#RetailTrends2020: Immersive experience

As we look ahead to 2020, when it comes to hospitality we are seeing more consumers wanting an immersive experience from brands. Consumer behaviour suggests an ever-increasing draw to hotels and restaurants that consumers find engaging, unique and exciting. Such a trend, while not considered revolutionary, is seeing its prominence grow in the industry and more than ever hotels and restaurants are seeking to use physical spaces to create an interesting and novel experience for customers. It is clear that modern consumers are no longer focussing on convenience and the most successful hospitality brands will appreciate the importance of this going forward in a bid to remain competitive. 

Following the publication of Mood’s Hospitality Trend Book, we can see the evolution of this trend. Using our global network of experts we were able to compare ground-breaking developments from both established brands and smaller independent companies at the luxury and affordable ends of the market, showing how the immersion trend is thriving in the hospitality sector. The most successful hotels and restaurants are investing in immersive designs and experiences as a way to engage customers and differentiate themselves from competitors.

Examples of this trend can be seen all over the world. The Null Stern Hotel in Switzerland offers travellers the chance to truly experience nature while still enjoying the luxuries expected of a high-end hotel such as room service served by a personal butler. Guests can sleep under the stars and enjoy unrivalled panoramic views as they become fully immersed in the beauty of the Swiss Alps in a hotel without a roof and walls. The iconic surroundings coupled with quality service is just one innovative, unique way to immerse visitors. 

There’s no doubt that the improved accessibility to virtual reality (VR) technology has been one of the driving forces behind the importance of immersion in the hotel industry. Consumers can take a virtual tour of the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai before they visit; at The Conrad Maldives guests can personalise their experience with an app allowing guests to pick a room with a view above or below the Indian Ocean.

VR technology is increasingly used to engage consumers in ways once thought completely impossible and this trend can be observed across the industry and on a global scale. For example, in collaboration with artist Ryotaro Muramatsu, Tree by Naked Yoyogi Park in Japan has an immersive restaurant concept that uses virtual reality to engage guests with a unique culinary experience. Each dish is enhanced by a projection of visuals that guides guests through a range of stories that go alongside each course via adapted headphones.

We are only starting to scratch the surface of how technology is influencing the hospitably sector. Technology is enabling hotels and restaurants to improve their offerings regarding sensory experiences and as we continue to see this develop, I’m confident we will continue to see investment in immersion with the customer in mind, this is an extremely exciting time for the hospitality industry as we see the trend towards immersion becoming increasingly important to the sector.