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Modern Love

Opinion

Published by:

13 February 2020

Author: Martin Raymond

Image: Les Girls Les Boys campaign, UK

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As Stormzy puts it in his hit, All That Matters, ‘tonight we’re doing things my way’. And if you’re in doubt about what the my way of modern love looks, feels and smells like, check out our recent Modern Love foresight report for smouldering weekend away sejour organisers Mr & Mrs Smith.

At the familiar end of things, as our undercover explorations discovered, there are self-romantic breaks, polycule pereginations, buddymoons, even tri-romantic escapes in accompanying Californian beds to accommodate that extra pillow.

But there is also room in the same bed for our psycho-active awaydays (THC instead of TLC anybody?); shared-purpose sejours, where altruism and x hop into the sack together; self-care secondments, where workers extend their trips by working remotely, allowing them the time to fully immerse themselves in all a destination has to offer; even co-romancing, where partner-swapping isn’t just about trading beds, but about trading love wraps and other foodie turn-ons.

And that’s just for the more traditional among us. As Mr & Mrs Smith co-founders Tamara and James Lohan, put it, use your crystal balls and tell us what’s what for romance, hotels, sex, sensuality and the future fun weekend experience (okay, they used the word dirty, but we’re being police for our American readers) in 2030. A fun report, you’ll agree, but a tough one.

While we can all fantasize about sex in the future city, it’s still important to get it right – especially if the full version of the report is being used by hoteliers, and Mr & Mrs Smith partners, to anticipate what future guests will expect to find in a house, hotel or villa targeting their ardour as well as their pocket.

Think of it this way. Over the past 20 years, we replaced gyms with spas, weights with Pilates machines, and saunas with steam rooms and rain forest showers as emerging ways to relax and unwind. Now, they’re bog-standard hotel offers, but increasingly outmoded, for Millennial 20- and 30something travellers particularly, who are opting for more proactive, meaningful, psycho-romantic tristes than wallowing in somebody else’s body hair or exfoliated heel skin. 

'While we can all fantasize about sex in the future city, it’s still important to get it right'

 

Les Girls Les Boys campaign, UK
'Lone voyagers can be among the most active and romantic, using apps to populate that empty pillow'

But how do we know? In-bed exploration – literally and metaphorically. As in, how bed sizes are changing, their occupancy rates rising (yes, hotels are now accepting three-in-a-bed bookings), the frequency at which we book hotel rooms is increasing – use the Byhours app for those minxy micro-stays.

But we also called on our Futures 1000 panel of experts and innovators to help with our decade-long forecast – the editors of Suitcase magazine; UXUA hotelier Bob Shevlin; Kate Moyle from the BBC’s Sex on the Couch; and brands like Foria, which is writing about, pioneering or testing everything from tri-romantic breaks and  polymoons to shared-purpose getaways and CBD pleasure products. The sexual wellness market was worth a staggering $32bn in 2019 alone, according to Technavio.

Then there’s the stats dig – those easy, straightforward ones – the number of solo travellers on the rise (one in six of us, according to ABTA); global nomads (1bn by 2035, according to nomadlist.com, and our recent word for Design Hotels); and those that require our analysts, or mobile ethnographers, to add an additional layer of interpretation to them.

For example, at face value, single or solo travellers can be classed as people travelling alone, and thus outside the bounds of a report on Modern Love (unless we count self-love here). But on investigation, by interviewing hoteliers and early adopter travellers alike, lone voyagers can be among the most active and romantic, using apps to populate that empty pillow, while spending more than their last decade as solo backpackers on self-treats and self-care.

Art Baby Gallery, New York

As the co-founder of UXUA Bob Shevlin told us: ‘There’s no such thing, really, as solo travel any more. It’s been a long time since we were asked where the nearest gay bar was. Often our guests have already set up dates with other travellers or locals using apps like Grindr or Tinder.’

Solo travellers, and the bigger set they are part of, our Global Digital Nomads (GDNs), are likewise redefining how we describe and market the mini-break, or dirty weekend, as the Mr & Mrs Smith Modern Love report suggests. 

Think four-day peakends (the new long weekend); three-day mid-weekers, where canny GDNs avoid the bridge and tunnel brigade by taking Tuesday to Thursday trips; even blended breaks, where nomads mix romance, work and play on a three months on/three months of micro-sabbatical as they virtually work and play their way around ‘roamtels’ like Selina and Unsettled.

The point? Foresight, when it’s done well, isn’t just about facts and stats and staggered bar charts. It’s about getting you under the skin, or the bed, of the subject matter in ways that bring the future to life and gets you the customer-friendly headlines you want.

Martin Raymond is co-founder of The Future Laboratory, and author of The Trend Forecaster’s Handbook. You can order special-message editions of his book here.

If you are interested in finding out how we can help you create a future-facing foresight report that combines quantitative and qualitative research with original case studies and innovations to solve your business objectives, click below: 

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