Jul 13, 2023
The metaverse, or the 3D internet, is revolutionizing the hospitality industry, offering new opportunities for immersive experiences and redefining how guests interact with hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues. This blog will explore the 3D internet and how the hospitality and tourism industry leverages it. The blog will also dive into hotels that have launched activations in the metaverse, like Hilton, The Marriott, and The InterContinental Hotels Group.
What is virtual hospitality?
Virtual hospitality provides hotel, event, entertainment, dining, and travel experiences remotely through digital technology to immerse and engage customers. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) allow people to explore hotels through digital tours, participate in virtual cooking classes or wine tastings, attend virtual conferences and trade shows, and even take virtual tours of landmarks and cultural sites. This concept has gained popularity, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when physical interactions were limited.
Virtual reality in hospitality has become an ideal way for customers to try before they buy any travel experience or book a hotel. According to research by The Virtual Tour Experts, 50% of customers rely on virtual tours to make decisions, which leads to an increase in bookings for services offered by restaurants and hotels.
What is the metaverse in hospitality and tourism?
Hospitality and tourism in the 3D internet extend across various verticals, including:
Hotels in the metaverse: Hotels provide virtual reality tours for potential guests and enhanced online booking experiences through the metaverse. For instance, Atlantis Dubai's virtual tours provide an immersive and detailed experience of the hotel. Visitors can use advanced virtual reality technology to explore the stunning architecture, like the hotel’s traditional arched entrances and palatial gathering spaces, and get a 360-degree view of hotel rooms.
Restaurants in the metaverse: Restaurants utilize virtual reality to offer customers a way to explore menus, view facilities, and create opportunities to launch customer engagement programs. Takeaway restaurants also enable customers to place orders virtually, interacting with restaurant avatars. Burger King launched their ‘Keep It Real Meals’ campaign in September 2021. As a part of the activation, the brand integrated QR codes into their lunch boxes, which allowed customers to receive digital collectibles and bonus non-fungible tokens (NFTs) once scanned.
Virtual travel in the metaverse: Immersive technology allows individuals to travel virtually to explore prominent landmarks and visit new destinations from anywhere. For instance, Following the 2019 fire at Notre Dame de Paris, Histovery, a French start-up, created an augmented exhibition using the ‘HistoPad,’ a touch screen that allows visitors to interact with giant photographs, 3D models, replica flooring, and virtual stained glass as it was at Notre Dame.
Nightclubs and casinos in the metaverse: Digitally built nightclubs and casinos allow people to enjoy music, dancing, games, and social interactions without going to a physical location. For instance, Chateau Satotoshi, developed by Decentral Games in the Decentraland metaverse, is an art deco-inspired virtual casino. It offers traditional casino games and allows users to wager with MANA or ETH. This three-floor casino includes a nightclub and a theater, providing an immersive metaverse gambling experience.
Concerts in the metaverse: Metaverse concerts enable unlimited attendees to enjoy virtual performances in realistic venues and even experience shows from legendary artists no longer touring. Attendees also enjoy a highly intimate experience during metaverse concerts as they can go backstage, visit the sound booth, or even experience the event from the stage. Justin Bieber debuted in the metaverse in November 2021 with a virtual concert hosted on the Wave platform. This event showcased Bieber's avatar performing top hits while allowing fans to interact and communicate through a voice chat system.
How is metaverse used in the hospitality industry?
The 3D internet transforms the hospitality industry by introducing virtual guest experiences to meet evolving customer needs. Hotels, traditionally focused on physical service, now have the opportunity to create memorable virtual experiences at par with or beyond their physical offerings.
Metaverse hotels are emerging as a new concept, whereby digital twins of physical hotels are established to provide 3D virtual reality tours of their facilities, enabling potential guests to explore the premises using avatars. Guests can also virtually access rooms or event venues for celebrations, increasing confidence in decision-making and booking.
The 3D internet allows hotels to create interactive experiences and engage with consumers and travelers. It allows potential customers to compare products, interact with the brand, and discover amenities. With the integration of new technologies, the hospitality industry can embrace the metaverse to deliver experiences that leave a lasting impression on guests and boost conversion rates.
How can hotels use the Metaverse?
Hotels can use the 3D internet in the following ways:
Virtual hotel tours: Hotels can create 3D walkthroughs of their properties to showcase the visually appealing aspects of hotels, rooms, decor, and other facilities, enticing customers to visit. Panomatics, a virtual reality service, reports that hotels with virtual tours on their websites receive 87% more views and 50% more clicks. In addition, 75% of consumers claim that VR in the hospitality industry positively influences their purchasing decisions.
Expanding marketing strategies: Hotel chains can also build a presence on metaverse platforms by creating digital duplicates of their facilities to market their brand by allowing individuals to visit and interact with them. For example, CitizenM, a hotel developer, announced plans to create a hotel in The Sandbox for visitors to explore the facility and build brand awareness. These virtual activations contribute to expanded audience reach and increased customer engagement.
Virtual concierge services: The concept of a virtual concierge has evolved beyond traditional kiosks, now encompassing a network of touchscreen devices in various sizes and locations throughout hotels and restaurants or virtual avatars available for assistance online. This technology helps guide guests, providing information on dining options, navigation, and weather reminders. For instance, HiJiffy offers a ‘Hotel Virtual Concierge’ service that provides round-the-clock assistance to guests from the pre-stay phase to their departure.
What hotels are in the Metaverse?
The Hilton Hotel
Hilton Hotels has embraced virtual reality (VR) technology with Facebook and Oculus. To foster empathy and care that set Hilton employees apart, the company launched an innovative VR training program in partnership with SweetRush. It allows employees to experience VR scenarios to navigate challenging interactions with guests like those at the front desk.
Recognizing that many corporate team members may need more direct experience working within hotels, Hilton sought to bridge the gap by providing virtual hotel experiences. The VR training was a resounding success, with 87% of team members exhibiting behavioral changes. This initiative allowed executives to understand hotel operations better, leading to more realistic growth opportunities.
The Marriott Hotel
Marriott Bonvoy, the travel program offered by Marriott International, joined forces with emerging digital artists – TXREK, JVY, and Erick Nicolay – to produce three non-fungible tokens. The NFTs, inspired by the travel program's recent global ‘Power of Travel’ campaign, were unveiled at Art Basel Miami Beach 2021 and launched to build loyalty among new communities.
In 2020, Marriott Bonvoy capitalized on the growing interest in the metaverse and gaming caused by COVID-19 restrictions. They partnered with Bidstack and Publicis to engage domestic leisure travelers by integrating ads into 23 popular games. This strategic move allowed them to capture players' attention and reach a diverse audience.
The InterContinental Hotels Group
InterContinental Hotels and Resorts entered the metaverse with artist Claire Luxton, launching an exclusive collection of 10 NFTs. Each NFT features artwork inspired by global travel and offers owners luxury travel benefits. These perks include owning a custom art piece by Luxton valued between £3,000-£5,000 ($3,500 to $6,000) and earning InterContinental Ambassador status with Platinum Elite status in the IHG One Rewards program. NFT owners also receive a one-night stay at the new InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace. Tom Rowntree, Vice President of Global Marketing for Luxury Brands at IHG, expressed excitement about this collaboration, aligning with their discovery and modern luxury ethos, and states that it is part of an initiative to connect with guests in creative and sophisticated ways.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Ritz-Carlton used VR to promote its rewards credit card through a 360-degree ad campaign on The Wall Street Journal's website. Partnering with OmniVirt, the luxury hotel chain offered viewers an immersive experience where they can use their smartphone to explore different cities where the Ritz-Carlton operates, including San Francisco and New Orleans, and learn about the brand's credit card offerings points and perks for travelers. The interactive ad allows viewers to navigate neighborhoods and tap on areas of interest to learn more about a location, enhancing engagement and piquing interest in travel destinations.
The Four Seasons Hotel
The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay partnered with RendezVerse to pioneer a groundbreaking virtual travel project. Individuals can meet as avatars and explore the 3D realistic environments of the resort through a cutting-edge VR experience. From customizable wedding venues to guided culinary experiences, this immersive VR experience brings Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay to life. This digital activation helps customers save time and money in the long run since individuals can plan events through virtual visualizations and mockups of venues customized with decor. The RendezVerse virtual world goes beyond traditional virtual tours, allowing users to ‘feel’ the space and hear ambient sounds. This collaboration showcases the hotel's commitment to innovation and offers event planners, travel agents, and guests an unparalleled virtual experience.
Celebrity cruises in the metaverse
Celebrity Cruises is embracing the 3D internet with the launch of the 'Wonderverse,' a virtual experience aimed at enticing prospective cruisers and empowering travel agents to boost sales by allowing audiences to learn more about the ship, Celebrity Beyond, and view cruise destinations. This immersive metaverse experience allows users to personalize their avatars and engage with other players using their device's camera and microphone.
Through the Wonderverse, travelers can ‘see before they sail,’ navigating a hyper-realistic digital recreation of the Celebrity Beyond, complete with its stunning spaces, and visiting top destinations the cruise line sails to, from Alaska to the Caribbean, Europe to Asia. Users can explore various spaces within the virtual ship, such as the innovative Magic Carpet® for virtual cocktails or dinner, the social hub Grand Plaza with its iconic Martini Bar, the inviting Resort Deck with its Rooftop Garden and Main Pool, and the internationally-inspired Sunset Bar designed by Nate Berkus.
Celebrity Cruises' foray into the 3D internet showcases its commitment to technological innovation and provides an engaging and interactive platform for travelers to discover and connect with their ships and destinations.
As the 3D internet evolves, the hospitality and travel industry embraces its transformative potential to offer customers immersive AR and VR experiences and drive higher booking rates. Hotels leverage virtual tours, interactive sessions, and personalized avatars through digital environments in the metaverse to give guests a glimpse into their offerings before purchasing. Restaurants are exploring virtual ordering and dining experiences, while entertainment venues are reimagining concerts and events in virtual realms. Big brands like The Hilton, The Marriott, and Celebrity Cruises are embracing digital touchpoints to enhance experiences for their guests, forging a path for others in the space to follow.
Are you looking to build a virtual activation for your hospitality brand to enhance customer experience and drive sales? We can help develop, scale, and monetize your idea to create immersive experiences in the metaverse. Get in touch with us today!
Jul 13, 2023
LandVault is the largest metaverse builder with over 100 million square feet of virtual real estate, more than 120 full-time creators, and nearly 300 completed projects. We’ve been helping brands build and grow in gaming environments since 2017 and the metaverse since 2021.
LandVault’s platform-agnostic proprietary technology and creative powerhouse builds and delivers tailored, data-driven, and optimized business solutions and insights. We help clients launch, optimize, and monetize metaverse experiences.
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