Crowne Plaza has launched a ‘Dare to Connect’ training programme for staff, after a test scheme at four UK properties boosted service scores.

Following the trial run at the chain’s hotels in Leeds, Manchester city centre, Newcastle Stephenson Quarter and Dublin Blanchardstown, overall service scores grew by at least four percentage points and the properties saw an influx of positive guest reviews.

Crowne Plaza is working with ‘emotional intelligence experts’ at The School of Life training company to teach staff how to alleviate guests’ anxiety.

The programme will be introduced to the brand’s 98 hotels in Europe in 2019, and will develop six core emotional intelligence skills: vulnerability, self-belief, connection, anticipation, authenticity, and perseverance.

Mike Greenup, marketing vice-president at Crowne Plaza, said: “We’ve seen how applying an added layer of empathy to our guest interactions greatly improves the stay experience.

“The School of Life is really helping us achieve this by equipping our team members with the tools to give them confidence to deliver this deeper, more emotional level of service.”

Sarah Stein, head of content at School of Life, added: “Emotionally intelligent connections between hotel team members and travellers helps create a positive feedback loop.

“Customers want to return to a brand not only because the products or services are good, but because they feel, in a more significant way, that they are understood and belong there. Guests are far more likely to continue using a service and to praise it if they feel this connection.”

As well as the ‘Dare to Connect’ training, The School of Life will provide Crowne Plaza hotels with destination postcards. These will be given to guests as a gift at check-in, to encourage “moments of connection” with Crowne Plaza colleagues and with friends and family.

Furthermore, a ‘Better Meetings’ box of questions, games and activities will be introduced, to help guests have more engaging, productive meetings.

Crowne Plaza is part of the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).