Future Guest Experience 2020

September 28 - 29, 2020

Las Vegas, NV

InterContinental Hotels Group Pilots New Circadian Lighting Technology to Help Guests Sleep Better

Brought to you by WBR Insights

Whether for business or pleasure, traveling can be highly rewarding. But there are no two ways about it - long hours on the road, adjusting to new climates and environments, excitement, anticipation, and jetlag can all seriously hinder the prospect of getting a good night's sleep. Travel-induced insomnia is something that InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) takes seriously. Restless nights away from home can gravely impair the guest experience, and lead both business and leisure travelers alike to lose focus and be less productive with their precious time on the road.

IHG recently commissioned a global study to find out the extent to which traveling affects sleeping patterns and the main causes of the phenomenon. Adults should receive an average of 7-9 hours of sleep every night to remain healthy and alert. However, according to IHG's research, a massive 79% of travelers have trouble sleeping while away from home. Among the key findings is the revelation that business travelers lose around 58 minutes of sleep each night while on the road, averaging just 5 hours and 17 minutes of all-important shut-eye.

The biggest causes of a restless night for those traveling include being in a different environment (44%), unfamiliar noises (35%), and working late (35%). In total, over two-thirds (67%) of those surveyed stated they feel more tired when they are away from home, with 74% saying they miss the comfort of their own bed when traveling for business. To aid sleep, nearly half either try listening to music (47%) or watching TV (45%). 47% have also tried other remedies, such as drinking warm milk, to help them fall asleep.

(Image source: blog.ihg.com)

Circadian Rhythms

Traveling causes an imbalance in the body's biological clock, disrupting 24-hour cycles known as circadian rhythms. These rhythms are measured by the rise and fall of body temperature, plasma levels of certain hormones, metabolism, and other biological functions - all of which are influenced by exposure to sunlight.

To help guests get a better night's sleep, IHG has partnered with Healthe by Lighting Science, a global leader in innovative LED lighting solutions, to pilot the use of state-of-the-art circadian lighting in hotel rooms.

"It's no secret that traveling can be challenging for our health, particularly when it comes to maintaining our normal sleep patterns," said Dr. Steven W. Lockley, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and advisor to Healthe. "Light is the major environmental time cue that resets the circadian clock in our brains each day, which is easily thrown off when traveling."

(Circadian rhythms are believed to influence sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, eating habits, digestion, body temperature, and other important bodily functions).

The portable and versatile JOURNI Mobile Task Light has now been installed in guest rooms at IHG's Crowne Plaza Atlanta Airport hotel, with more properties planned for the future. The product uses Healthe's patented GoodDay and GoodNight spectrum technologies and is designed specifically to help regulate sleep while traveling.

Guests are able to easily adjust the light to access the alertness and focus-enhancing spectrum to boost energy and performance while awake during the day, and then change to the warm, sleep-enhancing spectrum at night in preparation for bedtime.

"Light can also be a stimulant, directly alerting the brain, or promote sleep before bedtime, depending on the spectrum and intensity of light exposure," continued Dr. Lockley. "Having greater control of light exposure when traveling can help promote sleep at the right time or wake at the right time, preserving some sense of sleep normalcy when on the road."

(Image source: ihgplc.com)

Final Thoughts

Healthe's JOURNI product is just one of a number of ways IHG is using innovations and technologies to help improve guests' sleep experiences. The hospitality company's Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts Sleep Advantage Program, for instance, uses bed linens and essential oils to reduce stress and support sleep, while its EVEN Hotels use lighting profiles in blue, red, green, or yellow to help guests either energize or relax. Elsewhere, IHG's Holiday Inns provide a Pillow Menu, allowing guests to choose from a varied range of pillows which differ in firmness and types of filling - all in the name of a good night's sleep.

For Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Global Guest Experience, Shared Services, at IHG, the sleep experience is one of the most important aspects of a guest's stay at an IHG hotel, and says that the brand is committed to investing in the solutions and technologies necessary to make sure every traveler gets the all-important rest they need.

"At IHG, we want to make sure our guests are getting the best night's sleep possible across our 5,600 hotels and portfolio of more than 15 brands," said McGuinness. "We are continually testing ways we can enhance the guest experience, loyalty and ultimately, owner value. Our circadian lighting technology pilot is the latest example of the work we are doing to innovate the guest experience. We're excited to be the first hotel company to pilot Healthe's JOURNI product, and are already working on what's coming next."

You can hear Ali Saeb, Director of In-Hotel Strategy, Global Hotels & Owners Solutions at InterContinental Hotels Group, speak at Future Guest Experience 2019, taking place this September in Henderson, NV.

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