The Future In Focus
Business Traveller UK|February 2020
In the decades to come, travel will be transformed by technology and environmental concerns. Here are some of the ideas that may shape our future travels

MOBILE HOTELS

The first consideration for every property you book is its location, but what if the hotel could move to where you really wanted it? Cooper Carry Architects won 2019’s Radical Innovation Design Award for Hospitality for its “Connectic” concept (pictured above and left). The octahedral structure can be installed anywhere – for example, for temporary use in a park or green space, attached to an existing building or filling a space between buildings.

CLEAR VISION

Hotel operations software company Guestline predicts the widespread integration of glass walls that can double as voice-controlled TVs or become digital wallpaper. Bathrooms will also be clad in glass, although a simple voice command will make them opaque when you’re looking for privacy.

AI BEDS AND SMART MIRRORS

Smart mirrors will be installed in hotels of the future, according to Yotel. It surveyed 2,000 UK travellers and 72 per cent said they expected hotels to have hyper-integrated walls with interactive mirrors by 2050. Respondents also said they expected AI-assisted beds that morph to fit the sleeper’s body shape and sense sleep cycles, and retract when not in use.

BIOMETRICS AND VOICE ACTIVATION

You’ll pay for your hotel using fingerprints, iris scans and facial recognition, as well as unlock room doors, according to Oracle Hospitality’s report Hotel 2025. Sound scary? Well, Yotel asked travellers what they envisioned in hotels in 2050 and 88 per cent favoured facial recognition for room access. Voice commands are expected to regulate lighting, air con and heating in hotel rooms, according to Guestline, and smart showers will detect the optimal temperature by registering the heat levels from a guest’s touch.

GOING UP IN THE WORLD

Students Ruslan Mannapov and Airat Zaidullin won the student category of 2019’s Radical Innovation Design Award for Hospitality for their “Rooftop Hotel Gardens” design – metallic and glass modules allowing additional rooms with great skyline views.

AERODYNAMICS

The “Flying V” (above) is a prototype being funded by KLM and developed by a Dutch university. Its aerodynamic shape reduces fuel burn by 20 per cent compared with an A350 and the passenger cabins, cargo hold and fuel tanks are located in its wings, which fit within existing gate infrastructure. KLM says the design would “improve passenger experience, from the seating layout in the wings, to the design of the seats and bathrooms”.

Airbus recently trialled wing tips that flap in the wind (right). They are designed to move like an albatross’s wings to minimise the effects of turbulence.

EVTOLS

Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing aircraftare all-electric and companies such as Volocopter (pictured), Lilium, Uber and Airbus are developing models. They could revolutionise urban mobility, although regulatory approval will depend on safety considerations and how people react to them flying low overhead.

SEAT DESIGN

The growth of premium economy may see new types of seat emerge. The design pictured on the right, by UK firm Universal Movement, folds to create two firm “wings” on both sides that add privacy and allow you to rest your head.

Can business class get any better? Mike Crump, brand experience director at Acumen Design Associates, believes aircraftinteriors could become more flexible, with options for dual dining, double beds, family areas and work spaces, breaking down class structures.

The biggest changes are likely to be in technology – for example, facial recognition syncing your IFE to your personal accounts and adjusting your comfort preferences, and immersive experiences provided via OLED screens.

GOING ELECTRIC

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