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06/20/2022

An E-Commerce Journey from Web to Metaverse 

How hotels can create value and generate profits in the Metaverse. 
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The Metaverse has become a hot topic among hospitality tech enthusiasts that dream of amazing new possibilities. This article explores how hotels could gradually develop new business models to make real money out of this emerging virtual reality.  

Think your hotel Metaverse as the entry point to exclusive immersive experiences that your customers could enjoy either by paying for access or as a benefit of your loyalty program.  Your Metaverse will offer cooking workshops given by starred chefs, yoga classes from a yogi or an introduction to mixology. Customers will be able to purchase a piece of digital art in your digital art gallery and end the day with a concert by the Venice Baroque Orchestra accessible from your Metaverse ballroom. Since it's important to follow the dress code, your customer will most likely have to go to your virtual store -- unless they have bought a real evening dress, and the brand has offered them its digital duplicate to wear in the Metaverse. 

Why Enter the Metaverse?

The first rule of business is to be where your customers are. The mere presence of a hotel in a popular place in the Metaverse will accelerate its business, just as a good location in reality or a good Google ranking do today. Your virtual hotel can be used for promotion, to increase awareness, to generate business leads and of course, virtual or real sales through experiences. 

If your customers liked a lamp, the bed sheets or any decoration. Once they are back at home why not enable them to visualize and purchase these items in the Metaverse. Now what if this customer has actually never entered your hotel? Imagine that the Metaverse double of yoru hotel might receive more visits than the real one. 

Dissonant voices will surely tell you: "Nobody will book rooms in the Metaverse!". These are probably the same people who thought the Internet was not for hotels or that no one would use AI to make reservations. History is merciless.  

How to Welcome Guests 

AI will be the key to handle guest interactions in the Metaverse. No human being will be able to answer all the requests, only an AI will be able to handle the flow. That’s why it is of strategic importance to start incorporating AI in your tech stack and go through the learning curve to be ready to jump into the Metaverse in a couple of years. 

A precise and structured knowledge base will also be essential to enable the AI to answer. A hotel is more than 1000 points of information characterizing it. So it will be necessary to collect these data and structure them in dedicated databases. This knowledge base is not going to magically appear and it is wise to start building it today. 

An e-commerce system including the existing functionalities of the booking engine. Here again, the hotel will have a much wider activity than just renting rooms, 2 breakfasts and 3 dinners. It will have to sell simultaneously goods and services from various horizons as we have seen before.

And finally, the hotel will need a CRM designed to simplify and automate high volume sales (real and virtual), operations and data management.
 

Processing Transactions 

As soon as commercial transactions will take place in the Metaverse, it will be necessary to implement currencies, and what better than crypto-currencies? But why create your own crypto-currency? The first condition is, of course, to have many owners and users of this currency, so that it is liquid. The second condition is that this currency has associated rights that will give it a value (DAO, privileged access to the hotels of the group, loyalty points, discount on the purchase of NFT, etc).

Now that we have a currency, we need to issue property titles, an invoice, in short something that proves that you have purchased a service or that you own a digital good. Well, hotels will use NFTs for that.

So sooner or later hotels will join the Metaverse. The process will be very gradual. In the end, two categories of hotels will coexist: the hotels present in the Metaverse and the others that will have abandoned their presence on these media to Booking or Expedia.  


About the Author

Daniel Doppler is president at Quicktext AI.