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Despite stalled growth in China, Brazil and Russia, a wave of newly middle-class travelers from the BRICs and beyond will start visiting international destinations in the coming decades — dwarfing the numbers we’ve seen thus far.
Most of these are for hotel rooms of today, smart incremental improvement in guest experience and hotel room efficiency. The Hotel Room of the Future will need a lot more than this.
Everyone — from the big chains to the small indies — in the hotel industry has been trying to figure out the future habits of the digital-savvy traveler, and what that would mean to develop the hotel room of the future. Some of these efforts are being led by the industry, and some by hospitality schools around the world.
One such effort recently was a university-industry hybrid, organized School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) with local Hong Kong independent hotel Hotel Icon: a global competition to find innovations that would become part of hotel rooms of tomorrow
And after a month long entry process, 8 winners were chosen, and the winning services/products will be tested and researched in three “Tomorrow’s Guestrooms” at Hotel Icon for six months. Most of these, as you will see below, are smart but incremental innovations for today, and the near tomorrow.
The winning innovations:
- Neobar and E-Tray, by Bartech: Fitted with energy efficient compressors using an eco-friendly refrigerant and equipped with detection capabilities, Neobar can maximize efficiency of minibar operation.
- HD Weave Carpet by Brintons Carpets: HD weave carpet is produced by a patented carpet loom that can weave up to 32 colors.
- SuperDock DN 7000 by DNet Solution: Using electro-magnetic induction, the dock works with all kinds of smart devices with built-in speakers. It also comes with USB charger ports and alarm clock.
- Guest Communication Center by Fingi: GCC is a multiple charging station, with an IP speakerphone and can be the room’s Internet access point.
- AElement by Salto Systems Asia: The wireless locking system allows cellphone to act as contactless data carrier to open and control access controlled doors.
- TELY by Service Technology Partners: With TELY, the call agent can communicate visually with the guests by pushing media and information like room service, dining, way finding, etc. to the TV screen.
- iFlyPad by Spicy Innovations: iFlyPad is a suction pad that works on all smartphones and tablets. It can be used in many locations from back seats of flights to suitable surfaces in bathroom and kitchen.
- Hotel ONAIR by VDA Asia Pacific: The guests can experience the hotel by viewing its offerings and city attractions, and stream their own music, videos and pictures wirelessly to the TV.
WSJ Asia did a short video on these winners, embedded below: