Can you imagine being able to travel to any remote city on our planet or live a paradisiacal vacation on a desert island without having to travel? Or go to a major sporting event, visit imperial palaces and, in short, experience all kinds of unique and exclusive sensations? Well, all this could be closer than we imagine. The metaverse (that famous term that we keep reading and hearing everywhere) is already here and everything indicates that it is here to stay; at least for some time. Although it is true that experts are still studying the possible applications of this technology in different sectors, what seems certain is that tourism could also take advantage of it.
And it turns out that this new technology could represent yet another possibility, within its digital transformation plan, for an industry that has experienced a rapid need for digitization driven by the pandemic, a break from which it is still recovering. Given the enormous potential of the metaverse, all sectors are trying to contribute their grain of sand to this virtual world which is, today, a concept that must be developed, but which promises numerous opportunities and alternatives for countless industries, including hospitality.
Today, the hospitality industry is still reluctant to this transformation, as there are more questions than answers. In this sense, Benjamín Garcés, our CEO, recalls that “a few years ago there were also doubts about the practicality or not of digital access, the commitment to online check-in, contactless as a tool to access the room, make a payment or book an activity. “However, today they are a reality of the most usual in many hotels and hotel chains,” he explains.
What is metaverse?
The word ‘metaverse’ is a portmanteau of ‘meta’, which means transcendent, and ‘verse’, which refers to the universe. The metaverse is the creation of virtual, always-on environments where people can interact with each other with digital objects through virtual representations or avatars of themselves. It is a technology that combines aspects of social networks, augmented reality, virtual reality and cryptocurrencies, and which the user can access either with headphones, helmets, glasses, or simply from their mobile or computer.
Hotels in the metaverse and their possibilities
The potential of the metaverse in all sectors has made it a topic of debate in the tourism industry, where its applicability and business opportunity are valued. So how could a hotel fully immerse itself in the metaverse to improve the guest experience and, in turn, increase its turnover? Below we list some of the possible applications of this technology in hotels and explain what advantages they could take advantage from.
Virtual reality offers guests the opportunity to get to know the hotel rooms in detail before making their reservation in any of them. Thus, the client knows what he is going to find even before reaching it, making it a powerful marketing tool to attract visitors.
2.Services and activities promotion
The metaverse becomes a magnificent tool to inspire and excite with the guest’s future stay, because through virtual reality he can experience sensations by immersing himself in the different activities offered. This represents a step further in the sale of the tourist experience.
Another opportunity that this technology can offer is the promotion of so-called business travel. And it is that the hotel can consider having among its offer the organisation of meetings and congresses in a virtual environment -very similar to the real one- in which the participants can interact with each other. The metaverse thus offers the possibility of ‘transforming’ business travel, which can help reduce emissions and, therefore, the impact on the environment.
4. Exclusive digital products
Some hotels and hotel chains have already opted for NFTs (Non-Fungible Token), a concept closely linked to the metaverse. These are unique products, which belong exclusively to the guest, and which allow the user to live different virtual experiences, such as attending a concert in their own room or holding a private party. The possibilities are endless.
And if we talk about the presence of a hotel in a relevant space of the metaverse, this action will serve as a powerful marketing tool to boost business. Although the idea of buying virtual land is still far-fetched for many, there are already some companies that have begun to study the real possibility of being present in the metaverse. In fact, a few months ago one of them disbursed no more and no less than three million euros to acquire digital land. It sounds like a joke, but numerous companies around the world are already billing in real money after developing real estate projects on different digital platforms.
Some hotels could generate more revenue in the metaverse than in the physical world. How? The answer is simple. Unlike the capacity of hotels in real life as we know it, the number of guests in this virtual world is unlimited.
So would the hotels have to buy virtual plots located in one of the major metaverses (like Decentraland or The Sandbox) and build their virtual hotel? Unfortunately, we do not have that answer. What is certain is that technology advances every second, an undeniable evolution to which companies, also in the hotel sector, should be open to accept and adapt.