Travel and hospitality stakeholders can create new revenue streams in the metaverse.
We are in the midst of a tectonic shift. After the great social dilemma on touchscreens – likes, comments and shares – comes a new metric: the metaverse.
How big is the metaverse market for travel and hospitality? It is enormous. The Metaverse is not 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, such as a virtual reality headset.
In January 2023, travel and hospitality players will be talking about a 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:
1. Video game tourism: a source of income
In the future, a tourist office or a travel agency will do less marketing brochures and invest heavily in metaverse content, designed like video games. By putting on a VR headset, the tourist will be digitally transported to the pyramids of Giza or play with the penguins of Antarctica, all virtually, but in a seemingly real environment. While travel agencies can use it as a pre-sale demo to promote the real Antarctica or Giza, the VR experience itself can be sold separately – a new revenue-generating opportunity for travel agencies.
2. 3D meta-hotels
For hotels, the metaverse will be a game-changer, as it will allow sales teams to generate more revenue. The lead time to close a sale will be shorter with smarter platforms. This is especially true for hotels that thrive on the sale of meeting space and banquet facilities, which these days require decision makers to visit the hotel in person. Renowned brands such as 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.
Discover the Metaverse of Madrid Marriott Auditorium Hotel and Conference Center.
3. Reservations and interactions
Bookings, whether for flights or hotels, will be a fun experience for customers. Instead of just filling out monotonous forms or chatting with robots, the customer will be drawn into an immersive experience when booking a flight, tour or hotel room. Avatars can be created by both the customer and the company. The front desk staff of a meta-version of a Thai hotel, for example, will be an avatar wearing traditional Thai attire and greeting a “Sawasdee Kha”. She will also answer questions during the booking process and recommend cool places to visit while the guest is in Thailand.
4. Metaverse Travel Marketing
Businesses looking to have a presence on the metaverse need metaverse content, metaverse campaigns, and metaverse marketing strategies. Metaverse Branding Agencies offer exactly that. A case in point is Scotland-based New Frontier, which has worked to create 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 opted for the idea of NFTs representing different themes of 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 has also identified possible games to support a treasure hunt for hidden scrolls. Some of them are hidden in the local community and the rest in the game itself, creating a hybrid experience of real and digital words for visitors.
5. Airlines: Flying the Metaverse
In the metaverse, people could fly without being on an airplane. While the ICAROS flying stimulator was primarily designed for gym goers 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 in metaverse experiences because the return on investment is huge. For example, metaverse airlines will offer loyalty points to customers who visit their digital space and access various facilities like the lounge and online stores. When enough points are accumulated, the customer can redeem them for free flights and cabin upgrades in the real world. Airlines, in turn, make money by selling these points to a partner like a credit card company. Benefits for passengers, the airline and the credit card company. It’s a win-win, thanks to the metaverse.
Airlines also cover metaverse basics, such as virtual cabin tours. Qatar Airways launched QVerse and unveiled a MetaHuman cabin crew. OEMs like Airbus and Boeing are also working on immersive 3D designs.
Private jet charters like Star Jets International work with animators from Pixar, Disney and 21st Century Fox to create metaverse assets for luxury travelers.
6. Metaverse Events
Weddings, concerts, and world summits could be hosted on the metaverse. Companies like MetaEvents specialize in metaverse tools to provide customers with digital storefronts, tickets as NFTs, and digital collectibles. As in any live event, attendees can network and interact with each other.
According to a recent Gartner report, approximately 25% of people will spend an hour a day in the metaverse by 2026 for work, shopping, education, recreation, and social activities. About 30% of organizations worldwide will have metaverse-ready products and services.
Global Metaverse Market was valued at USD 41.9 Billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 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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