3 -min. read

This year’s Ministry of Ideas has given us even more industry-redefining discussions and debates than ever before. With one ear to the ground, THE SHIFT has been keeping tabs on the key trends that all luxury brands need to be taking note of.

In an always-on age where technology is evolving to mimic and even surpass human capabilities, the notion of a ‘connected’ experience is changing rapidly. Rather than fear the unknown (and risk being left behind), smart brands are embracing this shift and cashing in on the plentiful opportunities on offer – as a handful of savvy Ministry of Ideas speakers proved. We’ve plucked a few key insights from across this year’s two-day un-conference to share – so read on, and get connected.

VR teaches us the value of human connections

As hacker and magician Tom London pointed out, virtual reality will make it possible to visit destinations across the globe without ever leaving your seat, and it’s going to happen sooner than you think – he reckons give it two years, not 10. But, rather than imagining a world where VR will replace travel experiences altogether, travel brands should use this tech as a valuable tool to spark an emotional connection between consumers and their destination with clever storytelling (not room tours, please) that leaves them desperate to book the real thing. Meanwhile, back in the real world, focusing their energy on amplifying the elements of a connected experience that VR can’t offer – like human connections, for one – will ensure travel brands stay ahead.

Hacker and magician Tom London onstage for his talk, ‘Hacking technology and society to prove we’re in a simulation’

UX teaches us the art of empathy

“If you want to know how a company thinks about its customers, look at the user experience of its products”, says Hello Afred founder Marcela Sapone. In her interactive workshop, she challenged brand teams to imagine an image that sums up why they do what they do – maybe a guest’s ideal emotional reaction, or what they see when they arrive at a hotel – and use it as the basis of all their decision-making. Constantly reminding the whole team of this visual (at Hello Alfred they have a picture on the office wall) helps them unite under a common purpose and create a truly connected experience, whether they’re developing an tech interface or practising hospitality in the real world.

Hello Alfred founder Marcela Sapone hosted a workshop on ‘Designing for empathy’

Being switched on teaches us how switch off

We hear it al the time: the proliferation of devices and too much time spent in front of a screen destroys our attention span and makes being always-on an exhausting reality for most. But what if, rather than being a disruptor, we could use tech to create seamless, connected experiences that enable consumers and travellers to switch off? In a Surface Magazine-curated panel, The Numinous LLC founder Ruby Warrington, Surface special projects manager Courtney Kenefick and Archi-tectonics founder Winka Dubbeldam discussed how travel brands can use anticipatory design to give guests the greatest luxury: quality, uninterrupted time.

Ruby Warrington, Winka Dubbeldam & Courtney Kenefick at their panel, ‘Plug in to switch off: Using technology to help travellers disconnect’

Katie Palmer
Katie Palmer is Editorial and Content Manager at This is Beyond Ltd.

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