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19 April 2024

An innovative way to stimulate the mind in just five minutes

The Think Space is being used in Crowne Plaza hotels in Belgium, Germany, Jordan and the UK. (SUPPLIED)

By Reena Amos Dyes

In today's global village where travelling for business is the norm, business hotels are coming up with innovative ways to take care of their tired guests. Crowne Plaza Hotel and Resorts, has come up with a unique yet simple method to relax those business travellers who have to face tight schedules, travel fatigue and jetlag notwithstanding.

The hotel, which has launched the Think Tank campaign to identify innovative ideas in order to ease the mental and physical fatigue of its guests, has partnered with interior designer Gilian Schrofer to come up with "Think Space" an innovative installation in the hotel lobby designed to boost business brains.

Haitham Mattar, Director of Marketing, Crowne Plaza Mena, told Emirates Business: "The Think Space is the third innovation in the Crowne Plaza Think Tank campaign, which has seen us sign up a number of creative business leaders. Each innovator works with us to create a different product or service that directly benefits business travellers staying at our hotels. For his design, Schrofer wanted to design an installation that offered a energising boost to business travellers."

The idea behind Think Space is that travellers can spend five minutes within the specially-designed space and the experience will stimulate their mind, ensuring that they are refreshed and productive for the rest of their working day.

The Think Space is a private oasis for one person and free of all external distractions, allowing the user to focus fully. The space is a red coloured, air-filled oval shape, suspended from a steel frame, which the business traveller 'unzips' to enter.

Schrofer said: "I wanted to design a space that gave the literal feeling of being inflated, to give the user more energy. The material used is the same as is used in parachutes – I chose this to give the users a sense of space and so they can see the space inflating when they enter the Think Space.

"I chose red because it is a dominant colour and represents energy. Research links red to vitality and self confidence, I wanted the user to be encased in this warm, yet energising colour."

Mattar said: "To create the Think Space, Schrofer researched the effect that targeting the five senses has on the brain and designed each aspect of the Think Space to stimulate each one individually, meaning that the mind is awakened after a journey and, therefore, more focused. Schrofer's ambition was to create the waking equivalent of a power nap, whereby the user is energised in a short period of time.

"The best part is that the feedback has been very positive. Our guests find the Think Space both relaxing and effective, whether they're travelling on business or just taking time out to recharge while on holiday. The hotels have also reported that business travellers have been returning to use the Think Space at different times during their stay, which is great."

Harashna Samara, a business traveller who has used the Think Space, said: "As a business traveller, you have to battle with travel fatigue, as well as make sure that you are prepared and alert for meetings. Time is often so limited when you are travelling for work that sometimes you might be tempted to think that you simply cannot spare five minutes to try the Think Space. However, it really is a time investment. Having flown in overnight I knew I had two hours to check-in and prepare for my first meeting, but spending 10 minutes recharging in the Think Space really helped refocus my mind from travel to business mode. To have a space in which you are left to just re-energise and think really helps because its not just like an empty room but it also provides the right atmosphere for one to seriously get their mind into gear.

"Think Space should definitely be considered as a facility in other hotels. It's a very effective concept and with hotels enjoying a constant flow of business travellers, it would most certainly be welcome. When leaving the Think Space you really feel calm and ready to take on the day. Think Space should be used as a human charger."

The Think Space is being used in Crowne Plaza hotels in Belgium, Germany, Jordan and the UK and will soon be expanded to other hotels around the world.

Stimulating senses

Taste: Travel is known to affect taste, with recent research showing that flying dulls the taste buds by up to 30 per cent. On entering the Think Space, the user will be offered a simple mint, which is proven to reinvigorate and refresh the senses.

Touch: The room contains a comfy chair for the business traveller to sit back and relax on. While reclining the user will be able to play with a tactile ball next to the chair. The user will be encouraged to use alternate hands so the movement stimulates both sides of the brain.

Sight: The Think Space itself has a vibrant red colour, chosen for its proven energising effect. The user will be encased by this warm, yet invigorating colour.

Smell: The space will be infused with a peppermint scent, as research has shown that the smell of peppermint increases concentration on tasks by stimulating brain. In research this was proved to be more effective than caffeine.

Sound: Noise minimising headphones are suspended from the ceiling in the area allowing the user to listen to a carefully-selected soundtrack from iMusic. The music has been specifically engineered to stimulate the neurons of the brain, which in turn get the blood pumping and the mind moving faster.