Re-opening this month, the refurbished hotels are part of IHG’s ambition for Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza to become the leading hotel businesses for meeting and events in the UK.
Paul Harnedy, director of operations for IHG’s portfolio of Company Managed Hotels in London, said: “The meetings industry has changed dramatically over the past few years, with delegates wanting to feel less restricted and more creative. Developments in technology mean that meeting styles have changed and we are continually aiming to improve our standards and ensure we remain innovative in responding to evolving business guest needs.”
The refurbishments reflect ‘cutting-edge design’ based on industry insight, trends and technology to deliver a step change in meeting facilities, break-out spaces and meeting rooms. Guests can enjoy superfast Wi-Fi, quiet work stations with printers and a choice of board games or table football for a relaxation between meetings.
It’s not just the meeting spaces that have been refreshed. In what IHG claims is ‘a UK hospitality industry first’, the hotels will incorporate a new food and beverage philosophy that’s been accredited by Food for the Brain - industry experts in food and cognitive behaviour.
Recognised for reaching high standards of nutritional excellence, the new ‘Food for Thought’ menus include ‘super foods’ to fuel the mind and support energy levels to help delegates stay focused throughout the day.
Focus on MICE
Last year, BigHospitality reported that IHG was looking to Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands as market leaders in the meetings industry after all 14 sites in London secured accreditation from the Meetings Industry Association (MIA).
David Taylor, who specialises in IHG's meeting and events for the UK managed estate, said receiving the accreditation – which is the only quality mark scheme for the meetings and events sector - was just the start of an ambition for the operator to take a more significant role in the meetings sector.
"Our aspiration is to achieve this quality mark for the whole estate, which I am fully confident we will deliver. We have focussed heavily on listening to the market and understanding our customer’s needs, and through our recent customer engagement survey have developed a core framework which enables us to create a more compelling offer that will see our hotels recognised as major players within the market," he said.
The past year has seen a number of other big hotel brands placing an extra focus on the MICE market. As an indicator of this, the ‘ConferenceGroup’ website has seen a dramatic increase in the number of hotels signing up to its service, which its managing director believes is a sign of ‘increased confidence’ in the meetings market.