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05/05/2022

Transforming the Hotel Industry, One Digital Twin at a Time

The metaverse is about to revolutionize the way hotels and event spaces do business.
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two people wearing VR headsets

The internet is being reimagined. For some time, the metaverse was little more than a buzzword, mostly associated with video gaming. Recent developments, however, have established it in the minds of many people as the next wave of digital change. And, as such, it represents a huge opportunity for the future of the travel, hotel, and events industries.

The metaverse is set to transform the way in which hotels are marketed, how planners choose venues, and – eventually – the way that people meet and interact. An estimated 10 million hotel site visits are made each year, a large proportion of which are expensive, time-consuming, and bad for the environment. But, by allowing these visits to take place in a virtual, rather than physical space, the metaverse could soon improve their efficiency and effectiveness, removing the obstacles of cost, time, and distance. In short, the metaverse is about to revolutionise the way hotels and event spaces do business.

Booming business

The metaverse is often thought of in terms of virtual reality (VR) and gaming. While these are certainly an aspect of the metaverse – metaverse-games like Fortnite and Roblox are hugely successful – they don’t tell the whole story. Fundamentally, the metaverse is characterised by virtual environments that continue to exist whether a user is currently accessing them or not. And while VR is one means of accessing these environments, so too is augmented reality (AR), and even mobile phones and games consoles.

Business in the metaverse is booming among digital early adopters. Consumer brands such as Nike, Vans, and Ralph Lauren have created interactive experiences within Roblox to connect with potential customers, while celebrities including Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and Travis Scott have all secured a presence in Fortnite. In the corporate world, companies across various industries are using the metaverse to host virtual meetings, and to provide enhanced training to employees located across the globe. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that metaverse technology platforms are predicted to be worth $800 billion by 2024.

There is an opportunity, then, for the hotel and events industry to take advantage of what the metaverse has to offer, and explore new ways to market, monetise, and choose their offerings in the future.

Transforming operations

Although the metaverse is still a relatively nascent space, it possesses a number of capabilities that hotel companies can utilise to transform their operations.

For instance, event planners and organisers will be able to explore potential venues without having to make an initial in-person site inspection. With the use of digital twins of event spaces, they’ll enjoy an understanding of what the reality will look like without the need to spend time or money travelling to the venue itself.

The metaverse will also make it possible for event organisers to bring conference content and networking to anyone, wherever they are in the world. Hosting virtual stages and meeting rooms will allow conference planners to reach a global audience who, in turn, will be able to collaborate with each other in real time.

Important board meetings and life-changing pitches that require international participation can take place in the metaverse, too. Since the pandemic, such meetings have increasingly moved to digital formats. We’ve all become accustomed to speaking with colleagues and customers over Zoom or Teams. Sometimes, though, these video conferencing tools aren’t enough. The metaverse offers the opportunity to host meetings in an array of customisable virtual venues – anything from the ballroom of the Titanic to the lounge of an English gentleman’s club. And, with the ability to securely record these meetings on a blockchain, the metaverse provides an invaluable service for meeting planners and hotels whose clients require the utmost privacy and security.

A logical adoption

In addition to the flexibility and customisation it offers, the metaverse also represents significant environmental benefits for hotel and events companies. A recent report revealed that the average conference attendee produces over 170 kg of CO2 emissions a day. What’s more, a three-day conference attended by 1,000 people will create 5,670 kg of waste, more than half of which goes directly to landfill. Not only can the metaverse drastically cut down site inspections by over 80%, it also allows hotels to offer hybrid conferences with their digital twins. This means that events can minimise their carbon footprint with a proportion of attendees attending remotely. By cutting down on unnecessary travel, it allows hotel businesses to employ more sustainable, carbon neutral practices.

The metaverse is still in its early stages, but that hasn’t stopped forward-thinking companies from exploring its potential. And it is set to change the hotel and events industry forever. Indeed, there is a logic to its adoption here. After all, the metaverse is always open. It has no border, and it needs no passports. It allows anyone, anywhere to visit sites and meeting spaces, participate in events, and meet who they want, all from the comfort of their own desk or on the move, on a mobile device. 

With no barriers around the cost, time, and carbon footprint of travel, there’s no longer any need to weigh up the pros and cons around whether or not to attend an event or site visit in person. By allowing hotel owners everywhere to host events and organise site visits in secure, precision-crafted virtual spaces, the metaverse will truly revolutionise the industry, cutting down on unnecessary in-person visits, and improving the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and environmental impact of marketing, meetings, and events.

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peter gould rendezverse

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Gould is CEO of RendezVerse. With over 25 years of experience across the travel, hotel and events industry, Peter has founded companies and brands including Great Hotels of the World, m&i, TFest and White Label Travel.

As CEO of RendezVerse, Peter is responsible for strategy and vision, as well as guiding company growth through each phase of investment.

In addition to leading successful tech start-ups in the travel and events space, Peter also shares his knowledge as a mentor for young entrepreneurs as part of the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative.

Peter is also founder and host of the Love Travel Awards and hosts the Travel Tastemakers Podcast.