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Rapid Prototyping in the Hotel of the Future: 3D Printers, Robot Butlers & more


By 2060, many things are going to change all over the world, including the hospitality industry. A study recently conducted by hotels.com titled ‘Hotels of the Future’ predicted that by the year 2060, hotels all over the world will feature amazing technology such as rapid prototyping and 3D printing services in every room, everything in touchscreen, artificial intelligence for room service, morphing beds, and AR. These technologies will help guests to get the ultimate experience, hence not only will the sheets be clean, one can expect high-quality service that elevates one’s lifestyle.


While rapid prototyping is gaining traction in different sectors around the world, there are now a large number of sectors where one expects to see rapid prototyping devices and 3D printers. Some of these places are laboratories, universities, factories, libraries and even toy shops. One place that the layman may not expect to see 3D printers is undoubtedly in their hotel rooms. It will take a while before 3D printers in hotels become as commonplace as a bottle of complimentary shampoo in the rooms, but the day is probably not very far.


Rapid Prototyping in Hotels


At first glance, the idea of putting rapid prototyping devices in hotel rooms at the whim of guests seems a bit absurd. At present, only a very small percentage of the population has the technical knowledge of using them. Independent hobbyists who are in fact, enthusiastic about using 3D printers have by far been very self-sufficient and self-reliant, having managed to come far into the rapid prototyping scene without the need of a major hotelier helping them out.


However, the new report by hotels.com seems to show that it can all pan out differently in the future. The website’s study titled ‘Hotels of the Future’ was put together with the assistance of CEO of Institute for Global Futures Dr. James Canton. He suggests that ‘3D makers’ or rapid prototyping devices have the potential to become an essential part of the entire hotel experience in a few decades from now.


According to this new report, the hospitality industry would feature 3D printing in each room by 2060 so that guests can fabricate any item they need at any time, virtually. The report claims that taking luggage to your holiday will soon become a concept of the past. By dint of rapid prototyping, guests’ travel experience, as well as in-room experience, will be redefined.


In the rooms, 3D Makers will print out items that the guests might need in real time, such as clothes, new shoes, phones or even computers. Shopping too will be done in 3D platforms from which customers can readily download the retail goods they need to design from the cloud, on demand.


The prospect sounds amazing and futuristic, however, the images provided by the website hotels.com could make one slightly skeptical. The entire premise of the concept can raise many questions. If a guest checks into a hotel at midnight, they would certainly want to get ready for bed and tuck in right away. One would rather not want to fiddle with CAD software and wait for their toothbrush to extrude in front of them before they can be used.


However, we want to be optimistic about the fact that rapid prototyping can give guests a nicely fitted pair of hotel shoes that can be used in the morning when they wake up. 2060 is still rather far away, and by then, amazing things can happen.


Other Technologies: RoboButlers


Surprisingly enough, in room rapid prototyping is one of the least ambitious things that have been featured in the hotels.com report. If you have been skeptical about 3D printing your hairdryer, you might be in for a surprise if a robot butler serves you dinner.


Apparently, by 2060 hotels will feature RoboButlers. These autonomous robots will be able to greet guests, educate them, entertain them, serve food, offer room service and even give them business advice. The question is, how much do the guest’s tip to such versatile robotic butlers?


Next, come neuro-dreaming services that help guests choose their own dreams. A concept straight from movies like Inception, this ‘choose your own dream’ system will definitely ensure guests a good night’s sleep. Airport transfers will be done by flying cars, even morphing hotels which can self-assemble from one design to another based on popular demand are also included in the report.


Canton explains that the trends of energy, entertainment, science, and technology will affect greatly the experience of hotel guests, especially frequent travelers. A former executive at Apple Computers and a tech entrepreneur, Canton further explains that the emerging of a new travel design in science will be in a combination of artificial intelligence and big data. This means that predicting guests’ dreams will be possible, and the entire experience of hospitality will change.



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