One of the world's largest hotel firms has predicted that travelers will increasingly pick destinations where they can learn as well as relax.
The forecast, made as part of a series of trends identified by InterContinental Hotels Group (the firm behind Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza), suggests that the desire to learn more will increasingly influence our destination decisions.
This could lead to the growth of the Brain Spa, predicts IHG, city center sites where people can stimulate their minds with content to be consumed when it's convenient for them, in a lunch hour or after work, for instance.
In hotels, it could lead to more services with an emphasis on mental wellbeing, such as the Minibar for the Mind dreamt up by luxury chain Morgans last year.
The firm consulted experts from across travel and fashions to come up with its trends report, which was released this week. Among the other trends they identified:
Our travel and lifestyle patterns are changing, and fast. Major cities are expanding, but microcities are also stepping up, with residents rushing to 'decenter' and create new neighborhoods. Airports will be the future hearts of our large cities, the report suggests, and 'urban oases' -- relaxation at the heart of the metropolis -- will grow increasingly prevalent. One of the best examples is in Dubai, and while the enormous airport taking shape at Al Maktoum International Airport will be a unique city-in-an-airport achievement for a while (dubbed the 'aerotropolis'), it's unlikely to be the last.
Lifestyle indulgence, instead of high-cost one-offs, is likely to become increasingly common in the future, IHG predicts. That means more stores where the emphasis is on experience, rather than product, such as the House of Barbie, M&M's World and Mercedes-Benz World. BMW was something of a pioneer here, opening up the enormous BMW World complex in Munich to blend product with experience.
The Internet of Things
This is a well-worn trend, but IHG predicts that for travel it will mean a greatly enhanced experience, with consumers able to send an order to the kitchen from their iPad or order the sheets that they love to their home after a great night's rest. Yotel has started this virtual service trend with the Yobot, a robot concierge available at its New York City property -- expect much more where this came from.
FourSquare check-in, anyone? Expect more rewards for playing games with brands (InterContinental teamed with TopGuest for this), as well as co-creation of new products with increasingly 'open brands'. Sometimes this will be used for good -- the Green Bank of Caraga in the Phillipines, for example, offers a bank account to help smokers quit, returning money if they're successful, which has been quoted as being the most effective anti-smoking aid in the world.
Read the full report at http://issuu.com/shinecomms/docs/ihgtrendreport2012