things like light switches, remote controls and temperature controls. It's a little gimmicky, but the MoodPad is a really practical use of technology to help the user.
I used to mood pad to set the wake up call for the morning (I chose gentle) which resulted in various lights slowly coming on one at a time in the morning whilst the TV started to play the sound of table tennis gently to wake me up. Again, somewhat gimmicky but I loved it!
The mood lighting for my wake up call
Checking out was as simple as checking in - all done via the touch screen. I settled my bill and was on my way. I was instantly sent an email summarising my stay, and the tone was as friendly and fun as it was before - see below for a screenshot of the email. I was asked to fill out a short survey online about my stay (which took about 4 minutes) and I was done!
citizenM have managed to create a really great through the line experience for their customers. The thought that had gone in to the experience design was obvious, and there was consistency throughout with the look, feel and tone of the brand evident at each touch point - even through to the staff and their mannerisms.
citizenM have clearly thought about differentiating themselves from the competition as well as making full use of technology in how their customers interact with them. They have a great Facebook community with regular updates and content, they use emerging technology with the MoodPads and self service check in points in the hotels.
More brands should be taking this approach, ensuring consistency across their messaging on and offline and ensuring the user experience is as good as it possibly can be. Have you seen any great examples of brands offering great user experiences through the line? Let us know in the comments section below.