Travel back to 1950, and you'll be sure to find a well written and animated article on the subject – the hotel room of the future.
It's an interesting subject for those involved in the hotel industry, a culmination of unhinged literary creativity, and fairly logical projections based on the trends and technology of the day.
More than ever, hoteliers will in the future strive to offer unique and personalized experiences to guests and to immerse them in an environment that is closest to their ideal throughout their stay. The changes and advancements in the hotel business have always been driven by this quest, and with technology, the leverage is greatly increased.
Futuristic hotel room. | Idolza
In the hotel business, there is a race towards automation and robotics that in a couple of decades from now, hotels are expected to re-introduce human concierges and attendants. This will be in a bid to revive the personal touch that will be missing from a lot of service provisions. One can expect, that the stoic, friendly, discreet, and polite hotel attendant will be a character that is re-introduced after robot butlers become less popular.
It's not all bad news for technology however, as it's expected that technology, drives augmented reality which in turn drives seamless guest-specific customisations. The hotel will eventually evolve past one block of rooms with similar themes into a grouping of less dependent room units that are differently customized on an as-needed basis to have themes and settings required by the guest.
Interactions that guests traditionally have with rooms are driven by sight, smell, and touch. In the future, these interactions will be redefined with at least a fourth added sense – sound. Window panes will be transformed into a gateway to the guests imagined destinations – a stretch of the Sahara, or the heart of the Amazon. The walls will change colors through light to match the guest's mood and temperament. The boring mirror will be transformed into an interactive surface through which guests can input room commands or access the Internet. The guest is expected to be immersed into a realistic augmented environment where theme-specific ambient sounds, smells and feel are programmed to his taste.
The gym experience will likely also be affected as rooms are even today, being merged with the gym. Simple set-ups like the treadmill or the workout bike can be coupled with augmented reality to provide outdoor-like experiences for the guest as they exercise – a walk, jog, or run through Thames Park, Central Park or the Harbour of Sydney – all from atop a mechanical contraption.
The bed, this is the single most important and prominent feature of any hotel room. One imagines that in years to come, the science of levitation is fully mastered and that guests will be treated to resting on floating masses of warmth and softness, with an ever so gentle rock now and then as guests retire for the day.
Voice control, a novelty of sorts today will tomorrow be a norm. All functions and room settings that are typically controlled by a button or a tap will be controlled hands-free in tomorrow's hotel room, all with a voice command or two. Already, Best Western and Accor line of hotels such as Best Western Lagos, Starfire and Hotel Ibis.
"Simple set-ups like the treadmill or the workout bike can be coupled with augmented reality to provide outdoor-like experiences for the guest as they exercise – a walk, jog, or run through Thames Park, Central Park or the Harbour of Sydney – all from atop a mechanical contraption,"
Several other impressive and guest-centric features that revolve around technology will define the future of the hotel room. All the advancements will be geared towards making the guest feel like a queen, a customer to be tended to and fêted on one hand, a guest who knows what she wants and is unafraid to take charge on the other hand.
It will be all about the guest, giving them control, providing them impeccable services, and customizing every aspect of their stay to the closest that technology's complex algorithms will allow.
The future is a long time away, but if I witness these changes, I will be glad to sit back and say "what did I tell you?!".