By Peter Gould, CEO of RendezVerse
Hotel and event venue scouting is currently an inefficient, outdated, and disconnected journey. When considering venues on an international scale, a journey is precisely what venue scouting becomes, involving costly and time-consuming travel, which is a drain on the event planner and the planet.
Sustainability awareness is undoubtedly on the rise in the hotel and hospitality industry; hotels are trying to limit single-use plastic, recycle wherever possible, run fewer laundry loads, and install efficient heating and lighting systems. Yet these efforts are a mere drop in the ocean compared to the environmental impact of unnecessary international travel.
With the media and consumers poised to detect greenwashing, well-intentioned pledges and carbon emission offsetting plans won’t cut it anymore, as 78% of global travellers are opting for more eco-friendly stays. For the hotel business and the planet, it’s time to act and make a meaningful difference to emissions in the hotel and hospitality industry.
The most common alternative to inspecting a venue in person is to access the venue online. With no travel necessary and no subsequent environmental damage, an event planner can view photos and videos of the prospective space, read reviews, and make a vain attempt to get a feel for the place whilst at their desk on the other side of the world.
Yes, the planet may be better off in this scenario, but your booking schedule will likely take a hit.
Ultimately, an unguided event planner blindly roaming around your venue’s website is equivalent to arriving at your venue and being told to show themselves around – it’s ineffective, disconnected, and unlikely to be conducive to closing a deal.
What’s more, website imagery is often outdated and cannot be easily customised to show the space’s versatility. For example, the images may be taken in high summer, yet the event in question takes place in deepest winter; the event planner must rely on imagination and guesswork to decide if this venue could be the winter wonderland they require.
And finally, even with reference to the world’s most spectacular venues, it remains that people are the heart of hospitality. This is why in-person venue inspections are so crucial for inspiring and exciting prospective clients to trust you with their events. Without having that personal interaction, it’s harder to establish this essential trust, so while air miles and CO2 emissions may be reduced, venues will likely also see a reduction in sales without the connection of face-to-face meetings.
In 2022, through the power of virtual reality in the metaverse, online interactions can now look and feel like the real thing. Based on the creation of digital twin replicas of real-life spaces, the metaverse offers a time, cost, and eco-efficient alternative to in-person site visits without compromising on experience.
Annual site inspections for events are responsible for an annual CO2 output in the region of 500 million tonnes. Virtual reality can accelerate the industry’s move to Net-Zero by significantly cutting down the number of physical site inspections. By a blended mix of local and international travel. It is also estimated that Metaverse as a Service (MaaS) solution could save CO2 emissions equivalent to 100 million homes by 2026.
By elevating online site inspection options, hotels and venues will not only positively impact the planet, but it will also be able to provide prospective clients with a more efficient and well-rounded site visit experience.
Meeting and interacting with venue staff virtually, in the metaverse, means we can share the same space and feel present in each other’s company, despite being on different sides of the globe. Without the barrier of screens, we can look around, look at each other and see from a virtual perspective, yet connect on a level which replicates an in-person meeting.
Hospitality’s employment of a MaaS platform, like RendezVerse, also cuts the guesswork out of online site scouting, whilst also cutting emissions. At the touch of a button, planners can customise venues as they require. And rather than imagining what various venue layouts might be like, they can see them in seconds through digital manipulation.
By virtually pre-experiencing different layouts, décor, lighting, and even weather, event planners can make confident and fully informed decisions on prospective venues with shorter decision times and reduced staff time required on the part of the hotel, whilst eliminating, not simply offsetting, the need for travel.
Whilst currently operating in a B2B capacity, the opportunity presented by MaaS solutions in hospitality is vast and will no doubt soon extend to a B2C audience.
Hotels of all sizes will eventually digitise to offer entirely virtual environments. First replacing multimedia content on websites and eventually replacing websites altogether.
Savvy hotel and venue owners will be amongst the early adopters, and if the business benefits of VR and metaverse solutions aren’t compelling enough, the future of our planet is undoubtedly a convincing argument.
About the author, Peter Gould:
Chairman of Worldwide Events, founder and former CEO of Great Hotels of the World, Peter has always pioneered technology to make events and meetings more efficient. In 2010 he created Face2Face, a revolutionary scheduling software, for one-to-one meetings at events. On launching TFest in 2019, he introduced machine learning matchmaking to the travel industry, optimising meetings once again.
The future of the meetings and events industry is here. Are you ready?