Big QuestionsOur work related to complex challenges.

The Challenge

Design a new public space offer to meet the needs of guests traveling for work.


Ignition, an innovative new meeting and working experience, housed in the lobby of Crowne Plaza hotels that incorporates an integrated new suite of brand, space, furniture, service role, food and beverage offers, digital tools, and business strategy.

Today’s younger workers are more comfortable dressed casually. They prefer an impromptu meeting over coffee, than at the conference table. They’re used to working flexibly, collaboratively and creatively. And, via smartphones, tablets and laptops, they’re accustomed to having everything from hailing a cab, to doing work, to getting groceries, at their fingertips.

Tech-savvy, independent, entrepreneurial, demanding: this new generation of business people and the lingering impact of the financial crisis, are reshaping hospitality.

To that end, Crowne Plaza approached IDEO to understand the needs of this audience, the macro trends impacting them, and to develop a new meeting and work offer that expressed the brand’s values.

Research, sensor data, surveys, interviews with potential customers revealed what modern travelers wanted, but lacked: informal, flexible experiences; energizing and uplifting spaces; peer-style service; curated choices; and integrated technology to control it all.

IDEO translated those customer insights, and Crowne Plaza’s promise—Making Business Travel Work—into an integrated, designed and built-out branded offer. Launched with two pilot schemes in Atlanta, Ignition is a free-to-use, innovative new meeting and working experience, housed in the lobby of Crowne Plaza hotels.

Spanning space, food and beverage, service, and digital, every touchpoint is designed to keep travelers in a state of flow, and heightened productivity. From single-person Pods, to the Nooks and Huddles for four-person impromptu meetings, to the 10-person Apartment (bookable by the hour), Ignition’s spaces cater to every professional’s needs, whether they’re on the road or in their home city.

Food and beverage offerings have been redesigned specifically for work meetings. Delivered to where you’re working, it’s non-drippy, made to be eaten one-handed, and served on square plates to sit neatly alongside laptops. Out of hours, a new self-service marketplace offers 24-hour premium sustenance.

A new role, the Host, provides peer-style support, whether greeting guests’ guests, helping with meetings, or sourcing local restaurants for a client dinner.

Underpinning Ignition is a new tablet-based ordering system (Food To You), and Host chat platform, to easily get everything from photocopies to coffees.

But ultimately, IHG’s ambition for Ignition goes beyond its existing guests. It’s designed to become a local business fixture in its own right, attracting people to meet, and work, irrespective of whether they’re staying. As one guest summed it up: “There is nothing any hotel brand in this range is doing to stand out. This concept, however, could completely change that. It could even live on its own. It’s what you would seek out.”

Retail and Hospitality
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