Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are emerging as one of the most significant marketing trends around, and NFT hospitality offerings are also growing, as businesses come to recognise their full potential. In this article, you can learn about what NFTs are, their advantages, their marketing potential, and their specific uses within hospitality.
- What is a Non-Fungible Token (NFT)?
- NFT Hospitality Offerings and the Metaverse
- Why NFTs Are Great Marketing Tools for the Hospitality Industry
- What Are Some Examples of NFT Hospitality Marketing
- NFT Hospitality: Brands That Have Embraced NFTs
- NFT Hospitality Marketing and Blockchain Technology
- NFT Hospitality Technology and Other Hospitality Technology Trends
What is a Non-Fungible Token (NFT)?
A non-fungible token, or NFT, is the name given to a digital representation of a physical asset. The technology relies on cryptography and blockchain technology, providing each NFT with its own unique metadata. This means that no two NFTs are the same, so digital files can be sold as a completely unique items that cannot be duplicated.
While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin make use of similar blockchain technology, these cryptocurrencies are fungible, or mutually interchangeable. This means that, for example, one Bitcoin can be traded for another Bitcoin. With NFTs, however, these are non-fungible, meaning they cannot be traded at equivalency in this way.
With NFTs, because they are non-fungible, one NFT cannot be copied or turned into several NFTs, as with most digital files. It is this uniqueness that provides value. NFTs can be used to transfer ownership of everything from original digital artwork, to photographs, video content, or audio, and this allows businesses to explore NFT hospitality options.
The metaverse is the term used to describe virtual worlds, or digital spaces, which provide options for social interactions, often using technology like blockchain, virtual reality, and digital metaverse avatars. NFTs and NFT hospitality offerings can also have value in metaverse spaces, with examples including in-game items, and virtual real estate.
You can read the “Metaverse Opportunities for the Hospitality Industry” article to find out more about what the metaverse is, how it works, what technology is involved, and how it can relate to the hospitality industry.
Why NFTs Are Great Marketing Tools for the Hospitality Industry
NFT hospitality marketing remains an under-explored area, as the technology is still relatively new. Nevertheless, these tokens have great potential within the hospitality sector and can help businesses to connect to their audience, promote new products and services, increase brand awareness, and partner with other companies or artists.
Non-fungible token hospitality options include giving away digital artwork as a prize, selling NFTs in partnership with local artists, and other similar promotions. However, the technology can actually be used in other ways too. For instance, membership cards or loyalty cards could be sold as NFTs, instead of as physical cards.
Alternatively, digital collectables could be sold alongside hotel rooms, in order to generate more interest and provide incentives for bookings. In general, NFTs can be divided into two main categories: collectable digital items, and digital assets that have a clear function. The hospitality industry is ideally placed to capitalise on both types.
What Are Some Examples of NFT Hospitality Marketing
Although NFT hospitality marketing is still relatively new, it is quickly emerging as not only a viable option but a desirable one. Below, you can explore some of the ways NFTs can be used as a hospitality marketing tool.
The metaverse can include games, virtual reality-powered meeting spaces, and a variety of other virtual worlds, which open up the potential for in-game or virtual items to be sold. Some of these items can be sold as exclusive NFTs, and even branded with your company name and logo, in order to increase brand awareness.
However, there are advertising opportunities beyond this too. As an example, you may be able to establish a virtual hotel or restaurant within a digital space, or you could create the digital space and sell virtual real estate.
In addition to the NFT marketing opportunities that are emerging, non-fungible tokens have helped digital artists to sell unique artwork in a similar way to physical art. With that said, many artists lack the profile to make money from their work in this way, while many involved with hospitality management lack artistic skills.
Thankfully, this does provide an ideal opportunity for hospitality brands and digital artists to team up, in order to create a non-fungible token hospitality marketing strategy. Some hospitality brands work with local artists to sell NFTs related to marketing campaigns, while others pay the artists and use the art NFTs as prize giveaways.
Until recently, NFTs have almost exclusively been used to provide people with collectable digital items, such as images, or audio files. Yet, as the technology becomes more established, businesses are starting to understand that the long-term viability of NFTs requires them to have functional uses beyond this collectable element.
As a form of hospitality technology, NFTs can be used to power customer loyalty programs. Here, each customer is issued an NFT and with it, a permanent and unique blockchain entry. This NFT then serves as the customer’s proof of being part of the programs, and relevant data about visits and discounts can be handled digitally too.
Finally, another NFT hospitality marketing option that some businesses are starting to explore is the potential to sell shares to members of the public and use NFT and blockchain technology to keep a register of this.
This opens up a number of possible business models, including community ownership. The NFTs can be used in place of shares and share certificates, with each NFT being a unique share. Alternatively, businesses could explore other options, such as using NFTs to represent physical parts of the hotel premises, such as function rooms.
NFT Hospitality: Brands That Have Embraced NFTs
Although NFT hospitality marketing is still an emerging practice, some brands have already started to capitalise on it. In the sections below, you can learn about some of the brands that have embraced NFT hospitality trends.
Marriott International became the first major brand to capitalise on an NFT hospitality marketing strategy by teaming up with three well-known digital artists, Erick Nicolay, JVY and TXREK, to create their own NFTs.
Specifically, the art created by the three digital artists was inspired by Marriott’s marketing campaign, entitled ‘The Power of Travel’. The final products were unveiled for the first time at Art Basel Miami Beach in December 2021 and the unique NFTs were awarded to competition winners attending the event.
Ca’ di Dio is a luxury hotel in Venice, Italy. Ahead of the hotel’s opening, the company decided to auction off a free one-night stay for one guest to enjoy the property by themselves, with nobody else around.
However, rather than perform this auction in person, the brand opted to instead use OpenSea, which is the largest P2P NFT marketplace in the world. In the process, the hotel also became the first in the world to complete a hotel reservation entirely via NFT technology, and the auction helped the hotel to attract international attention.
Flyfish Club – The World’s First NFT Restaurant
Finally, one of the most exciting NFT hospitality marketing examples so far was masterminded by VCR Group, which announced that the Flyfish Club would become the world’s first NFT restaurant. More specifically, the restaurant allows members of the club to purchase their membership in the form of a non-fungible token.
Essentially, the NFT takes the place of a more conventional membership card, and the token can be used on a smartphone or digital device to gain entry to the club. Membership can be purchased using cryptocurrency, and there are multiple membership tiers, each offering its own unique perks. Membership tokens are all unique and cannot be replaced, although they can potentially be leased to friends and family, or sold to others online.
Video: NYC’s first NFT restaurant is ‘first use case of a utility-based project’: FlyFish Club CEO
To fully get to grips with NFT hospitality marketing and how it actually works, you also need to understand blockchain technology. However, while blockchain can play a vital role with NFTs, it can also be used for everything from accepting payments using cryptocurrency, to authenticating identities, and even tracking baggage.
To explore the topic of blockchain technology further and learn about how it works and how it can be deployed by businesses, read the “Blockchain Technology and Its Uses in the Hospitality Industry” article.
NFT Hospitality Technology and Other Hospitality Technology Trends
NFT hospitality technology is an exciting proposition and it is likely that many brands will look to explore what it can offer in the years ahead. With that being said, NFTs are just one example of hospitality technology and there are many other trends that you should also try to keep in mind. These include, for example, the rise of voice search technology, and the increased use of robots within hotel and restaurant settings.
You can learn more about these technology trends and several other trends that are either emerging now or set to emerge in the near future, by reading “The Latest Technology Trends in the Hospitality Industry”.
NFT technology is disrupting many industries and showing huge promise within marketing, so it stands to reason that NFT hospitality marketing strategies are also gaining traction. Some of the biggest and most luxurious brands in the industry have already started to use NFTs for giveaways, collaborations and customer loyalty programmes, and this development is only likely to expand further in the months and years to come.