There are major tidal forces currently shaping the hospitality landscape. In this series, we explore how the information revolution is helping transform traveler accommodations as we know it.

Some time in the not-so-distant future…

Imagine: you arrive at your digs for a private weekend getaway in the mountains with your special someone. The place is a beautifully designed, yet highly functional and efficient tiny house perched on a dramatic precipice overlooking the lush green valley below. Totally self sustaining and off the grid, the house is equipped with solar panels, rain catchers and filtration, and composting toilets. A true zero footprint structure.

You approach the door, and punch in the last 4 digits of your cell phone number on the keypad to unlock, just as the automated text message instructed you earlier that day. As you enter, you find that the temperature is set to a balmy 71 degrees, just how you like it. Not only that, everything from the lighting, to nearby suggestions on the smart TV screensaver are customized just for you. Cool.

A voice greets you: “Welcome! You must have had a long day of traveling, can I get you a drink? Coffee?” It’s the digital assistant, coming over the speakers.

“Coffee sounds great, make that two!” your SO chimes in.

“Coming right up. I also found a few songs you might like based on your last stay, just tell me what you want to hear and I’ll put it on.” Meanwhile the coffee machine starts grinding fresh beans, filling the tiny house with a heavenly aroma.

“Yeah put on that Beatles track right there” you point at the abbey road album artwork on the tv. “Perfect.”

You receive a text message. “Hey, just checking in. Everything up to par?” It’s an automated message from your host.

“Yep, looks great!” You reply.

“Awesome! Remember, you can always tell Concie (your virtual Concierge that greeted you earlier) to leave you alone. We’re here to meet your needs, but will stay out of your way otherwise.”

The rest of the weekend is perfect. An elegant balance between unadulterated nature and nearly invisible technology working in the background so you can spend more time enjoying the beauty of it all.

Automate all the things!

Home automation, sometimes called “domotics”, has been around for awhile now. However only recently has the technology simplified enough so that normal people can use it in a practical way.

Some of the big names in consumer home automation include Nest, August, Canary, HomeSeer, Vera, and SmartThings, among many, many others. The most user-friendly technologies are stand-alone devices like the Nest Thermostat, while the most powerful and integrated require central hubs such as our favorite, the SmartThings HUB. Check out this article for more on platforms vs stand-alone devices.

Many savvy hosts, landlords, and hoteliers are already leveraging a lot of these technologies to manage their properties more efficiently and effectively. However, the majority are slow to adopt. We feel that this will shift as the technology becomes cheaper, more reliable, and more integrated – while competition continues to put pressure on operating margins.

The stays of tomorrow will nearly all be automated. In the not-so-distant future, it will be seen as awkward and cumbersome to actually deal with physical keys or wait for the host to personally reply with an answer for a routine request, etc.

It’s only a matter of time until hyper-efficient, fully-automated travel accommodations become the norm. Complete with custom settings that allow a space to adapt to the traveler’s unique profile as soon as they walk in (or even before).

What a time to be alive!