By Alan Young
Witnessing the gradual advancement and disruption of technology and services is an exciting, and sometimes industry-altering concept, as our world continues to evolve at a seemingly rapid pace to meet modern demands. Generations today know (and love) the likes of Netflix and Crave TV, for example, but many of us also remember the popularity of Blockbuster video — a formerly successful business model which now, doesn't even exist. And those of us who used to cling enthusiastically to our flip phones whilst playing 'Brick Breaker', likely upgraded to iPhones with their robust connectivity capabilities and exciting, modern updates. What about MSN or AOL messenger? Kodak photography? Dial-up internet, and wall-mounted landline phones? Our world is ever-changing, and while the needs of consumers are, ultimately, the drivers of that change — sometimes it feels like we are wide-eyed spectators along for the ride.
The hospitality industry is no exception, as we look back to a (relatively recent) time when the concept of entering a hotel room without a key card seemed entirely futuristic and out of reach. The hospitality experience was largely impersonal and, more often than not, in need of a drastic update. But as of 2018, things are different. Hoteliers have their ears to the ground as they work to understand and anticipate modern guest expectations, continuously offering more creative and personalized travel experiences. Amenities are robust, hyper-personalization is the norm, upgrades boast a discernible wow-factor, the mobile experience is prioritized and, for perhaps the first time ever, hotels are actively getting ahead of technological trends.
With this in mind, we've taken a look at those hotels which are positioned to offer the most innovative and ambitious experiences to their guests in 2019 (and beyond).
Embracing the Lobby Evolution with Vibrant Design: The Hotel Silken Puerta Am érica
Modern travels have demonstrated an obvious penchant for unique, Instagram-worthy aesthetics within the hotels they frequent. In the case of Hotel Silken, nineteen of the world's best architects came together to create unique rooms on every floor. Think white caves, sharp lines, red lacquered walls and a focus on business and b-leisure travel with 1000-person capacity meeting and event rooms.
For the Tech-Savvy Traveler: Yotel
Yotel prides itself on offering everything the modern guest needs, and nothing they don't. Each room is a small, but perfectly-formed cabin to ensure guests can enjoy their stay without exhausting their budget for leisure while visiting major, tourist cities.
Yotel appeals specifically to the tech-savvy traveler craving efficiency, with electronic check-in terminals, a robot named Yobot to take care of your luggage, space-saving motorized beds, motion-activated air conditioning, super-fast Wi-Fi and innovative design.
The Budget Traveler's Shangria-La: Citizen M
Citizen M has created a reputation for itself as a leader in the modern hospitality space by adopting to a low-cost, high-end design property model. Rather than investing in reception, concierge or room service, Citizen M offers a self-service model with self-check in and living room-inspired lobbies. Check-in and check-out take one minute, with your invoice automatically mailed to you. Each room is notoriously stylish and decked out with high-tech upgrades, king size beds, free on-demand movies, unlimited Wi-Fi and more. The hotel also employs ambassadors rather than front desk staff, which are there to help you find whatever you need (but otherwise, they leave you alone).
Embracing the Mobile Revolution: Hilton Hotels
The mobile experience is one which simply can't be ignored within the hospitality realm — a movement which becomes ever-apparent when looking at Hilton's efforts to ramp up their mobile guest journey. With technological innovation in mind, Hilton guests can now unlock their rooms using their smartphone, whilst Honors members can also select exact rooms they want, order room service, chat with hotel representatives and more through their phone.
Marrying the Past with the Future: Effleston Square Pimlico
Effleston Square Pimlico appeals to our desire for cutting-edge technology, while staying true to historical, British flair. The exterior of the property mimics that of a striking 19th Century Grade II listed historical facade, while the interior offers keypads to control music and lighting, user-controlled frosted shower walls and flat-screen TVs embedded in bathroom mirrors. Even better, each guest is provided with an iPad that connects them with a concierge service, all from the comfort of their room.
A Sustainable Future: 1 Hotels
Modern travelers, millennials especially, admit that much of their consumer loyalty is derived from the idea of shared values with those brands they frequent. With this in mind, establishing an eco-friendly approach to the future of hospitality is ever-important. 1 Hotels is a leader in this space, offering a modern take on sustainability within their hotels by utilizing recycled and repurposed natural materials throughout communal spaces and rooms. They even have Teslas available to hotel guests and are knowing for collaborating with artists to raise awareness for Earth-friendly causes. Their Haitang Bay hotel, which is currently in development, will even feature an on-site farm with fresh, organic fruits, and veggies to supply its restaurants.