Six ways metaverse will impact travel and hotels

Stakeholders of travel and hospitality can create fresh revenue streams in the metaverse.

We are in the midst of a tectonic change. After the big social dilemma on touchscreens— the likes, the comments, and the shares— comes a new metric: The metaverse.

Metaverse travel
The metaverse is an integrated network of 3D virtual worlds.

Just how big is the market for metaverse when it comes to travel and hospitality? It’s huge. The metaverse isn’t a hardware technology. The metaverse is an integrated network of 3D virtual worlds. Like most other technologies, the user will need a mobile phone, but with an additional gadget, like a virtual reality headset.

In January 2023, the stakeholders of travel and hospitality will be talking about metaverse, as Apple will release its augmented reality (AR)-mixed reality (MR) headset.

By wearing a VR headset, a user can navigate the metaverse and take control of the environment through eye movements, voice commands, and body movements. The metaverse will dominate the travel and hospitality space in many ways.

Here are our top six finds:

Videogame tourism: A money maker

In the future, a tourism board or a travel company will do less of marketing brochures and invest heavily in metaverse content, designed like videogames. By putting on a VR headset, the tourist will be transported digitally to the Pyramids of Giza or play with the penguins of Antarctica — all virtually, but in a seemingly real environment. While travel companies can use this as a pre-sale demo to promote the real Antarctica or Giza, the VR experience in itself can be sold separately — a fresh opportunity to generate revenues for travel companies.

The 3D meta hotels

For hotels, metaverse will be a game changer, as it will enable sales teams to churn out more revenues. The turnaround time to close a sale will be shorter with smarter platforms. This is particularly true of hotels who thrive on selling meeting spaces and banquet halls, which — in the present day — requires decision makers to visit the hotel in person. Renowned brands like Marriott, Atlantis, Movenpick and Anantara have already entered the space and are working with metaverse content creators like RendezVerse to create a digital twin: A virtual, three-dimensional replica of the property.

Check out the metaverse of Madrid Marriott Auditorium Hotel and Conference Center.

Bookings and interactions

Bookings, be it for flights or hotels, will be a fun experience for customers. Instead of merely filling monotonous forms or chatting with bots, the customer will be drawn into an immersive experience while booking a flight, a tour package, or a hotel room.  Avatars can be created by both the customer and the business. A front office staff at a meta version of a Thai hotel, for instance, will be an avatar donning a traditional Thai attire and greeting a ‘Sawasdee Kha.’ She will also be answering questions during the booking process and recommending cool places to visit while the guest is in Thailand.

Travel marketing on metaverse

Companies looking to have their presence on the metaverse need metaverse content, metaverse campaigns, and metaverse marketing strategies. Metaverse brand agencies offer just that. A case in point is Scotland-based New Frontier, which worked towards creating a metaverse version of The Great Tapestry of Scotland, a five-star rated attraction located in Galashiels in the Scottish Borders. With great planning and detail, New Frontier recreated the attraction for the metaverse. The company settled on the idea of NFTs representing different themes from the tapestry: Inventions, Battles, Kings and Queens, and Traditions. Each theme lends itself to rich imagery, opportunities to explore stories and create interactive solutions. The company also identified possible games to support a hidden scrolls treasure hunt. Some of these are hidden in the local community and the rest within the game itself, creating a hybrid real-word and digital experience for visitors.

Airlines: Flying on the metaverse

In the metaverse, people could fly without being in an airplane. While the ICAROS flying stimulator was essentially designed for gym enthusiasts to encourage workouts in the virtual world, the technology could easily be replicated by airlines.

Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, and Qantas are investing millions of dollars on metaverse experiences, as the ROI is huge. For instance, airlines in the metaverse will offer loyalty points to customers who visit their digital space and access various facilities like lounge, and e-stores. When enough points are accumulated, the customer can redeem them to get free flights and cabin upgrades in the real world. The airlines, in turn, make money by selling these points to a partner like a credit card company. Passengers, airline, and the credit card company benefits. It’s a win-win, thanks to the metaverse.

Flight companies are also covering the basics of metaverse, such as virtual tours of cabins. Qatar Airways launched QVerse and unveiled a MetaHuman cabin crew. OEMs like Airbus and Boeing are also working on immersive 3-D designs.

Private jet charters like Star Jets International are working with animators from Pixar, Disney, and 21st Century Fox to create metaverse assets for luxury travellers.

Metaverse events

Weddings, concerts, and global summits could be hosted on the metaverse. Companies like MetaEvents are specializing in metaverse tools to provide clients digital storefronts, tickets as NFTs, and digital collectibles. Like in any live event, attendees can network and interact with each other.

According to a recent Gartner report, about 25% of people will spend an hour per day in the metaverse by 2026 for work, shopping, education, entertainment, and social. About 30% of organisations in the world will have products and services ready for metaverse.

The global metaverse market was valued at $41.9 billion in 2020, and is projected to reach $1,237.0 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 40.4% from 2021 to 2030.

The global metaverse market size is dominated by key players such as Apple, Alibaba Group Holding Limited, ByteDance Ltd, Facebook, Inc., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Nextech AR Solutions Inc., NVIDIA Corporation, Roblox Corporation, Shenzhen Zqgame Co., Ltd, Tencent, and Unity Technologies. These players have adopted various strategies to increase their market penetration and strengthen their position in the industry.

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