The measure of intelligence is the ability to change – new corporate subscription offer from CitizenM highlights how hotels could increasingly become the workplaces of the future

5 October, 2020

While some business had embraced the work from home concept, many had stuck quite rigidly to the office structure with flexible working translating into the opportunity to arrive and depart work and hour early or late to avoid the rush hour or to work around school drop off or pick up requirements. That viewpoint has now changed forever following the Covid-19 public health crisis.

It may have been government mobility restrictions that forced the transition as workers were ordered to stay at home to avoid spreading the coronavirus, but a relaxation in restrictions and a push from governments in some countries to revert back to traditional working practices have not been as quickly welcomed by businesses.

In fact many, having now seen the benefits of remote working practices on productivity, are starting to see the benefits financially too as they consider down scaling office footprints or even closing them permanently. It is certainly not a one-size-fits-all solution and a blended working environment is seen by many experts as being the best solution marrying the benefits of remote working together with social interaction with colleagues.

In fact this blended solution could help reignite corporate travel, but rather than catching a plane to another country to see clients, attending a conference or to secure a new sale, the main portion of business trips - at least in the short-term - could initially simply see staff meeting up with colleagues for a catch-up.

With the future course of the Covid-19 pandemic far from clear many businesses will not be in a hurry to get staff back into office space. The fast changing nature of infections means things can change very quickly - President Trump's confirmed positive test, hospitalisation and expected imminent release highlights that perfectly. We also don't know how infection spikes can impact certain areas and sentiment - 770 confirmed positive infections in one University based in Newcastle, UK has certainly made locals feel wary.

Businesses know they have to adapt to meet the differing needs of their employees. A great example is the hospitality industry where hotels especially have had to seek out alternative ways to fill their accommodation as a reduction in travel leaves occupancy flagging well-behind previous levels. Last week we highlighted this in the following insight: 'Hotels are having to think outside the box as traditional revenue sources dry up. There's a lot of innovation out there'

Hotels are certainly seeing the remote working shift as an opportunity: and why not? This is nothing new though. We have all been travelling and 'worked' from a hotel, joined our colleagues in the lobby for a meeting over coffee, took advantage of some downtime to use the gym or take a swim, before joining our colleagues for dinner in a restaurant and even a drink in the bar.

A hotel has all the ingredients that any worker could wish for, with more frills than the traditional office environment or the specialist shared workspaces that have become increasingly popular with established enterprises and growing startups alike and have been popping up in more and more cities across the world.

More and more hotels have pivoted to supporting this market due to its obvious potential, but it is the recently launched corporate subscription from citizenM that has particularly caught our attention. The Netherlands-based hotel chain opened its first hotel at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport in 2008, followed by one in city of Amsterdam itself in 2009, adding its first overseas hotel in Glasgow in 2010.

In the process it started disrupting the traditional hotel industry by creating a luxury hybrid hotel for today's modern travellers. "A new breed of hotel designed around a new type of traveller - one who values a luxury hotel experience in central city locations, but at an affordable price," is how it describes itself.

Known for its adaptability to the changing demands of global business travellers - and supported by tech that makes life easier - citizenM has respond quickly to the rapid changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the hospitality industry. Building on its contactless hotel stays across its entire portfolio, it has now launched two global subscriptions for digital nomads, remote workers and companies with distributed workforces to adapt to the current global shift in work culture - from office to home to anywhere.

Its sleep-work-meet corporate subscription package for companies with remote workers who travel regularly; distributed teams who need to (or want to) gather consistently; and local individuals who need a better alternative to working from home certainly offers a lot to companies and their employees alike.

For EUR500 / GBP550 / USD600 per month, one employee can work at any citizenM hotel living room anytime they want, sleep for three nights (including a welcome drink and breakfast), use the meeting rooms, add more nights or meeting room hours at 10% discount, and entertain clients at canteenM and cloudM rooftop bars.

citizenM says the corporate subscription is a single package designed to "solve all these typical problems companies no longer want to deal with: paying for expensive coworking memberships or office spaces, wasting time on searching for hotel/meeting room/workspace deals, and no access to professional spaces in big cities for client meetings, workshops or entertaining".

Most importantly, the package also completely eliminates unpredictability in pricing and hotel-stay quality, and provides buyers with total subscription flexibility - they can purchase one-month-at-a-time as needed for as many remote workers as needed (or for themselves), or get an annual plan for the most frequent travellers that offers one month free.

The concept is available immediately across all 21 citizenM hotels, plus the seven more hotels due to open in 2021. Current cities that are home to citizenM properties comprise New York, Seattle, London, Paris, Boston, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Glasgow, Zurich, Geneva, Copenhagen, Washington DC, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei. New cities coming in 2021 include Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and Chicago.

Alongside the corporate subscription, the new global passport by citizenM is also being launched offering a fixed-rate stay option for digital nomads who want to travel the world with the ultimate flexibility of deciding on a month-by-month basis.

The suggestion is that digital nomads, freelancers and adventurers will find the 30-day-at-a-time booking far more attractive than signing an expensive long-term lease in a single city and with a low average rate of around EUR50 per night when purchasing one full month, the price is compelling - you even get additional discounts on food and beverages.

The work-from-anywhere lifestyle is now more than a trend, "it's a global movement, a shift in the way work is seen and done," says Robin Chadha, citizenM's chief marketing officer. "Decentralisation in work and life has been talked about for many years, but the pandemic has given it a big push towards reality."

Right now some of the world's biggest companies are switching to remote working to stay competitive. Similarly, accommodation providers are adapting their own models, taking advantage of their resources to meet this new demand. After all, when you can work from home, you can really work from anywhere.