From jet lag remedies to posh budget hotels, Jenny Southan reports on five new trends that might just make your life easier.
Business travellers have their own ways of dealing with the effects of jet lag – going for a run, taking melatonin – but, thanks to smarter tech and publicly available hospital-style treatments, in the future it may no longer be an issue.
A new app called Timeshifter has been designed to help flyers eliminate jet lag by using an algorithm that “rapidly resynchronises the circadian clock to new time zones”. Already being used by astronauts, CEOs and elite athletes, it tells you when to sleep and for how long both in the lead up, during and after your trip.
Another remedy gaining in popularity is the intravenous drip, which is being offered not only at spas in places such as The Ned hotel in London but also as a service in your hotel room or office. America’s The IV Doc began operating in London last year and offers Jet Lag Relief IV Hydration Therapy for £449. Delivering a one-litre bag of fluid packed with anti-inflammatories and multi-vitamins will, so it says, efficiently rehydrate and energise you.
Need a luxury ride at short notice? Wheely will send a chauffeur in a black suit and tie at the swipe of a screen. They will even step out of the vehicle to greet you with an umbrella in rain and carry your luggage. In addition to various Russian cities, Wheely became available to Londoners last year, and Paris is coming soon. Mercedes-Benz E and S Class cars will be your typical mode of transport and you can request multiple vehicles if you are in a group. If you’re looking for on-demand access to premium cars and professional drives in other cities around the world, Uber Lux, Exec and Black are a step up from normal Uber X rides, where there is no guarantee of car or driver quality.
The ultimate business travel macro trend has to be work-life convergence, which means we are no longer trying to balance work and life as two separate entities. A survey from Great Hotels of the World revealed earlier this year that 75 per cent of respondents had extended a business trip for pleasure. The majority (56 per cent) were joined by friends or family.
Some multinationals such as Google and Goldman Sachs may have day-care facilities but co-working spaces are sensing demand, too, with women-only club The Wing in New York setting up Little Wing daycare, complete with cute merchandise for sale. It’s a positive step forward for women, who often find it much harder to progress in their careers after having children, especially when it involves travel.
Big and Tiny in Santa Monica is a stylish co-working space for parents and kids, while London’s cutting-edge Huckletree West in White City – an accelerator for tech businesses, entrepreneurs and corporate innovation teams – has its own on-site Kids Studio for ‘parentrepreneurs’.
Forgetting to pack your passport may soon cease to be a worry. British Airways is spearheading a new way of travelling through airports with the installation of ‘biometric’ gates that rely on facial recognition cameras instead of document checks to identify travellers. The idea is to make the experience as seamless as possible for customers who wish to take part. The system also uses secure and robust technology to ensure customer data is protected.
At Orlando airport in the US, British Airways has already shown it can regularly board 240 passengers in just ten minutes using biometric technology. In total, 250,000 British Airways customers have now used the tech on international flights, and three million on domestic services. In addition to installing face cams at London Heathrow, British Airways has been working with US Customs and Border Protection to do the same at New York JFK and Los Angeles.
Budget hotels no longer mean putting up with terrible beds and depressing décor. In Chicago, a new ‘elevated hostel’ called Found has both dorms and private rooms with custom walnut beds and marble ensuite bathrooms, and in the basement is an ultra-cool Blind Dragon karaoke bar. Generator is also doing great things in the ‘poshtel’ space, with properties in cities such as London, Madrid and Stockholm. Reducing the square meterage of sleep space is a clever way to save money, not only on furnishings but housekeeping, too. Micro concepts, therefore, allow hotels such as Zoku in Amsterdam and Ian Schrager’s Public and new Sister City in NYC to find the money to splash out on hip social spaces and cold-pressed juice bars without hiking up nightly fees. Citizen M and Hilton’s new Motto brand, which is coming soon, will together cover destinations ranging from Kuala Lumpur to Lima over the next few years.