Key messages
– Since we assessed citizenM’s social web performance in 2012, much has changed – but not all for the better.
– Like Coca-Cola, citizenM is discovering how hard it is to move from a broadcasting, to an engagement model where dialogue rules supreme.
– We present some data from the DrKPI Social Media Audit Toolkit.

CLICK on IMAGE - Corporate Blogs are more than just PR or marketing tools.

Keywords:  data analysis, cost-benefit analysis, social hospitality, ROI, social media audit, value proposition, return on investment.

Social hospitality is all about making people feel welcome and part of a community. And of course, word-of-mouth has always worked, but it has little if anything to do with technology, and everything to do with relationships.

Remember the shop owner or more likely manager that talked to you last time you went to buy your groceries? Hotel staff that last asked you if everything was okay? Often, it is just lip service and has little to do with really caring. For instance, two days after check-out, I completed a customer survey I was requested to fill out via email. The email below was my answer:

From: Hotel Berlin
Subject: Ihr Aufenthalt im Hotel Berlin, Berlin

(Your stay at Hotel Berlin, Berlin)
Date: 14 May 2014 14:37:11 GMT+2
To: Urs
Sehr geehrter Herr Gattiker,

(Dear Mr Gattiker)
wir hoffen, Sie hatten eine angenehme und gute Heimreise nach Zürich.
(We hope you had a pleasant journey home to Zurich.)
Herzlichen Dank für Ihren Besuch und dafür, dass Sie sich die Zeit genommen haben, unseren Fragebogen auszufüllen. Gerade Ihre Meinung – als Re:publica Gast – ist für uns von sehr großer Bedeutung!
(Thanks very much for your visit, and that you took the time to fill out our survey. Your opinion, particularly as a Re:publica guest, is very important to us!)
Sie waren mit der Freundlichkeit unserer Housekeeping Mitarbeiter und unserem Internetangebot nicht ganz zufrieden. Bitte nehmen Sie für diese entstandenen Unannehmlichkeiten, unsere aufrichtige Entschuldigung entgegen. Ich habe Ihren Kommentar umgehend an unsere Leitende Hausdame und unsere IT-Abteilung weitergeleitet um hier schnellstmöglich Abhilfe zu schaffen.
(Please accept our sincere apologies for your dissatisfaction with the friendliness of our housekeeping staff and the internet service. Your comments have been promptly passed on to the appropriate people to assure fast assistance.)
Sehr geehrter Herr Gattiker, es ist unser Qualitäts-Standard, dass jegliche Bewertung und jeder Gastkommentar ausgewertet und beantwortet wird. Somit erhalten Sie unverzüglich Feedback und wir haben des Weiteren am Ende jeden Monats und jeden Jahres einen ausführlichen und weitreichenden Überblick über unsere Verbesserungspotentiale. Herzlichen Dank noch mal für Ihre aktive Mithilfe!
(Dear Mr Gattiker, our standard of excellence dictates that each and every opinion and guest comment is acknowledged and replied to. This way, you receive feedback and we maintain a broad overview of our room for improvement. Thank you again for your active assistance in this endeavour!)
Wir würden uns sehr freuen, Sie auch zur Re:publica 2015 im Hotel Berlin, Berlin begrüßen dürfen. Ihnen und Ihrer Familie wünsche ich einen sonnigen Frühling.
(We would be pleased to have you stay with us at Hotel Berlin, Berlin again for Re:publica 2015. I wish you and your family a sunny Spring.)
Es grüßt Sie freundlich
(Kind regards)
Hotel Berlin

I then replied, clarifying that while housekeeping was great, they neither spoke German nor English. Asking them for help was, therefore, difficult. I also mentioned that the Internet speed in the room was dismal.

Do you think I got an answer?

Of course not, because customer service is not scalable. Accordingly, the process must be designed in such a way that it can handle the challenge. In other words, reply to the customer when a reply is desired.

I certainly did not feel welcomed or part of the community. Did anyone care about my comment? Nope.

Does the citizenM hotel do better?

Click on image - citizenM Hotels' claim to fame - we know what our clients want.So is the Hotel Berlin a lonely example of having trouble coping with the barrage of client feedback? Here comes another case – citizenM hotel.

Recently I got an email from a student doing his Bachelor thesis. He included several questions that he wanted to ask me about citizenM hotel. I edited them slight for readability, and for brevity’s sake, chose two of the many to answer here:

1. How would you describe the citizenM Social Media Strategy? Do you think the company punches above its weight?
2. Do you think citizenM uses Social Media as storytelling or sales strategy? Can you give us an example?

Those two questions got me curious, especially since I had benchmarked citizenM’s social web performance in 2012, almost 21 months ago.

Strategy

I am not sure what the company’s strategy is, but it appears to be one that encompasses a unique feature or value proposition such as:

– Provide clients an affordable night at our hotels including a decent room, ways to connect with others (i.e. public spaces at hotel) = value for money…

In an interview part of a case study by Bob Lillis, Chris van der Hoven and Keith Goffin from Cranfield University School of Management, Chief Operating Officer Michael Levie put it this way:

„So taking that clean slate, we felt it is not about taking something from the past and improving it, but basically looking anew at a mid-market traveller that does not have a deep wallet, nor personally or for business travel, but does have a lifestyle aspiration, what’s important to them and what do they look for? And those limited things we do real well, and the rest we cut out, we simply don’t have.“

So what is the unique value proposition of citizenM hotels‘ social media activities on Twitter, Facebook or its online magazine? Put differently:

What added value does the social media yakking, tweeting and bragging provide the mid-market traveller?
Curious? Join 1500 other subscribers to this blog’s newsletter and read on!

Twitter – does anybody care?

CLICK - Why sharing a blog's content on social networks matters #Usefulness #SmallDataIf you were to say citizenM is just trying out social media you would be totally wrong. citizenM has been using Social Media and other channels (e.g., print, roadside signs) since the company’s launch. However, its approach has not changed that much since 2012, when it all began. It still is based on broadcasting all kinds of things.

citizenM’s (and its advertising agency’s) inherent belief that if you have a great hammer, the solution calls for a nail is completely wrong. If you have something broadcast, do – because people want to hear. Not so much.

CLICK - Selfie - we all broadcast the good things about ourselves - BUT does anybody want to listen?At first, it seems a smart way to do things because it is based on the Selfie craze, which can be described as:

You are what you are doing right now – selfie – a photographic self-protrait taken with a handheld gadget.

The result is a constant stream of updates. As a bystander, one wonders who wants to continually digest this type of content. Who has the time?

Spreading tweets about hotel guests, re-tweeting their pictures and so forth will work. This assumption is fine, but have they tested it? And if so, is it correct?

CLICK - 'citizenMag is written by – as we like to call them - “our citizens”. These are influential bloggers or experts in their own field who are willing to share their vision, knowledge and excitement with us on things that make them smile.'

The above tweet’s engagement of 0.23 percent is underwhelming, and there are many more where that one came from, often with even less resonance that the one above. Here are some more data about the tweet:

CLICK - and view more statistics about this citizenM link #smalldata

The citizenM online magazine

citizenM also has what it calls an online magazine. citizenM’s blog-like magazine allows reader comments and describes itself as follows:

„citizenMag is written by – as we like to call them – “our citizens”. These are influential bloggers or experts in their own field who are willing to share their vision, knowledge and excitement with us on things that make them smile.“ (click image for full text)

CLICK - DrKPI Ranking - Are you sure your blog characteristics help increase your blog's influence with readers?
Using our DrKPI Social Media Audit Tool we can assess how well citizenM’s performance measures up in comparison to other hotels and restaurants.

As the graphic shows, citizenM ranks 143 in comparison to all other hotel blogs in our ranking (get free LogIn to view charts THEN click graphic for more info). This is quite low compared to other hotels, some of them much smaller than citizenM.

CLICK - and view more statistics about this citizenM corporate blog =  #smalldata

Not only is citizenM not doing well, it performs below average overall.

CLICK IMAGE - view more statistics about this citizenM Blog - below average performance #smalldata

As the chart below illustrates, the writing style (text complexity) makes it hard for readers to understand the post’s message (i.e. what is the story?). Moreover, knowledge transfer rarely if ever happens, since the blog does not link much to other resources to provide readers with more insight.

CLICK - and view more statistics about this citizenM link #smalldata

Does this interest citizenM’s target audience? The so-called, mid-market traveller… with a lifestyle aspiration?

The Social Media Audit helps assess how social media affects which key drivers (e.g., occupancy rate) that affect the hotel’s bottom line (e.g., return on investment – ROI). Unfortunately, it is unclear what added-value social media content the citizenMag blog provides the mid-market traveller, which is the market niche citizenM wants to serve.

So why continue to broadcast on all channels? Why not conduct a social media audit and use this information to improve quickly? For instance, we know that the blog’s performance dropped from 2013 to 2014 (see chart below).

CLICK IMAGE - view more statistics about this citizenM Blog - 2014 shows a further performance drop compared to 2013 - WHY - DrKPI tells readers - view #smalldata

Our question to you, dear reader, is:

Why is this happening to citizenM hotel?

Please leave a comment below… we want to know what you think.

citizenM hotel and Coca-Cola share

CLICK on IMAGE - Do I want to engage with a brand that continues to just share silly stories about itself?Of course, comparing citizenM hotel with Coca-Cola seems like comparing apples to oranges. Maybe, but both companies try to push the frontier in their respective business sectors by:

– spending lots of resources on social media,
– offering plenty of status updates, images on all channels (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, online magazine(s), etc., AND
– continuously trying to improve what they are doing.

Some suggest that the amount of investment by brands in social (for resources, technology, advertising, etc.) is a clear signal that social media is working for them (e.g., Esteban Contreras), but I disagree. While Coca-Cola may spend a lot, it is still a small percentage of its total marketing budget.

Plus, I hope for courteous service from the front desk and housekeeping, but this does not mean:

– I want to befriend citizenM, or
– be inundated with their bragging.

This is clearly a blog where content provides readers a stream of consciousness narrative model and a lot of navel-gazing stories. Yes, I want a clean room with the usual amenities for a decent price. But does this hotel really know what its clients appreciate in their social media feeds?

A good time for citizenM to return to the drawing board?

If you have questions or have an idea, just contact the author (that would be me – see details below).

Source – Case study: citizenM overtakes Coca-Cola?

What do you think?

– Which company’s social media efforts provide YOU, the client, with added value?
– What things or amenities matter the most when you stay at a hotel?
– When was the last time you stayed at a hotel and got service that created a WOW effect?
Ask your questions – I look forward to answering them.


Urs E. Gattiker, Ph.D. - CyTRAP Labs - ComMetrics.

The author Urs E. Gattiker – aka DrKPI: His book, Social Media Audit: Measure for Impact, appeared in 2013 from Springer Science Publishers.

His latest book, Social Media Audits: Achieving deep impact without sacrificing the bottom line was published in April 2014 by Chandos Publishing / Elsevier – blog readers => grab your 25 percent discount with free shipping now.


This post is also available in: Englisch

8 Kommentare
  1. Esteban Contreras
    Esteban Contreras sagte:

    A brand investing on social will not result in gaining anyone’s love, not without something else providing some form of value to the consumer. My point about brands and budgets (regardless of total budgets, social media spend is rising) is about whether social is valuable to brands; it most definitely is. Unfortunately, most brands still use vanity metrics and are satisfied with old standards (total reach and impressions) instead of measuring actual traction against objectives.

    • Urs E. Gattiker | DrKPI
      Urs E. Gattiker | DrKPI sagte:

      Dear @estebanContreras:disqus

      Thanks so much for writing this comment. Of course you are right, just being on social media will not automatically mean the brand is being loved.
      Moreover, vanity metrics or navel gazing analytics are too much kind of Web 1.0.

      Instead we need measurable objectives that help us better understand key drivers (e.g., how can social media be used to reduce calls to the customer hotline). Put differently, getting an ROI is nice but unless we understand what got us there (specifically how social media helped) will not allow us to repeat the feat next quarter.

      Thanks for your GREAT comment.
      Urs
      @DrKPIcom:twitter

  2. Guille García
    Guille García sagte:

    „but does have a lifestyle aspiration, what’s important to them and what do they look for?“ in other words.. not being inundated with their „bragging“ but yes becoming part of a family.

    I think the way of understanding citizenM comes from rules changing in hospitality.

    Esteban Contreras said: „A brand investing on social will not result in gaining anyone’s love, not without something else providing some form of value to the consumer“. I cannot be more agree. However, citizenM social media budget is not fixed, but the opportunity is based. And yes, it provides added value to their loyal costumers as it is just the mirror of what they do in the hotels. Everything
    the company does in social media is more or less the consequence of everything
    else they do. As a hotel chain, the company is focused on providing a great
    guest experience at the hotel, and that’s extended with social media.

    citizenM’s social media service-oriented strategy objective
    is to inspire, listen and talk to guests by involving them in creating content
    and share their experiences online to increase the brand visibility and
    encourage the word of mouth. The key to make this online
    interaction happen is a result of everything else, so that’s why they always try
    to set the right expectation, deliver excellent service and then surprise guest
    with something unique.

    The company doesn’t evaluate the ROI on the relationship with their customers; it is the reason for their existence.

    We must understand the brand, the target audience and their reason of existence in order to write about it… For citizenM, travel is defined as on the move. Guests are the ones needing a room on the road and a hotel is a place while on the road to put your tired head to rest.

    When talking about „citizenMag“, first of all citizenMag has been compared in your studies with other blogs which are not related to the hotel industry itself

    However, citizenM has it’s own mag but is not blogging itself. In other words, citizenMag is a platform for relevant content in relevant cities for the relevant people in order to let them know the values and culture that citizenM has. It actually has the functionality of their concierge department that recommends people what to do in the city they are staying in order to make guests experience the cities as locals.

    The citizenMag was created with the aim of sharing what the company likes and what it is expected for their guests to like. It is also a way to facilitate the content
    they publish in social media considering that if they only share pictures about
    the hotel they cannot expect them to like it all the time.

    On the other hand, my studies revealed that citizenM performs well on their social media platforms above all industry levels. Hotel marketers
    around the world are usually facing the same problem in order reach new
    costumers or either to engage the existing ones. Since social media marketing
    exist, the guest involvement it’s in core business to get people engaged by
    nature. citizenM has a clear competitive advantage when creating online content thanks to their lifestyle hotel branding, which allows them to create and share interesting and valuable information instead of just wait for guest interaction.

    To sum up, improvement is always needed. In fact, time make things constantly change… Social media is a battleground, brand image and customer engagement are the key to be successful an citizenM does it well.

    Some recommendations of improvement will be: unrestricting the brand image, hummanizing the social media personality, the cooperative integration and of course communication integration strategy based.

    • Urs E. Gattiker | DrKPI
      Urs E. Gattiker | DrKPI sagte:

      Dear @GuilleGarca:disqus

      Thanks so much for replying to my blog post. You point out some interesting things. Let me first maybe also mention that you were a student trainee with citizenM and you did a thesis project for your Bachelor about the company . It is therefore probably save to point out that you have a greater understanding about the company’s ideas, philosophy and inner workings than most of us reading this. You raise one point:

      When talking about „citizenMag“, first of all citizenMag has been compared in your studies with other blogs which are not related to the hotel industry itself“

      Here you are mistaken: I write in the above blog entry:

      „As the graphic shows, citizenM ranks 143 in comparison to all other hotel blogs in our ranking. This is quite low compared to other hotels, some of them much smaller than citizenM.“

      Here I state that citizenM ranks 143 in a ranking of hotel blogs …. i.e. companies in the same industry – hospitality and lodging.

      As well, the average score is 50 and citizenM is at least ONE Standard Deviation below the Mean.

      You also write:
      „On the other hand, my studies revealed that citizenM performs well on their social media platforms above all industry levels.

      That is a very interesting statement. Unfortunately, I have not seen your numbers. If your thesis is somewhere available for download, please let me know where I can find it – URL, I gladly read about your findings>. It is always interesting to see the numbers.

      I provided Blog data from citizenM and other hotels an apparently suggests that citizenM could do better. For starters, it might want to rank within the top 10, for instance.
      You also write:

      „citizenMag is a platform for relevant content in relevant cities for the relevant people in order to let them know the values and culture that citizenM has. It actually has the functionality of their concierge department that recommends people what to do in the city they are staying in order to make guests experience the cities as locals.“

      Very important point. But how do you know that it is working?
      If nobody comments about these tips (e.g., I followed your tip visited this museum, attended…. and it was great…),how do we know if these postings make a difference in people’s lives (i.e. when visiting a town and staying at citizenM)?

      Our numbers from social sharing and reader comments would indicate that few care. This is due to citizenMag entries having:
      – no reader comments,
      – no shares on Facebook besides 1 or two for some posts
      – no stellar Twitter engagement ration (i.e. <0.23 percent click rate on tweeted links).

      I suggest that based on these metrics and those Key Performance Indicators we use in the DrKPI Blog Benchmark – Hotels, things could possibly be done better?

      Of course, people having their selfies (pictures) reshared by @citizenM:twitter or re-published by citizenMag. But:
      ==>
      Is this helping attract new customers?
      ==> Does such content satisfy the majority of what Chief Operating Officer Michael Levie describes as:

      mid-market traveller that does not have a deep wallet, nor personally or for business travel, but does have a lifestyle aspiration, …„?

      I am not sure… But maybe I just do not get it?

  3. Urs E. Gattiker | DrKPI
    Urs E. Gattiker | DrKPI sagte:

    #Coca-Cola
    Check out this graphic – below:
    134 tweets each day…. potentially a lot of people that re-broadcast these.
    But what is the bottom line?

    I wonder if it is worth it but if you spend above $400 mio …. you probably look at this differently then I would?
    Urs
    @DrKPIcom:twitter

  4. google adwords login
    google adwords login sagte:

    This shows very nicely that managing social media successfully – in the long term – is a labor intensive challenge.
    With CitizenM it appears that there is a lot of buzz. Put differently, clients love to see their own pictures or experiences at the hotel re-tweeted or mentioned.
    But who else really cares about such stuff…. is this not more noise and clutter?

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