Crowne Plaza Transforms Its Brand

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Crowne Plaza, meetings
Stylish new design of the Work Life room

All eyes are on the transformation and growth of the Crowne Plaza brand.

Over the past year, Crowne Plaza has quietly and behind the scenes been investing in the future of its brand through a program called “Accelerate.” Its media campaign announced “We’re All Business, Mostly”; in other words, the goal is to make business travel more fulfilling, to be “at the forefront of the new way of doing business with design-led, culturally relevant and technology-enabled solutions.” Here’s how they’re doing it:

The first individuals that visitors encounter when they step into a hotel is the staff, so Crowne Plaza’s parent company, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), appointed New York–based designer Timo Weiland as style director for the Crowne Plaza brand. His mission: to develop new uniform designs for all the hotels in The Americas. Hotel team members in Mexico, Central, South America and Caribbean will don his new newly designed collection, Momentum by Timo Weiland, by the third quarter of this year.

Crowne Plaza’s new WorkLife Room made its debut in early 2017. The interior designers for the rooms, London–based PearsonLloyd, created the look with the understanding that business travel is a blend of work and life. The modern, mid-century design includes more flexible living space, a focused workstation area, enhanced connectivity, an enhanced sleep experience and freshly designed bathrooms.

Also making their debut starting with the Crowne Plaza Midtown Atlanta are the new Plaza Workspaces—flexible lobby-based meeting areas for solo workers or groups of up to 10 people. Understanding business travelers’ meeting needs, whether that be a quick lunch meeting or an intense planning session, was the foundation for the design. There’s a choice of individual tech seating for privacy and connectivity or “huddle spots” —fully connected spaces for a small group. Elevated counter seating includes a flat screen and a built-in tablet with food and beverage options. For complete privacy, “The Studio” has sofas, televisions and a communal space where teams can work.

IHG has been expanding the Crowne Plaza portfolio beyond North Americas, having just opened the Crowne Plaza Barranquilla, the brand’s return to Colombia. The 76-room new-build hotel is located within the Torres del Atlántico business complex, comprised of two identical contemporary towers with stunning city and Caribbean sea views. The 13-floor hotel has three meeting rooms, the largest of which can accommodate up to 150 guests. There’s also the San Blas restaurant, with a blend of international and Colombian flavors, and on the top floor, a Skybar, fitness center and infinity swimming pool.

Several Crowne Plaza properties in Mexico, Central, South America and the Caribbean are undergoing major renovations and upgrades to their meeting space, all of which are expected to be completed in 2018. The Crowne Plaza Managua has renovated its 140 guestrooms and convention area, as well as lobby, restaurants, pool and other public areas. The hotel’s design resembles the ancient Mayan pyramids. In El Salvador, Agrisal Hoteles, owner of the Crowne Plaza San Salvador, has invested millions of dollars expanding its conference center, including a new hall that can accommodate up to 1,200 people. The hotel now offers a total of 27 meeting spaces. In the Caribbean, the Crowne Plaza Santo Domingo has revamped its 196 guest rooms, conference rooms and lobby area. Other renovations are underway to the brand’s Mexican hotels in Monterrey, Queretaro and Toluca-Lancaster, as well as in South America (Paraguay and Santiago).

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.