The dawn of the New Year will bring forth new fads, trends and innovations. We take a look at some of the elements that will help shape travel in the coming year.
Technology is once again the main focus in the travel industry and we’ve already seen it being adopted with open arms. In terms of software, we’ve begun to see the smartphone become the most essential accessory for travellers due to the multitude of apps available in the market. The Starwood Group has started maximising its SPG App to allow for a seamless way of checking in and out and also utilising the smart device itself to unlock room doors for guests’ convenience. Restaurants are also banking on several new apps that will allow its customers to book and reserve tables as well as order items off the menu and even pay for them straight from the device itself.
RISE OF THE MACHINES
Robotics are emerging as a viable option for businesses and hotels. Although we won’t see a full emergence of robots in 2015, there’s no denying that this will be the year when automated smart machines will make their mark. In China and Japan, there are already restaurants utilising robot chefs to prepare and cook meals. Robot bartenders are also at work preparing cocktails on board the state-of-the-art cruise liner Quantum of the Seas. Aloft Hotels are also testing a robot butler called the ‘Botler’ at its property in California. Although in trial stages, the ‘Botler’ does have its advantages as it is equipped to ferry items such as amenities to guests around the clock.
SOCIAL MEDIA & COMMUNITY
Travellers are now leaning towards social media sites and community-based websites to gain knowledge and travel information. TripAdvisor, the front runner of these travel-based sites has seen a rise in users accessing the site for tips to best tailor their holidays, whilst sites like Eatwith.com and Bookalokal.com are gaining popularity among travellers looking to inject a more local feel to their breaks. Both sites offer travellers a chance to savour home cooked meals and classes from locals themselves in their homes, similar to the concept of AirBnB. And in social media, the ‘Braggie’ is set to overtake the ‘selfie’ as the in-thing to do in 2015. The ‘Braggie’ involves its users snapping and posting their travel photos that showcase themselves in exotic surroundings, or with views from within hotel rooms.
2014 was the year of AirBnB but 2015 is set to be the year of Poshtels. According to the World Travel Market (WTM), there has been a rise in the number of hybrid hotel/motels in the last year, which has given more weight to this unique accommodation offering. Poshtels have started appealing to travellers due to what they offer – a cost-effective accommodation complete with creature comforts of high-end establishments. There has already been an increase in establishments offering this new accommodation concept that’s not only trendy and relatively affordable with rooms priced as low as USD30 to USD80 a night, but Poshtels are also evidently good for the economy as they are targeted to boost the European travel market by as much as USD330 million in the coming year.