Here's How InterContinental Hotel Group Is Patenting Great Room Design

Innovative, digitally-powered experiences in the travel industry extend far beyond apps and booking systems. More and more, we're seeing digital technology being incorporated into the physical hospitality experience, and InterContinental Hotel Group is taking this trend seriously with a brand new and patented room concept.

The WorkLife Room

Created from a desire to make the perfect hotel room, The WorkLife room, as the name suggests, was designed from the ground up to offer a superior hospitality experience, whether its occupant is staying at the hotel for business, pleasure, or a little of both. With work/life balance being an important buzz-term in the media right now, it's the perfect name for the new room.

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So confident in the new room design is InterContinental Hotel Group that they've taken the unusual step of having the design patented - the application for which has just been accepted and approved by The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The last hotel group to successfully patent a room design was Disney in 2016, with their Star Wars suite.

"The WorkLife Room was carefully conceptualized and tested around the world in prototype format and in fully built hotels," said Regional Vice President for IHG Crowne Plaza, Meredith Latham. "We fine-tuned until we had a product that was the best version of a hotel guest room for the modern business traveler. Our guests have voted, and this room delivers improved satisfaction, our teams love it and now the US Patent office sees the uniqueness."

Complete Design

The WorkLife room covers every aspect of the stay experience with features such as an angled bed, which opens more space for the room's distinct zones, as well as a cocooning headboard, a Beautyrest mattress, plush linens, and a Sleep Advantage aromatherapy kit. It also contains a sofa nook -- a multi-purpose space for reading, watching TV, working, meeting with colleagues or eating. There is a desk area with an uncluttered workspace where guests can focus on work. And lastly, the room contains a welcome station, which helps to get guests settled with areas for storing keys, bags, and coats.

However, one of the special things about the room is that it has been designed with technology in mind. This is to say it works on the assumption that guests will be coming along armed with a plethora of gadgets and gives them ample functionality to use them.

Plug socket locations have been chosen specifically for the optimum spaces where technology may need to be plugged in. Traditional electricity sockets are accompanied by USB ports, ensuring guests can always get connected. The in-room Wi-Fi is lightning fast by design to make sure, whether streaming HD movies or hosting important business conference calls, the experience is fast and smooth.

"The reality is a business traveler is also a leisure traveler in parts of the business trip," said Latham. "Connectivity to every channel of life must be available at all times. Fast and easy access to Wi-Fi is the minimum need. We know that smartphones, tablets, or laptops are the means to continuous connectivity, so the fourteen charging stations allow travelers access to the power they need."

Whereas most hotels have table tops which are little more than sideboards, the WorkLife Room has bespoke desks which are designed specifically for work. They're functional, uncluttered, and designed to accommodate a range of digital tech.

The rooms also come with large TV screens which pull double duty for enjoying the aforementioned HD movies and for displaying presentation materials during business meetings. In addition, should the guest or any of their guests get hungry or thirsty, they can use the touch screen television devices to order room service.

InterContinental Hotel Group refers to these features as "Third Spaces," i.e. parts of the room which can be effortlessly switched from business use to leisure. This gives guests more choice about the use of their room but also reduces the wasted space for pure leisure or business travelers.

Final Thoughts

It's easy to see why InterContinental Hotel Group is eager to patent the design of the WorkLife Room. With simple yet effective features designed to delight travelers - while simultaneously offering fantastic technology-based functionality for both business and leisure uses - the suite will likely form a new benchmark for luxury digital travel experiences.

You can hear InterContinental Hotel Groups' Vice President of Global Hospitality Technology Jeff Eckard, speak at Digital Travel 2019, taking place in April at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, CA.

Download the agenda for more information and insights.

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