Marking its 70-year anniversary, InterContinental Hotels Group has teamed up with Fortune 500 specialist futurist, Faith Popcorn, to predict the future of luxury travel.

The travel trends report focuses on guest experience, service, destinations as well as hotel design and places Virtual Reality (VR) escapism and immersive brand experiences as key elements which will shape service and guest experiences in the future of luxury travel.

Futurist Faith Popcorn commented: “Consumers will be craving immersive experiences which will allow them to indulge in luxury in both a physical and a virtual sense. By harnessing VR 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.”

Examples of some of the predictions include: VR technology that will enable real-time sharing of adventure and luxury among friends or family who are spread around the world; hotels partnering with fashion brands to sponsor guests’ inroom wardrobes, complete with 3D printed designer clothing and customisation to suit personal tastes based on online shopping habits, size and local weather conditions; and, as luxury becomes more accessible, an increased demand from consumers for more extreme and un-attainable experiences facilitated by hotels with game-like environments for fantasy escapes.

With 70% of the world’s population estimated to be urban by 2050, the design and structure of luxury hotels is also expected to change with brands set to adopt new architectural solutions such as ‘building down’, to fit to the changing landscape. The report suggests that VR will evolve interior design so that it can be tailored by guests, and luxury travel will offer access to never-before-explored locations and immersive experiences. As an example it predicts that guests will be able to design spaces specifically tailored to their personal aesthetics and needs, from customisable holographic wall art to fully adjustable interior design.

Currently the hotel group is developing the Songjiang Quarry Hotel in China. Built in a 90m deep quarry outside of Shanghai, the hotel boasts cascading waterfalls, extreme sport facilities such as bungee jumping and rock climbing, underwater bedrooms and plans to power the luxury resort with geothermal and solar energy.

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