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“Not even Wi-Fi” in the hotel of the future

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Hotels of tomorrow – where will the journey take us? An interview with Oona Horx-Strathern, a trend expert with the renowned Zukunftsinstitut, which released a study of its own on this topic.

1) A lot of people think of hotel trends as pie in the sky. Which of today’s trends do you think hoteliers should definitely be following?

When all hotels are “smart” and “digital”, analog hotels will emerge as a countertrend. They may not even have Wi-Fi. The 25hours Hotel Vienna has turned Room 509 into an “analog room” with a typewriter, a record player, and solid, easy-to-use light switches. Some societal trends will continue to develop, such as the sustainability trend: companies like zerobnb.com have started offering CO2-free hotel stays. The Vegan Suite at the London Hilton is another example. We’ll be seeing a number of vegan hotels pop up in the next few years.

2) Hotels are becoming more and more digital. How can hoteliers continue appealing to guests on an emotional level and build customer loyalty?

Our “hotels of the future” study isn’t titled “The Empathic Hotel” for nothing. You can’t create empathy through digitalization. The heart of a good hotel will always be a host who genuinely makes guests feel welcome. At Henn na, Japan’s first robot hotel, they’ve just let the robots go because they tended to annoy guests more than anything.

3) Will there still be concrete decor trends in the future, or will it be more like, “Do whatever makes you happy?”

More and more hotels are starting to develop their own unique styles. Many places have emerged as independent “design destinations”, places where guests can draw inspiration for their own apartments and buy designer products in the shops. The Hotel Zoo in Berlin, for example, has its own shop on its website where you can purchase just about anything you can think of, from its designer towels to jewelry boxes to specially designed hotel-brand items like nail polish and pajamas.

The experts at Villeroy & Boch have been giving the hotel of the future quite a bit of thought as well. They released some of their findings in a study >> 

Future of Hotels Digitalisation

Oona Horx-Strathern / Image: Klaus Vyhnalek

About Oona Horx-Strathern
Oona Horx-Strathern is from London. She has been a trend researcher, consultant, speaker and author for over 20 years. She has written books on the history of futurology, the architecture of the future, and participated in numerous studies at the Zukunftsinstitut. As a trend consultant she worked for international companies such as Unilever, Beiersdorf and Deutsche Bank. The spectrum of her appearances ranges from architect conferences and universities to the construction and design industries.

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