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A Real Pain in The Rear


Uncomfortable Chairs Put Business Travelers in the Hot Seat

ATLANTA .- Long-winded speakers and chilly conference rooms are predictable downsides to attending business meetings, but a new survey commissioned by Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts uncovered a truly surprising finding - the top item on American professionals’ list of demands is not tastier food or temperature control - it’s a more comfortable chair!

An astounding 60 percent of professionals surveyed said that a more comfortable ergonomic chair would help them focus during meetings. Among frequent business travelers, 53 percent complained that meeting room chairs lack proper support for their backs or necks and 48 percent responded that seating is the one aspect they wish could be upgraded at offsite meeting locations. Known as “The Place to Meet,” Crowne Plaza is addressing the need for more comfort in meetings by rolling out a fleet of Herman Miller ergonomic chairs in all properties in the U.S. and Canada.

Other survey findings include:

* Weapons of Mass Distraction ... The biggest distraction for professionals during meetings isn’t daydreaming or annoying colleagues tapping on PDAs - it’s actually uncomfortable seating, with 30 percent pining for a better chair.

* The Great Escape ... More than half (53 percent) of professionals polled said they’d prefer to attend meetings at a location other than their office, such as a hotel or conference facility.

* Sitting Pretty with the Cushiest Throne ... An expense account, the best parking spot - and a great office chair? Those at the lower rungs of the corporate ladder aren’t just deprived of sunlight and a corner office, they suffer with sub-par seating as well. Sixty-three percent of professionals lamented that senior managers or the top boss have the coziest office chairs. Less than a quarter (24 percent) of companies actually offer equal opportunity chair comfort for junior staff members and big bosses alike.

“As meetings professionals, we weren’t surprised by the results,” said Gina LaBarre, vice president of brand management, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts. “Comfortable meeting room seating is a critical improvement driver for our target audiences: meeting planners and attendees. We’ve focused on getting the basics right with our new Herman Miller chairs by offering our guests the gold standard in ergonomic seating; we know we can’t take the ‘pain’ out of business travel, but we can make road warriors more comfortable while in our meeting rooms,” she added.

By the end of 2007, all Crowne Plazas will have the new Herman Miller Caper chairs in break-out rooms. These chairs will offer attendees who are sitting in daylong working business sessions greater comfort with an ergonomic back, flex-net mesh seat and casters for mobility. For banquet-style seating Crowne Plaza will begin outfitting its larger rooms with a flex-back banquet-style chair, with a contoured seat and flexible back.

Crowne Plaza was recently recognized by Lodging Hospitality magazine as one of the industry’s top growing brands. As part of the IHG global portfolio, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts has nearly 300 hotels in 51 countries that are located in major urban centers, gateway cities and resort destinations.


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