How to harness the power of the metaverse

How to harness the power of the metaverse

How to harness the power of the metaverse

The metaverse and Web3 are poised to revolutionize the hospitality industry, transporting us into a world of personalized, decentralized experiences and limitless possibilities, as Dr Jane Thomason, emeritus chair of the World Metaverse Council, author and influencer, explains.

In a world where the boundaries between reality and the digital realm blur, the metaverse emerges as a powerful force, reshaping how we experience travel and tourism. Planning a vacation will be seamless. Selecting destinations, booking accommodations and choosing activities will be guided by decentralized platforms offering authentic, up-to-date information.

Through digital twin technology, travelers will immerse themselves in the culture and attractions of destinations.

A new era for travel and tourism

In 2023, Stelios A.K. Ioannidis and Dr. Kontis Alexios-Patapios described how the metaverse can benefit tourism. For the tourist, it will impact: the way they select their vacation destination; book accommodation; select which activities to participate in; the way they check-in/check-out in airports and hotels; and the way they retain anonymity in all their interactions with tourism providers. It will also change communication as meta-word-of-mouth (m-WoM) becomes a way to share real-time information with other tourists.

For destinations, disintermediation will transform the landscape, enabling direct interactions between tourists and service providers. Remote, yet in-person interactions blur geographical boundaries, offering personalized experiences regardless of distance. Tourism destinations will leverage new marketing channels and brand engagement strategies to captivate audiences and remain relevant in a competitive landscape. In this dynamic interplay between demand and supply, tourists embark on journeys of discovery. At the same time, tourism destinations evolve to meet their ever-changing needs.

Boosting brand engagement

Metaverse technology, with its digital twin capabilities, enables creating and enhancing communities, fostering destination awareness and coordination. Virtual visits allow consumers to immerse themselves in the culture and attractions of a place, inspiring authentic travel experiences.

Existing Web2 travel networks like Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt, with millions of members, stand to leverage the potential of Web3 and the metaverse. Platforms such as, Airbnb and TripAdvisor also hold promise, with their large user bases, decentralized models and community engagement features. Web3 technology facilitates the creation of decentralized communities, providing gated spaces for like-minded individuals to connect and forge deeper relationships. Influencers who successfully navigate this landscape can cultivate trust and provide meaningful utility to their followers, fostering a more intimate and engaged network.

Brand engagement will drive enthusiasm and loyalty, through meta-events, gamification, token rewards and NFT avatar accessories. Web3 and the metaverse disrupt the current centralized model in tourism, offering decentralized and personalized options. The tokenization of assets like hotels will empower fractional ownership, enhancing liquidity and engagement.

Avatar-to-avatar advantages

The use of avatars in the metaverse has the potential to transform how tourists interact with each other and tourism providers. With avatar-to-avatar communication, tourists can directly engage with hotel
staff to address issues or make requests, reducing reliance on online reviews and ratings. Marriott is exploring blockchain technology to enhance security and efficiency in travel with the Known Traveler Digital Identification program. In hospitality and tourism management, the metaverse offers innovative applications, such as NFT-based booking systems, virtual tours and digital twins of destinations. These advancements reshape how travelers book, explore and experience destinations, while also promoting sustainability and enhancing the overall visitor experience through real-time data optimization and predictive maintenance of tourist facilities.

Metaverse use cases

Real-world use cases of metaverse in travel and tourism include:

  • Pre-travel exploration: metaverse supports: digital twins and immersive interfaces for consumers to explore travel alternatives before embarking on their journey.
  • Virtual tours of real-world destinations: Decentraland offers virtual tours of real-world destinations, such as museums and historical sites, allowing visitors to explore and interact with exhibits.
  • Metaverse operations at airports: SITA predicts that by 2030, metaverse operations will be commonplace at leading airports, optimizing processes, facilitating intuitive control and providing immersive training experiences for staff.
  • Revenue-generating opportunities: metaverse activations, AI and NFT collections offer revenue-generating opportunities in the travel sector by attracting a younger demographic, enabling global sales of properties, transforming marketing and customer service, and revolutionizing membership systems through token-based memberships.
  • Luxury brand engagement: luxury brands are entering the NFT space with limited-edition collections. Hotels like Le Bristol in Paris have launched their own NFT programs.
  • Token-gated experiences and loyalty programs: private clubs, such as the Drunken Monkeys Members Club in London, and loyalty programs create token-gated experiences and perks, offering lifetime access to luxury concierge services through NFT-based memberships.
  • Fractional ownership and governance: Citizen M is pioneering decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) for fractional hotel ownership and community-driven governance through its ‘We Are CitizenM’ project, allowing token holders to participate in hotel design and guest offerings’ decision-making.
  • Web3 tourism ecosystem: Shanghai aims to generate revenue by establishing a comprehensive Web3 tourism ecosystem, including digitizing cultural artifacts and loyalty programs, and providing secure travel services while promoting sustainable tourism practices and safeguarding cultural heritage through metaverse projects. China has a broader initiative to attract tech-savvy travelers to curated and personalized travel experiences using Web3 technologies.

Industry trailblazers

  • Norwegian Cruise Line has joined the NFT game by launching its own NCL NFT marketplace, offering travelers and loyal NCL customers the opportunity to own a piece of its newest vessels, Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva. Claiming to be the first in the cruise industry to enter the NFT marketplace, Norwegian Cruise Line collaborated with Italian artist Manuel Di Rita, who designed the hull art on both ships.
  • Disney, renowned internationally for its leadership in tourism and hospitality, boasts an extensive portfolio of physical parks and virtual entertainment content worldwide. Complementing its physical parks, Disney’s virtual game, Play Disney Parks, utilizes augmented reality (AR) technology to engage visitors. By completing tasks with family and friends based on Bluetooth beacon settings and the phone camera, players can activate hidden AR elements around them. While waiting in line for rides, visitors waiting to board a spaceship ride may see the rocket ‘flying’ overhead through the game, for example.
  • Singapore-based start-up Vizzio has crafted a 1:1 replica of Gardens by the Bay for an event in under three days. Utilizing AI and a patent-protected algorithm, Vizzio’s models were generated from satellite imagery to create normalized digital surface models. This innovative approach enables Vizzio to stream events over the network to any browser without requiring app installation, showcasing the exciting enterprise applications of metaverses.

The metaverse, with its immersive virtual experiences, virtual tours and advanced features, promises to revolutionize the hospitality industry, offering personalized and decentralized experiences that strengthen business processes and engage customers uniquely. Travel and tourism will be redefined for a new era in which the possibilities are limitless.

Dr. Jane Thomason
Emeritus chair of the World Metaverse Council,
Author and influencer

For more articles, click here

Add to Favorites

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *