Imagine staying in a luxury resort, only to have no idea as to how to open the curtains, control the TV or adjust the thermostat. The temperature, drapes, lights and entertainment are all controlled by Echo™. Well, don’t imagine, it already exists. This is 2017, and hotels are already going wild with interesting innovations, at Hotels.ng, we decided to look out to the future and predict – the hotel in 2050.
Everybody loves the feeling of floating or sleeping on the air, at least that’s if you are not aerophobic. This idea is not as far off as imagined, as D.K. & Wei is already working on a floating sofa. The Cloud sofa™ is supposed to give one the illusion of floating on their own personal cloud. A magnet in the base is supposed to generate enough magnetic force to hold the sofa aloft. The same technology can be applied to hotel beds in the future.
Customizable Room Settings
The idea of being able to customize your hotel room’s wall colour, lights or room layout on your phone and then lodge in your own creation is one that has crossed many minds. This concept is not as far off as imagined as Starwood, the owners of Sheraton Abuja hotel and Le Meridien resort, have long kept tabs on their guests’ preferences. Soon, you’ll be able to tell your hotel app your preferred temperature and lighting settings – “Hello Mr. X, do you prefer white lights, or amber tones”? At the very least, hotels could also offer extra services through the app, like letting you pick a specific room from what is available, so you could choose what floor you want and how close you want to be to the elevator.
Augmented Workout stations
It would be nice to have an entire gym in my hotel room rather than embarrassing myself with my lame workout routine at the gym. Another potential application of VR technology, Augmented workouts. This means that you feel like you’re bike riding on the Third Mainland Bridge while, in fact, you’ve never left the room…and sweat too! Weight lifting might be a problem though…just saying.
Total Mobile Control
If you can check in for your flight or hotel on your phone and get a digital boarding pass, why should you have to show your credit or ID card at hotel receptions when they already have your booking details? Travellers could skip the line and walk straight into the hotel and go right to their room. Imagine walking into the hotel lobby of Sheraton Lagos hotel, Hilton hotel, Protea hotel or any other fancy hotel and you skip the queue at the check-in desk and head straight to the lifts. You already know your room number and have the key –your phone. Hotels would appreciate this because not only would it make their customers happier, they would also avoid having to cover the expense of lost and unreturned key cards…which happens to me a lot. Like hotel key cards that are rejected by door locks after your checkout date, the app on your phone would just delete your access to the room when you check out. You could even do this from your phone. Guests could rate specific rooms in the app and you could look back to see if a room you had been happy with on a previous stay is available. Popular rooms could become like exit row seats on a plane – reserved for frequent travelers or available at an upgrade fee.
Robotics has the potential to be a big disrupter of current hospitality industry models. A number of advances in robotics, the ability of robots to empathize, to touch, to feel, the development of sensor technologies, and demographic and societal changes of accepting robotics in many service jobs means that robots will become increasingly common in the industry. Aloft™ has been testing a so-called “Botlr” at its Cupertino and Silicon Valley properties for years now. Soon, the digitized butler will be ready for the hospitality spotlight. Put in a request for service via your Lagos Airport hotel app—more towels for instance—and housekeeping will stash your items in the Botlr’s internal compartment before dispatching him to your room. At the very least I won’t have to tip butlers whenever they put their palm out.
Incorporating robotic in hotel front office and check-in as well as in housekeeping and kitchens would definitely be a sight to behold. In fact, International Federation of Robotics predicts strong growth in a variety of applications before the end of this decade.
3-D Printing is another area that may have profound effects on a number of hospitality operation areas including in the kitchens, engineering, guest amenities and other related areas. If spares can be printed on-demand, associated costs will probably change. On a larger scale, even complete hotel buildings can be 3-D. A number of companies are already experimenting with 3-D food printers for the domestic markets. How much longer before 3-D printers render room-service obsolete? When 3-D printed foods gain wide acceptance in the domestic markets, it has implications for take-away and eat-in restaurants alike. Print your lunch order instantly!
Spotted in a model Four Points’ room, a smart mirror embedded with a customized touch screen display populated with things like your email, Twitter feed, sports scores, or headlines would likely be common hotel feature by 2099. Designed to replace the full-length mirrors in rooms, these would allow you to cross a few things off your to-do list while brushing your teeth. Although not a fully developed concept, it is definitely something that I would love to see in Nigerian hotels.
In conclusion, high-tech gadgets are becoming a part of our everyday life. Like with the mobile phone, we are starting to be addicted; depending on them for our daily actions. As technology advances, so do these gadgets that we are fond of. We are constantly amazed by the new concepts created by young and ambitious designers. Not only will these hi-tech hotels of the future be cool, it has the potential to save money too. 2099 seems like such an understatement if one considers the rate at which innovative ideas are being incorporated into the hotel industry. We do hope to see these technology sooner…at least in our lifetime.