The rapid development of the Internet and its associated digital technologies since the turn of the century have transformed every field of human endeavour including the way we plan, book and experience traveling.
Skyscanner recently published research including expert interviews that predicted that in 10 years' time, the era of time-consuming online travel research and booking across multiple platforms and devices would be long gone.
“In the near future, there is going to be a mass-market conversion to semantic, location-aware and big data [data sets that are beyond our ability to manage or comprehend] applications, which will be of transformative use to travelers,” says Filip Filipov, Skyscanner's head of B2B.
“In 10 years' time, advances in digital technology will mean that travelers have no need to encounter a single human being from the time they enter their chosen hotel to the time they check out of their room”, said Skyscanner director of hotels Nik Gupta, describing the exciting shape of hotels to come.
Booking will be personalized according to guests’ social media
According to the report, hotel software will key in to a guest's social media profile to enable him or her to book a particular room where everything is set specifically for them.
There will be one single device to control everything
In 2024, travelers will have a range of intuitive and embedded technology at their disposal from the second they enter the hotel room, allowing them to create a highly personalized hotel experience.
“Guests will be provided with menus of things to do, restaurants to eat in and theater performances to watch that exactly meet their individual needs and preferences,” he further explains.
We can already see the initial signs of this trend on display at The Peninsula Hong Kong, which uses intelligent technology to provide guests with a tablet device to control the lights, curtains, temperature and television, order dinner, make spa reservations and plan day trips.
Hilton brand Conrad has also embraced and incorporated new technology with its Conrad Concierge app that enables guests to personalize their stay by choosing their preferred bath amenities or making their breakfast choices using their smartphones while doing other activities such as jogging.
Technologies for a better sleep
Futurologist Ian Pearson even predicts that the hotel room of the near future will take this rapidly developing technology to new levels.
Hotel bedrooms will be equipped with pillows with embedded electronics that provide sleep-aiding head and neck massages and morning wake-up calls.
He also predicts that hotels will offer guests’ sleep suits with sensors that can monitor blood sugar levels or offer relevant dietary advice.
The Stay Well room at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas has already shown advances in the health and well-being of guests. The room has lighting designed to reset the internal clocks of jetlagged guests, shower water infused with vitamin C, air filtered through advanced air purification filters and optional aromatherapy infusions.
Touch-activated interactive walls
Hyper-personalized hotel suites will have touch-activated interactive walls that act as video screens, communication hubs, or even transform into frosted privacy screens. Vitamin C showers, retinal door entry, electronic pillows that massage you to sleep and holographic personal trainers will be part of the expected package.
Work on future hotel rooms by Spain's Serrano Brothers design studio shows us a room with interactive walls capable of displaying films, stunning images, family portraits and video messages from friends. Such walls can even frost over to create areas of privacy for showering and changing in even the smallest room.
Even the hotel bathroom is planned to undergo a revolution in design and technology. Smart meters are used to reduce water usage while motion sensors and galvanic side panels will be embedded in the shower to alter temperature, water flow, water pattern and dispense vitamin C.
Already being prototyped in washing machines, the showers of the future will use sound technology to literally agitate dirt from our bodies. An array of lighting from red to green will indicate how clean we are.
“It's early days yet, but the technology is in place”, says The Future Laboratory co-founder Martin Raymond.
“The big problem scientists have is the effect these high-frequency sounds will have on the eardrums. They could blow them out. So, for the moment, we're likely to see this kind of technology being used to clean our hotel bed sheets,” he adds.
Many of these advances in technology are predicted to influence and alter travelers' experience in staying at a hotel. Rather than pushing data to us, social media networks will use our “big data” to determine everything from the hotel room we will like to stay to the kind of drinks we would like to find in our mini bar.
Out of many probabilities, at least we can be sure of one thing: Skyscanner's report makes it clear that the trends and technology of 2024 and beyond will make the travel experience a lot more intuitive and easy.