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by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | March 8, 2018

This week in Berlin at the International Hotel Investment Forum, one of Europe's largest industry-investment conferences, U.K.-based InterContinental Hotels Group revealed it has joined forces with London-based architectural design firm Conran and Partners to shake up business travel with a major rebranding of its Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts brand across its European properties.
 
This is the latest strategic move by IHG in an effort to gain a greater share of business travelers. The chain's North American properties already are benefiting from a $200 million, three-year investment strategy launched in 2016, when the concepts behind the rebranding — creating flexible and inspiring working environments and transforming the guest experience — began to be rolled out.
 
ihg"We're investing in Crowne Plaza to make it the first choice for modern business travelers and more profitable for hotel owners," said Mike Greenup, vice president of brand management for IHG Europe in a statement. "We've partnered closely with our owners throughout this project, and every element of the new design has been shaped with return on investment in mind. Working with leading design studio Conran and Partners, we've created communal work spaces where guests can switch effortlessly between work and socializing. We know that guests are looking for spaces that are more flexible, on-demand and collaborative, and our new design delivers this, while putting every square meter of the hotel to work to generate revenue. Following the success of the new designs in the Americas, we're thrilled to be bringing this to life in Europe. This is an exciting new chapter for one of the world's fastest growing hotel brands."
 
Crowne Plaza's new Plaza WorkSpace is a flexible collection of agile working areas modelled on a public square, where guests and local businesses can switch effortlessly between work and downtime. In addition, there are co-working spaces with huddle spots and built-in touch screens that will be incorporated alongside food and drink options, with the aim of increasing dwell times, F&B revenue and non-guest spend.
 
ihg 2According to Simon Kincaid, director of Conran and Partners, on his company's design process, "The needs of modern business travellers are liquid and demanding. Travelers expect seamless service and want an experience that parallels the ease and flexibility of brands such as Uber or Apple, progressive co-working environments, members' clubs and immersive retail experiences."
 
Also being revamped is the Crowne Plaza guest room, which has been redefined with the new WorkLife Room concept, designed to be a calming environment with three distinct zones to support work, downtime and a better night's sleep. Rooms will feature materials that reduce noise disturbance, while lighting settings will enhance the sleep experience.
 
Informal meeting areas also have been transformed. The Forum is a dynamic bookable event and co-working space with a Spanish Steps-style layout (essentially a monumental stairway) that makes it ideal for presentations and guest speakers. The Studio is an on-demand bookable space that can be used for collaborative workshops by day and private dining by night.
 
IHG said it is partnering with the owners of three flagship Crowne Plaza hotels to roll out the new designs later this year: the 465-room Crowne Plaza London-Heathrow, the 328-room Crowne Plaza Paris–République and the 285-room Crowne Plaza Hamburg–City Alster.
 
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