There's an adage that has been doing the rounds in the Middle East through the past few months: The difference between science fiction and science is "time". It has indeed taken time, but the Middle East and the GCC regions are getting off the oil train and jumping onto the digital transformation bandwagon. This has not only revolutionized common standards in the present, but also has drastically changed the possibilities of the future.
In celebration of its 100th anniversary, today, the Hilton has released its predictions for future trends likely to dominate the travel and hospitality industry through the coming century — and it sure looks like consumers' dreams will come true. Brands are talking about intergalactic getaways, fast-food nutrient pills, working merely 2-3 hours a day, and experiencing adaptable, personalized rooms that can transport guests anywhere from jungles to mountain ranges.
“Since its inception in 1919, Hilton pioneered changes in the hospitality industry, introducing [then] first-to-market concepts such as air-conditioning and in-room televisions. Last year, Hilton also became the first hospitality company to set science-based targets to reduce its environmental impact,” said Simon Vincent, EVP & President, EMEA, Hilton. “We enter our second century with the same commitment to innovation, harnessing the power of our people and technology to respond to guest demands. Our research paints an exciting future for the hospitality industry, highlighting the growing importance of human interaction in an increasingly tech-centric world.”
In its report supported by expert insights from the fields of sustainability, innovation, design, human relations, and nutrition, Hilton reveals fascinating findings about how the growing sophistication of technology and climate change will impact the hotel industry in the near future.
Personalization is key
Technology will allow every space, fitting and furnishing to continuously update to respond to an individual’s real-time needs. The lobby will conjure up anything from a tranquil spa to a buzzy bar, giving every guest the perfect, personal welcome.
Hospitality will move from temperature- and lighting-control, to virtual- and real-time entertainment and beyond. Microchips will enable us to wirelessly control the setting around us based on what we need, whenever we need it – creating an experience that is highly personalized and unique to each individual's wants and needs.
The human touch
In a world where Artificial Intelligence becomes ubiquitous, human contact and the personal touch will be more critical and sought after. While repetitive lower-order work will be handled by 'smart' machines, technology will free up time for hotel staff to focus on what matters most: helping guests to connect with one another and building memorable moments.
“In 2119, we will still be searching for unique experiences, but they will be more personalized than ever. As technology shapes our lives we will seek out moments of offline connection with others, including hotel team members who will help us truly get what we need from our stays. 100 years from now, hotels will have to create opportunities to converse, collaborate and connect, delivering moments that matter, individually, to each and every guest,” said Futurologist Gerd Leonhard.
‘Sustainable Everything’ – The role of responsibility
Only businesses that are inherently responsible will survive the next century. Sustainability will be baked into everything about a hotel’s design – from weather-proofed domes, to buildings made from ocean-dredged plastic.
Hotels will act as the Town Hall of any community, managing local resources and contributing to the areas they serve with community-tended insect farms and vertical hydroponic crop gardens.
One of things that could be truly revolutionary is our diets. Research indicates that not only will people move to plant-based diets and surprising sources of protein, there's a chance it will soon be in high demand! You can expect to see Beetle Bolognese, Plankton Pies and Seaweed Green Velvet Cake on fine-dining menus!
Moreover, decadent 3D-printed dinners and room service will provide unrivaled plate personalization.
Chefs will be provided with biometric data for each guest, hence, creating meals based on preferences and nutritional requirements.
Futuristic Fitness and Digital Detoxes
Hotel guests can expect experiences to out-swim a virtual sea turtle in the pools, or challenge themselves to climb the digital face of Mount Everest – exercise routines will be as unique based on each person's interests. What’s more, exercise energy generated from workouts will be used to power the hotel, providing a zero-impact, circular system. Guests could even earn rewards based on reaching workout targets. That's right! This is no longer merely a Black Mirror episode, this is the reality we are moving toward!
Hotel guests will be able to pick up where they left off with trackable workouts across the globe and holographic personal trainers. Offline is projected to be the new luxury as people seek to find moments of tech-free time!