The hotel industry looks to the future, with far-out ideas from robot bellhops to rooms that monitor your health. How can hoteliers best serve the road warrior of 2025? What technology will future tourists expect in their Travelodge? Those are the questions that led Chicago-based design firm Gettys and the Hospitality Design Group earlier this year to gather 100 industry experts, drawn from companies such as Starwood Hotels (Charts), Whirlpool (Charts), and strategy firm Phillips & Co.
The result: 1,000 game-changing ideas, many of which were unveiled at the Global Exposition and Conference for Hospitality Design in Miami in September. "No other project has brought together so many people from different industries and recognizable companies for a single cause," says Ron Swidler, Gettys's senior vice president. "The hotel industry has historically been slow to change, but it has embraced this project."
So while robot bellhops and health-monitoring bathrooms may seem far-fetched, you'd better believe hotels are eyeing them for the long term. One of this year's top ideas - turning hotels into retail showrooms where guests can try out and then buy any of the items on display - has already been implemented by chains such as Hyatt and Kimpton.
Next up, experts say, are "lifestyle" hotels built around themes and co-branded with large companies: say, an athletic-themed Nike hotel brought to you by Starwood. In the meantime, check out the industry's best ideas for the future of checking in.
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