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6 Technologies That Will Change the Future of Luxury Travel

DeLorean not required.

1. Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Device

It won’t let you bend spoons or stop bullets… yet. But the Oculus has brought us substantially closer to living in the Matrix. It’s not going to wow anyone on the runway with its bulky headset and accompanying wires, but the experience of wearing one is undeniably spectacular.

Applications to Travel: Luxury travel advisors will be able to show their clients exactly what
their suite, first-class cabin, or 360 degree view will look like before they book the trip.

2. Amazon Echo Artificial Intelligence

We no longer have to journey to a galaxy far, far away for technology that makes traveling more convenient. The Amazon Echo (a.k.a. Alexa) can remind you to make reservations at Epicure and let you know if you’ll need a jacket to visit the Eiffel Tower tomorrow. Leveraging the power of Amazon servers, Echo recognizes and responds to inquiries. Although its capability to understand 99+ languages is slightly under that of C-3P0, the Amazon Echo is the AI travelers are looking for.

Applications to Travel: Imagine an Amazon Echo in every hotel room as the front-line concierge, with personalized knowledge of each guest’s needs.

3. Da Vinci 3D Printing

Once limited to the realm of magic, mass produced bespoke products are now possible with the advent of 3D printing. For brands looking to leave a lasting impression on travelers, 3D printers represent an enormous opportunity.

Applications to Travel: For the guest, 3D printing is about quickly producing a forgotten item. Imagine printing swimming goggles, iPhone chargers, or shaving razors on-demand as guests need them. 3D printers will also play a huge role in new hotel development and operations – as designers can quickly print realistic models of rooms, F&B spaces, and more.

4. GoPro Wearable Technology

The Truman Show envisioned a world where a person’s every moment was filmed, packaged, and distributed for entertaining the masses. With cameras like the GoPro, you don’t need an entire movie studio and elaborate sets to capture authentic entertaining moments.

Applications to TravelThe GoPro is enabling extreme, adventure, and eco-travelers to document their experiences in artful ways. Luxury tour operators and destination management companies (DMCs) will follow suit, resulting in breathtaking digital travel “entertainment” replacing sales brochures and materials.

5. Narrative Wearable Technology

Having to carry your phone, select the app, and take the photo before the memorable moment has passed means that even “Smart phones” can be a hassle. Narrative has managed to “get
smart”, however, by developing a wearable camera that allows you to capture the moment in the moment.

Applications to Travel: The most amazing travel moments often happen spontaneously when the camera is off. The Narrative captures the unexpected surprises of a traveler’s journey, surfacing the most interesting moments at the end of each day. This will fundamentally change selfies, time-lapse videos, and the dynamic of travel photos on Instagram.

The future has always promised convenient and ubiquitous flying, and though we aren’t flying in cars (yet), drone technology has given us the spirit of flight with stunning aerial cinematography and videography.

Applications to Travel: Never before has resort and destination photography seen a
technological breakthrough like the drone. Aerial shots of beaches, rice-paddies, vistas, surfing will present luxury travel experiences with clarity and context.

For decades books, television, and movies have been depicting futuristic technologies with varying degrees of accuracy. At present there are monumental shifts occurring in the technology industry that will change the way we live, work, and yes, travel.

These technologies are featured as part of Brand Karma’s Future Luxury Lounge at the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Cannes at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès between 1-4 December 2014.

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