Posts filed under ‘research’

Hotel Features in the Near and Far Future

Have you thought about where you’ll be vacationing in the next few years? Maybe about the hotel or resort you’ll be staying in?

Maybe you haven’t thought about that last part, but I guarantee you will after reading this post!

As I’ve been doing my research, I’ve found some really cool features that hotels are adopting to attract guests and make their stay as enjoyable as possible, and many of them are really cool and cutting edge. I’ve listed some conceptualized features (that haven’t been implemented yet) and actualized features below so that you can see what changes are being made in some hotels that make trickle down to more economic hotels over the next several years.

Conceptualized Features

  • A “bacteria bomb” that sets off when a guest checks into a room to make sure it is really clean.
  • To counteract the amount of technology, a “living wall” of vegetation. The wall would have a built-in water and lighting system, and would also serve as an air-filtering device.
  • A room that can change environments and morph into different configurations with just the touch of a button.
  • Health-monitoring rooms: These rooms might have sensors in the toilet to measure blood sugar in your urine or infrared cameras that track your body temperature and send a message to regulate the thermostat in your room.

Actualized Features

  • Iris-scanning technology: The Nine Zero Hotel in Boston uses this alternative for its Cloud Nine Suite instead of using a key card to open the room.
  • Self-check-in kiosks: This is used in several hotels already. Instead of having to wait in line at the front desk of a hotel, geusts can swipe their credit card at the kiosk and get a room key in just minutes.
  • The “Pure Room”: The St. Martin’s Lane Hotel in London has implemented this feature. The walls of rooms are painted white, but guests can change the dial of a light display that alters the color of the room. It can change anywhere from a deep purple to a jungle green.
  • Sensory Welcome: Chicago’s The Wit Hotel has it so that customized music plays from a digital Muzak server overhead in public areas. On the guest room floors, guests hear a “tranquil bubbling brook”. In the lobby, ScentAir technology circulates The Wit’s custom-designed smell–“a fresh, clean scent that is reminiscent of a vanilla suntan”.

Any of the features really appeal to you? I think a bacteria bomb would be pretty nifty, particularly in motels and lodgings with high turnover rates. I think the living wall and Pure Room ideas are really cool as well.


“Technology of the Hippest”

“Get Ready for the Hotel of the Future”

“Check into the Hotel of Tomorrow”


October 23, 2009 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

The New Luxury

What’s your definition of the word “luxury”? says:

Luxury: n. a material object, service, etc., conducive to sumptuous living, usually a delicacy, elegance, or refinement of living rather than a necessity.

That’s probably some variation of what you said isn’t it? Well according to my research on travel in the future, you and Webster would be wrong.

Many of my sources say that in the future luxury is less about materialism, but more about self-enrichment and time. In a future where we’ll be working non-stop and barely have time for personal lives, time with friends and families will be a luxury. Relaxation even in a tent in the woods will be a luxury. Photographing birds on pier will be a luxury if photography is your passion.

In the future, the concern when it comes to vacations isn’t so much about what you are getting as what you are doing. We’re moving towards an “experience economy” where people want to be differentiated not by what they have but what they are doing. For example, hiking in the Galapagos with your significant other would be considered more luxurious than owning a Lamborghini in this experience economy.

The new definition of luxury and the experience economy are results of what author Oliver James has coined “affluenza.”

Affluenza is “a contagious middle class virus causing depression, anxiety, addiction and ennui, a global tour of infected minds by a renowned psychologist in search of being successful and staying sane.”

My idea of luxury? I would love to go glamping! The outdoors has never been my thing, but if I had all the comforts of home and then some, you best believe I’d brave it out there in the woods! I think it would be so neat to stay in one of these exotic locales in one of these amazing abodes. What do you think of glamping? What’s your idea of luxury at the moment?

October 22, 2009 at 12:18 am Leave a comment

Research Proposal – Travel 2.0: A Portrait of the Future of Travel and the Online Travel Landscape


With the boom of travel websites and communities connecting travelers on the Internet, the bricks-and-mortar tourism industry is on the decline. At the same time, the online travel landscape is thriving. Will the process of actually traveling—booking a hotel room, scheduling a flight, and using all of one’s senses to explore a new destination—be eliminated?

In the past, people could only look at pictures of foreign lands or famous cities in magazines, or book a hotel room and hop on a flight. With the evolution of the Internet, all that has changed. Now, if one wants to experience the grandeur of Mt. Fuji, all he or she has to do is log on to the Internet and search for pictures, webcams, and peer reviews. He or she could even go into Second Life and take a virtual vacation with a complete hotel stay and everything. Can virtual reality rival and eventually trump actual travel?

My research will address specifically the following: 1. What does the Web 2.0 online travel landscape look like now? 2. What Web 2.0 tools are making users’ experiences educational and pleasurable, gaining websites loyal visitors?  3. What might the landscape look like in the future? 4. Will there be any value in actually traveling in the future?

More Detailed Questions Driving My Research

Is the role of travel agent obsolete, and if not, how has it changed with new Internet technologies? What are travelers expecting to find when they go on the web? What travel sites are popular and why? How can the Internet be harnessed to bring travel experiences to those who are disabled or can’t afford to travel? Are there specific ways to bring these members of the population into the fold?

How I Plan to Conduct Research

  • Look at the following types of websites: Travel deal publishing sites (SmarterTravel, Travelzoo, etc.); travel review websites (TVtrip); online travel communities (TravelPod, VirtualTourist,, etc.). — I will look at what makes each of these websites unique and creates visitor loyalty.
  • Explore avant-garde travel websites like Wonder Rotunda, Google City Tours, and — These avant-garde sites tend to focus on a niche market. Wonder Rotunda, for example, describes itself as a “virtual, educational theme park” and is geared toward children ages 7-12 and their parents.
  • Explore the Web 2.0 tools used on travel sites – live cams, webcams, Google Earth,, podcasting, youtube.
  • Look at the websites of interactive marketing agencies working specifically for travel marketing like and– How are these sites promotion actual travel on the Web; if so, how? Are they promoting virtual travel; if so, how?
  • Review articles from about the travel market. — The iMediaConnection articles focus on the business side of things, so they provide some consumer surveys as well as background
  • Possibly conversing with community users on various travel sites about their experience with Web 2.0 travel.
  • Look at “virtual vacations” on SecondLife, and go on one myself time-permitting.

Preliminary Sources and Experts

  1. Articles from “Online Travel’s Future is Now” by Cree Lawson; “DM Tactics Benefit Travel Marketers” by Leah Woolford; “Have Brand Loyalty, Will Travel” by Nancy W. Bryan; “How Consumers Use Online for Travel” by Jeffrey Grau”.
  2. Pages from, The American Society of Travel Agents’ website.
  3. Articles from PRWeb and MarketWire about “Travel 2.0”.
  4. founder and CEO Leah Woolford.
  5. Many more!

September 7, 2009 at 2:43 am Leave a comment


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