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ITB Innovators: Always a step ahead

In 2015, together with trend research institute TrendOne ITB Berlin has scouted the most promising innovations in the global tourism industry. Check out the innovation highlights, exclusively on our website.


Sightseeing from your sofa - "Omnipresenz" steers human avatars through foreign cities

Looking at the world through the eyes of another - what was once thought of as utopia could soon become reality. A team of Spanish developers has set itself the task of making virtual reality part of the real world. "Omnipresenz" is the name of the project, which makes it possible for users to send a local employee on a sightseeing tour as if they were there in person - without getting up from the sofa.

A helmet with a built-in camera and a link to the internet makes this possible. The user sees and hears the world in real time by video streaming, just as his avatar on the spot perceives it. The virtual tourist steers his alter ego on the ground by making entries on a computer, which are transmitted as speech or text messages. For example, he can tell him to give money to a homeless man or do some other good deed, paid for with the user's credit card. Anyone collecting money for a good cause can search for other participants to beef up contributions by using the "Nice Actions" control panel.

Remote-controlled city tours in the real world are currently on offer in Barcelona, where an Omnipresenz employee assumes the role of avatar. Other locations are to be added in a second stage, and it should be possible for anyone interested to volunteer as an avatar.


"Hotel to go" - Scandic offers movable hotel rooms

If the guest can't come to the hotel, the hotel comes to the guest. This was the thinking behind Scandic Hotels' moveable accommodation product. The innovative hotel concept is called "Scandic to go" and it lets guests spend the night where they want - by a lake, in the archipelago or in the forest. The transportable containers, providing 18 square metres of space, can be set up almost anywhere in Scandinavia, provided that road or water access is possible and that there is enough room.

The moveable hotel rooms are fitted with two beds, a bathroom with shower and a terrace. There is also free WiFi, a TV and air conditioning. A sofa bed provides space for another two people.

"I wouldn't get this view from any other hotel. It really is a unique experience", says Eva Zall, 33. She and her husband stayed right at the water's edge on the island of Djurgarden, which is part of Stockholm.

Other sites visited by the two mobile "Scandic to go" chalets include Trondheim, in Norway, a theme park, a lake in Finland and Strand, in southern Sweden. The "room to go" has to be booked a week in advance, to give the Swedish hotel group enough time to take it where it is wanted.

One night in the "Hotel to go" costs, 2,500 Swedish krona, or about €230.

Travel without luggage - SendMyBag takes your case from home to hotel

Anyone flying with luggage bears a burden: it is cumbersome and nerve-wracking, and can be expensive as well. If your case is too big or too heavy, you have to put your hand in your pocket. For a stress-free start to their holiday, without any unpleasant surprises at the airport, travellers can now send their luggage in advance, using SendMyBag.

The Irish start-up sends cases and bags by sea or air, when long-haul destinations are involved. This makes it easy for travellers, because the luggage goes from door to door, making carrying it to and from the airport and hanging around at check-in and in baggage claim a thing of the past. However, luggage does need a bit more time to get to its destination, so it is collected a few days before departure. Shipment from Frankfurt to Majorca takes between four and five working days. In contrast, items sent from Germany to New York only need a lead time of one or two days.

SendMyBag provides a worldwide service, bookable on its website. The courier company intends to open a New York office in March, so that it can also operate within the USA. At present, shipping a piece of luggage weighing up to 20 kg from Frankfurt to Majorca and back costs €173. If the luggage weighs up to 30 kg, the price is €212, with every additional kilo charged at €9.50.