After an eight-month collaborative effort, which included regular, virtual meet-and-greets on a custom-built HOT airship in the metaverse, a team of more than 200 including representatives from Hilton, IHG, and Marriott hotels, as well as experts in technology and hospitality high school students unveiled seven future hotel concepts.
These concepts are the result of the Hotel of Tomorrow (HOT Project), a global think tank of hospitality industry leaders. Selected entries from the organization’s previous Hotel of Tomorrow project, in 2020, can be viewed here.
“When you come together and collaborate with many of the most innovative minds in the hospitality industry, from owners and operators to technology and product gurus, you discover insights and foresight that could reset direction. for the future of our industry,” said Ron Swidler, program creator and chief innovation officer of The Gettys Group Companies, a Chicago-based hospitality design, development and consulting firm.
“Guest expectations of hotels are rapidly changing how they serve and protect guests, replace and complement human service with technology, serve their communities, act sustainably, operate more flexibly, and more,” did he declare. “These are complex issues that require a diversity of thought and expertise.”
Hospitality professionals, technology experts and product developers from the Hotel of Tomorrow project focused on the most pressing issues affecting their future: automation, personalization, modularity, sustainability, visualization, well-being and community . A new generation of future hoteliers has also contributed to the project by participating in the HOT Ed™ Challenge, a global design competition between students from top universities. Over eight hundred ideas were generated through facilitated workshops, seven of which are shared with the public.
Here are some hotel concepts that travelers might expect to encounter one day:
Robotic reset. A changing guest room that incorporates automated, retractable, and revealing furniture, as well as robot-supplied elements to meet changing guest needs. Smart furnishings incorporated into walls, floors and ceilings allow guests to exercise, dine, rest and work in the same room. Beds rise into the ceiling, providing room for robot-provided exercise equipment, and lounge seats emerge from the floor for socializing. The result: more efficient use of space and a dynamic living environment aided by automation.
Meaning & Satisfying Suite. The pinnacle of hospitality customization, this guest suite anticipates the needs of each occupant. Biological sensors distributed throughout the room monitor a customer’s well-being and interaction and communicate via voice and holography. An anti-gravity sleep and mindfulness chamber monitors vital signs while making ambient adjustments including light, audio, temperature, and air quality. A holographic pet is available for the restless child in need of a companion, and a built-in smart window, smart phone supports conversation and entertainment with AI-sorted data. Meal options are determined by dietary needs detected by waste analysis. The result: a personalized guest experience that serves and responds to each guest’s needs, allowing them to leave better than they arrived.
Rebuildable buildings. A mechanized meeting room built with modular and mobile components can be assembled and reassembled by robotic automation. Programmed in advance, the banquet stage, tables and chairs configure and position themselves. A modular chandelier can be programmed to adopt a variety of shapes and create a myriad of visual effects. Holographic tabletop monitors transmit stage screen data to the viewer, and robots are available to reconfigure modular flooring and even lay tables. The result: a highly flexible ballroom/meeting space, reset by automation using modular components that can reduce and reuse waste.
Restorative station. The functionality of underutilized pool areas is transformed with the introduction of self-contained mini accommodation units. Inspired by the popularity of ‘glamping’, these mobile prefab units offer a private retreat for two or even a small group. Powered by solar energy and cooled and heated by geothermal technology, they provide a biophilic environment in an often underused part of a resort. The result: a new customer experience that capitalizes on indoor/outdoor spaces for retreating and dining.
A(R) World in Plain Site. An augmented reality overlay accessible via any smart device, this data-driven system enhances the customer experience by providing self-curated information, message boards, weather and air quality updates. tune in to updates of hotel activities. This information is available in the language and readability scale chosen by the customer. The result: a comprehensive layer of real-time, actionable information available to customers through their own devices.
Energy center hotel. This building model anticipates advances in localized energy collection, storage and distribution. The skin of the building consists of a flexible and translucent photovoltaic skin which absorbs solar energy, which is stored in the basement of the structure and distributed to neighboring buildings. This multi-purpose/multi-use building (hotel + other) uses its virtual model (created for design and construction) as a real-time digital twin to track and display information about the actual building performance. The result: a hotel building created to better serve its community, including energy supply.
The seventh concept – dubbed SpaX – is the winning entry of the HOT Ed Challenge, designed by a team from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki, Finland. Targeting underutilized hotel spaces, SpaX taps into Finnish culture and tradition to create an immersive and wholesome experience: forest bathing, ice swimming, and more. Designed as a sanctuary within a bustling urban hotel, SpaX combines ancient healing traditions with technology-enhanced multi-sensory components in a restful environment designed to meet the needs of stressed travelers.