Particular attention is being paid to the public spaces and the food offered in the hotel. It is also testing new ways of offering room service.
The trials are taking places in a selection of American hotels over a six-month period, which will eventually result in a global overhaul of the chain.
Tom Seddon chief marketing officer for IHG says it wants to differentiate the upscale hotel brand from its rivals and create a more pleasurable experience for business travellers.
He claims: “While customers tell us they like the product, we think we can be more different. One of the key insights is there is a whole group of people that don’t see business travel as a chore. We want to do more to bring interest and enjoyment to the stay.”
Seddon is also overseeing a review of its global advertising agency arrangements which will see one agency take charge of the Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands.
McCann Erickson works on the businesses in Europe, Middle East and Africa. The US account is held by Fallon.
The review follows the $1bn Holiday Inn brand refresh which is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2010.
Leagas Delaney continues to work on the InterContinental chain.