NATIONAL REPORT—What is the next big thing? As InterContinental Hotels & Resorts celebrates 70 years and looks ahead to the future, the brand has teamed up with Fortune 500 Futurist Faith Popcorn to forecast luxury travel trends.
“As the world’s first truly international hotel brand with five-star properties located in more than 60 countries, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts provides travelers a luxurious guest experience by offering international know-how and local cultural wisdom,” shared Jason Moskal, VP, lifestyle brands at IHG – InterContinental Hotels Group. “Each InterContinental Hotels & Resort property—from historic buildings to city landmarks and immersive resorts—offers its own distinctive style, making it an ideal brand for travelers with discerning tastes.”
“In envisioning with InterContinental Hotel & Resorts to mark their 70-year anniversary, we’ve forecasted what the future holds for luxury travel. Consumers will be craving immersive experiences, which will allow them to indulge in luxury in both a physical and a virtual sense,” explained Popcorn.
So, what exactly lies ahead? In short, the future of modern travel will be eye-opening and deeply engaging. Faith Popcorn and Jason Moskal share a glimpse of what to expect:
No longer the stuff of sci-fi movies, virtual reality (VR) technology is here and its advances are taking us beyond what we thought was possible. According to Popcorn, VR will be a form of escapism, and immersive brand experiences will shape service and guest experiences in the future.
“By harnessing virtual reality and the constant flow of personal likes, dislikes and bio-data, hotels will be able to provide guests with once-in-a-lifetime experiences seamlessly and spontaneously, or so it will seem,” Popcorn said.
When it comes to clothing, you can leave home without it. Hotels will know so much about its guests in the future from data collected on their shopping habits, size and weather conditions. This will enable hotels to offer travelers clothing based on their personal preferences. According to Popcorn, hotels will partner with fashion brands to sponsor in-room wardrobes, as well as 3D-printed designer clothing.
Luxury will no longer be the sole domain of the rich. The everyday traveler will crave unique adventures and moments, with hotels responding to demand by providing game-like environments for fantasy escapes.
“What I find most interesting about Faith Popcorn’s outlook on world experiences is that travelers seek to be fully immersed in authentic culture and local surroundings of their destination, rather than only having surface-level exposure to many destinations at one time. That being said, the desire for unique experiences that can’t be purchased is what really drives experienced global travelers,” Moskal said.
According to the brand, Popcorn has a 95% accuracy rate, so it is highly possible these predictions will come to fruition. In the coming years, hoteliers will need to adapt and ride the waves of the future, or drown. According to Moskal, the brand has already set its sights squarely on what’s coming next.
“InterContinental Hotel & Resorts is breaking new territory with the development of the Songjiang Quarry Hotel in China. The hotel is set to be built in a 90-m deep quarry outside of Shanghai. Featuring cascading waterfalls, extreme sport facilities such as bungee jumping and rock climbing, underwater bedrooms and cutting-edge conference facilities, it is set to be the greenest hotel ever built, with plans to power the luxury resort with geothermal and solar energy,” Moskal said. “Here in the Americas, the brand is opening the InterContinental Downtown Los Angeles property. Opening in 2017 and standing 73 stories tall, the Wilshire Grand building will be the tallest building in the western United States.”