The idea of the metaverse – a network of digital spaces, where social interactions can take place, facilitated by virtual and augmented reality – has gained traction as technology has improved. However, the social aspect of the metaverse is not the only aspect to focus on and there are a number of exciting metaverse hospitality opportunities to be aware of too. In this post, you can learn more about the metaverse and these various opportunities.
- What is the Metaverse?
- How Can the Metaverse Be Used By Businesses?
- What is the Difference Between the Metaverse and VR?
- What is the Hospitality Industry?
- How Can the Hospitality Industry Be Included in the Metaverse?
- Hospitality Brands Using the Metaverse and NFTs for Marketing and Investment
- Blockchain Technology and the Hospitality Metaverse
- The Hospitality Metaverse and Other Hospitality Technology Trends
- Virtual Reality and the Hospitality Metaverse
- Artificial Intelligence and the Hospitality Metaverse
What is the Metaverse?
First, it is important to define precisely what is meant by the term ‘metaverse’. Essentially, this refers to a network of digital spaces, where social interactions can take place. In many cases, users explore the metaverse with the use of an avatar, and the metaverse then serves as an interactive, virtual world. Alternatively, metaverse can also be seen as the connection between virtual and real worlds, where, in the future, technology can enhance the lives of users seamlessly.
Virtual reality and augmented reality are the technologies most commonly associated with the metaverse, although video games, blockchain technology, and other solutions can also play a role. Metaverse hospitality refers to various hospitality offerings made available through the metaverse, including virtual entertainment, VR experiences, and more.
Would like to learn more about the Metaverse? The article “Metaverse Guide; Understanding The Basics Will Open Up a New World” provides more in-depth information about this new “universe”. The website provides also a list of Metaverse blog’s specializes in this subject.
How Can the Metaverse Be Used By Businesses?
Aside from the pure social functions of the metaverse, it is crucial to understand that the metaverse has a lot of potential for businesses, helping them to bridge the geographical space between them and their customers, while creating memorable experiences, removing friction, and providing opportunities for interactions to take place.
Within the field of metaverse hospitality, we have already started to see the rise of virtual concerts and other performances. Some companies have provided these virtual concerts in the form of virtual reality experiences, while others have experimented with the idea of virtual concerts in video games like Fortnite.
Increasingly, the metaverse is being viewed as a viable concept for those in the hotel industry to explore, and some properties have started to provide virtual spaces for digital meetings or celebrations to take place. Meanwhile, with ecommerce, the metaverse can provide opportunities for customers to experience products or services before buying.
What is the Difference Between the Metaverse and VR?
Virtual reality technology has become more widespread in recent times and VR hardware and software are among the solutions most widely associated with the concept of the metaverse. However, this has also led to some confusion, with many people finding it difficult to understand precisely how the metaverse and VR differ.
Essentially, the defining aspect of the metaverse is the creation of a virtual or digital space, where interactions can occur. This means that while virtual reality is a useful technology here, it is not a necessary one. The metaverse could, for example, take the form of an interactive game, where users control an avatar and interact that way.
What is the Hospitality Industry?
The hospitality industry can be described as a section of the service industry that is focused on leisure, experiences and the reception and/or provision of entertainment for guests or customers. It is a broad field, which includes everything from hotels and guest accommodation, to restaurants, entertainment venues, cruises, and metaverse hospitality.
At times, the hospitality industry is sometimes confused with the hotel industry, but the two are distinct concepts and the hotel industry can be understood as just one part of the wider hospitality sector. To learn more about how it is defined, check out the article “Hospitality Industry: The No. 1 Hospitality Information Guide!”
Traditionally, the hospitality industry has been associated with the physical reception of guests, but this has changed with the emergence of new technology and the birth of the hospitality metaverse. In the sections below, you will find examples of some of the ways the hospitality industry can be included within the metaverse.
Hotels in the Metaverse
One of the biggest ways in which the hospitality industry is already starting to present itself within the metaverse is through the development of metaverse hotels and there are a number of ways to think about this concept. For one, hotels can provide virtual reality tours, or options to explore their hotel with an avatar during the booking process.
This allows guests to get a clear sense of what to expect before they commit to booking a hotel room. However, it is not the only way hotels are exploring the metaverse. Some, for example, are providing their guests with access to virtual spaces, allowing them to host virtual birthday celebrations, or hold virtual business meetings.
Restaurants in the Metaverse
The hotel industry is far from the only hospitality sector exploring the metaverse. Through the use of virtual reality technology, cutting edge restaurants can provide the tools necessary for customers to fully explore their menu prior to booking, including options to see how a meal is prepared, or to check out the facilities.
Some of the biggest hospitality marketing trends right now are focused on the idea of bringing outdoor experiences into the home environment. Through the metaverse, takeaway restaurants could allow users to place their order in a virtual restaurant, interacting with restaurant employees who are represented by avatars of their own.
Entertainment in the Metaverse
Entertainment companies are capitalising on the concept of metaverse hospitality by recreating realistic experiences that customers can enjoy from the comfort of their own home, primarily through the use of virtual reality technology and VR headsets. In fact, this can actually be an extremely cost-effective solution.
For instance, rollercoasters are expensive to develop in real life and there are strict safety concerns. With a virtual reality experience, however, realistic rollercoasters can be enjoyed in a virtual world, without the costs or risk attached. Of course, VR experiences can also defy the laws of the natural world, and some of the other options that could be created include virtual experiences like walking on the moon or mars, or visiting virtual tourist destinations.
Nightclubs and Casinos in the Metaverse
Nightclubs are another part of the industry where metaverse hospitality options are starting to emerge. Virtual recreations of nightclubs can allow people to experience many of the benefits of visiting a nightclub, including music, dancing, and interacting socially, without having to leave their home. Virtual nightclub providers can then monetise the experience, offering options for users to improve their avatars and access new music.
Casinos can also operate in a similar space, allowing customers to play games like poker, roulette and blackjack in a virtual casino, where they can interact with people, and explore a realistic recreation of the real experience.
Concerts in the Metaverse
An area where metaverse hospitality has already started to show its potential is with concerts that take place in the metaverse. There are different approaches here, from concerts taking place within video game worlds, to virtual reality concerts, where users are placed in a realistic, virtual recreation of a music venue.
The potential here is almost limitless. Not only does it mean an almost unlimited number of people can attend the same virtual concert at the same time, it also means the ordinary barriers can be broken down. For example, customers could potentially attend a virtual concert from The Beatles, Elvis, or other artists who are no longer touring in the real world.
Hospitality Brands Using the Metaverse and NFTs for Marketing and Investment
Aside from the hospitality metaverse opportunities outlined, some businesses are also capitalising on non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, which utilise blockchain technology and serve as non-interchangeable units of data. These digital data units can be sold, traded, or otherwise used as digital assets.
Marriott International was one of the first hotel industry brands to explore the concept of NFTs in any real depth. In fact, the company created its own digital art NFTs, which can be traded on the blockchain, which is often viewed as one of the cornerstones of what metaverse hospitality is envisioned to be in the future.
Budweiser is another brand that has been quick to understand the potential for hospitality marketing offered by NFTs. The company created and sold just under 2,000 unique digital beer cans, and buyers have already started to sell the cans on the second-hand NFT market for significantly more than the initial purchase price.
Stella Artois became one of the first hospitality-related brands to explore metaverse hospitality sponsorship. The brand has partnered with the Zed Run platform, which allows users to buy virtual race horses using NFTs. As part of the agreement, Stella Artois sponsored a race track and auctioned off virtual horses.
Blockchain Technology and the Hospitality Metaverse
The concept many people have of the hospitality metaverse is inextricably linked to blockchain technology, but it is important to understand that blockchain can play an important role beyond this too. For instance, blockchain tech can be used for ID verification, to process secure payments, or to track loyalty programs.
You can read about this technology in greater depth and learn precisely how it is used within the hotel industry and hospitality industry by reading “Blockchain Technology and Its Uses in the Hospitality Industry”.
The hospitality metaverse makes use of some core technology – much of which is already widely used by hospitality companies – such as virtual and augmented reality. Nevertheless, it is essential that those in the hospitality sector remain aware of the other major technology trends that exist.
This could include voice control, mobile and other contactless payments, and the use of robotics. To find out more, you can read the article “The Latest Technology Trends in the Hospitality Industry”.
As an idea, the hospitality metaverse relies on technology like virtual reality, because it has the power to alter people’s perceptions of their surroundings. Within the hospitality industry, VR can provide users with virtual travel experiences, virtual booking processes, virtual hotel tours, and more.
To explore this topic further, learn about specific uses of VR within hospitality, and expand your understanding of how this may play into the metaverse, read “How Virtual Reality (VR) can Enrich the Hospitality Industry”.
Artificial Intelligence and the Hospitality Metaverse
Another significant category of technology that can play a role within the hospitality metaverse is artificial intelligence. This can be used to improve everything from in-person customer service and online customer service, right through to data analysis and various virtual and augmented reality offerings.
The broader topic of artificial intelligence and its various uses within the hospitality sector is examined in our article on the subject, “How to Use Artificial Intelligence in the Hospitality Industry”.
The metaverse is becoming a reality as the associated technology improves, and this has led to the concept of the hospitality metaverse emerging. Here, hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, and other businesses aim to capitalise on the benefits of the metaverse, in order to deliver an interactive, virtual experience for customers.