VR and personalised rooms – IHG reveals a vision for the future of luxury hotels

As it celebrates its 70th anniversary, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has revealed its vision for the future of luxury travel and hospitality in the next 70 years.

The company has sought the expertise of futurist Faith Popcorn, who has provided IHG with a series of innovations that she believes will become prevalent in the coming decades. These include virtual reality, in-house experiences that can be tailored almost exactly to guests’ requirements, and access to “never-before-explored locations and immersive experiences”.

“In envisioning with InterContinental Hotel & Resorts to mark their 70-year anniversary, we’ve forecast what the future holds for luxury travel,” Ms Popcorn said. “Consumers will be craving immersive experiences which will allow them to indulge in luxury in both a physical and a virtual sense. 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.”

Virtual reality will become a key feature in the hotels of the future, according to IHG
Virtual reality will become a key feature in the hotels of the future, according to IHG

Ms Popcorn’s vision focuses on providing “escapism and immersive brand experiences” for guests. This will be achieved through the use of VR, which she believes will enable guests to share their adventures with friends and family wherever in the world they are.

“Guests and their loved ones can enjoy simulated adventures in real-time, whether it be a walk through the Serengeti or an ocean swim with extinct marine life,” Ms Popcorn predicted.

Luxury hotels will also partner with fashion brands, according to the futurist, to sponsor guests’ in-room wardrobes. This could even include 3D-printed designer clothing, with wardrobes customised to guests’ personal tastes, size and local weather conditions.

And finally, Ms Popcorn believes that as luxury travel becomes more mainstream, high-end travellers will seek “more extreme and unattainable experiences”. And hotels can cater to this market by providing guests with “game-like environments for fantasy escapes”, she added.

In line with this vision for the future of luxury travel, InterContinental has teamed up with interior designer Tara Bernerd, for the development of the brand’s new design concept.

“InterContinental Hotels & Resorts are constantly looking to evolve their interiors and aesthetic to make their properties more unique and luxurious for guests. Interior architecture and design play a very powerful part of a guest’s experience and I am delighted to be supporting InterContinental Hotels & Resorts on their new design philosophy that will hope to see them continue to push the boundaries of luxury travel into the future,” said Ms Bernerd.

And the new design philosophy could be radically different to existing luxury hotels. The futurist envisions that the physical structure of buildings is expected to change “dramatically” in the next 70 years, with new architectural solutions being created to fit to the changing landscape. And guests are expected to be able to tailor their room designs to their personal needs, from holographic wall art to fully adjustable interior designs.

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