Getting A Handle On The Future: Start By Making Life Easier
The great thing about consumer trends is that they lead us to think about the future in new and innovative ways. To help my team and me ponder where things are headed, we subscribe to and regularly consult the trend-spotting service Iconoculture.
One of the trends that Iconoculture has been focused on is something they call “set it and forget it.” This is a term they have coined regarding consumers increasingly wanting super-low maintenance lifestyles and fulfilling their growing desire to have their unpleasant, tedious and boring tasks simply go away.
There’s no question everyone wants life to be easier. Just look around the home front, and you can see exactly how much progress is being made in this evolving revolution. There are self-cleaning showers. Self-cleaning windows. Home siding that never needs painting. Gutters that never clog with debris. Perennial landscapes that never die. Devices that let you eliminate television commercials and watch “on demand.” Robots that vacuum your floors.
Outside the home, we have cars that park themselves. GPS systems that guide you everywhere you need to go and tell you where the nearest rest stop is. And self-diagnostic technologies that alert you to trouble.
Iconoculture believes this trend is fueled by consumers setting a higher standard for their leisure time, coupled with their unwillingness to sacrifice even a minute of it. Not to mention that these hassle-free lifestyles come complete with their own definition of style, performance and control.
As consumers look to free up more leisure time, it only makes sense that anything a travel brand can do to eliminate the tedious, boring and unpleasant aspects of the leisure experience will be critical to satisfying consumer desires.
Evidence of this can be found in the recent study, “Hotels 2020-Beyond Segmentation,” released by Amadeus and Fast Future in which they proclaim that “hotels must embrace personalization and become ‘living innovation laboratories’ to survive the turbulent decade.” They found that 92% of respondents expect the hotel of tomorrow to be totally personalized to their choices. Their view of the future is filled with “augmented reality, customizable and responsive guest environments and service robots that may become commonplace as guests demand deep personalization, increased comfort and innovative experiences.”
A big piece of this will be fulfilling the consumer desire to be able to avoid—or at least make less painful—the things they most dislike. By listening to customers, you can readily identify those pain points and begin to apply new technologies and approaches to address them.
For me, I want a suitcase that can alert me when I forget to pack an essential. Maybe RFID technology can eliminate ever forgetting my shaver. Or, while I’m designing the ultimate luggage, perhaps it can coordinate electronically with my itinerary and ensure that I’m packing the right clothes for the weather and events based on the “set it and forget it” criteria I’m about to experience.
It seems that technological advances, combined with an innovative spirit, can make it possible to serve the traveling public in ways that simply make life easier.
Perhaps already thinking about this, Tablet Hotels just ran a challenge that encouraged travelers to share their vision of the hotel of the future. Inviting travelers to submit their ideas to “rethink hotels,” Tablet invited people to “show us your vision of the perfect social hotel: not just a photogenic lobby or a highly exclusive nightclub, but a hotel that’s a creative crossroads, where guests and locals make serendipitous connections of all kinds.” They offered a cash prize for the best ideas as judged by an illustrious panel. The winners are to be announced any day.
Charles Kettering once said, “My interest is in the future because I’m going to spend the rest of my life there.”
Hopefully, we can make that future a little bit easier.