Sending big hotel chains packing

There is no room for growth and success in overcrowded markets. So why do we keep mingling in them? When we bring our true nature into our business, we do something very significant: We create our own market. The market of “US”.

This holds especially true for the first brand we are looking at in our new series of case studies: CitizenM

To the untrained eye, the very young CitizenM is just another player alongside well known hotel chains in one of the most saturated markets on the planet.

But the ingenious investor and founder Rattan Chadha knew better than to enter a field dominated by powerful traditional names this late in the game. A game where even hundreds of millions of dollars is considered pocket change, and where AirBnb has taken a considerable chunk of the pie.

He had something else in mind: He wanted to fuse premium luxury experiences with affordability and simplicity. An area left unattended due to the limiting beliefs and complacency maintained by long time managers and too-big-to-fail giants in the hospitality business. 

When you visit a CitizenM location, you will find a completely reimagined hotel experience: Sleek design, highly digitized processes, premium food and drink selections, highly functional and comfortable rooms and a charming, high-spirited staff. Needless to say, CitizenM is highly successful. And happy about it.

The Hiltons and Marriots of the world cannot compete, they seek to secure their position in the traditional hotel market. So, CitizenM’s rise continues, touted by many business analysts as “surprising”.

This is not very surprising to me. In my eyes, what Rattan did was simply natural:

He brought his most natural conviction into business:

To take hotel culture to the 21st century by offering affordable premium luxury that is accessible to the mobile digital citizens of the world, so they can feel at home away from home.

Built upon this conviction, Rattan created an entirely new accommodation market free of the stress of competition and with full ownership.

Going against his top advisers he went ALL-NICHE, focusing solely on the people he knew and served best: the digital citizens of the world (business travelers, founders, owners etc.). 

Respecting the natural growth of anything that is sustainable he refused to open more locations than his culture could handle. He is understanding of the fact that there is only so much demand to be met, and that to deliver the value he promises requires focus and patience.

Rattan Chadha is a prime example of an entrepreneur who is in touch with his own nature and who uses his resources to serve that nature to deliver value. We are all capable of it in our own businesses, but we must be aware and courageous enough to understand and express our true nature through our actions.


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