As featured on ehotelier.com, by RendezVerse CEO, Peter Gould.
It cannot be stressed enough that people are the heart of hospitality.
Innovations in technology, designed to enhance hospitality offerings, do not detract from this focus on people, if anything they place people more firmly in the centre of operations, providing solutions which make browsing, buying and even experiencing hotels easier and more convenient for people.
The ethos of Web3 technology is about empowering individuals, it’s not tech for tech’s sake, it’s about bringing people together and facilitating a shared experience with an accurate sense of presence in the virtual world.
The appetite for immersive experiences is already clear. Accenture’s Technology Vision 2022, “Meet Me in the Metaverse: The Continuum of Technology and Experience Reshaping Business,” indicates that 55% of consumers agree that more of their lives and livelihoods are moving into digital spaces. And where digital spaces once meant staring vacantly at a video call, digital spaces are now being experienced like any other physical space, affecting the senses and allowing for valuable interaction between people. This is why the metaverse is meaningful, why it is relevant, and why it presents an opportunity for the world of hospitality.
The customer-centric solution…
Imagine an event planner needs to find and book the perfect venue for a huge corporate event, for a client based 1,000s of miles across the world. Traditionally, this would involve hours of website scrolling, raising an inquiry, waiting for a response, booking a site visit, usually rearranging a couple of times, racking up air miles and CO2 emissions whilst flying and driving from venue to venue, mounting costs and more than likely, increased stress levels.
But by harnessing the power of Web3 solutions, this doesn’t have to be the way.
Through the creation of true-to-life digital twins of real-world spaces, hotels can now offer prospective clients the opportunity to pre-experience a hotel room or event space prior to booking. Through the power of the metaverse and VR technology, clients can gain a realistic ‘try before you buy’ experience which blows photographs and 360-degree video tours out of the water when it comes to marketing a hotel offering.
Without moving from their desk, our imaginary event planner can be transported to and feel truly present in incredible venues across the world in minutes, with no financial burden and their eco-conscience intact. Hotel staff can greet and interact with the prospective client, as easily as in real life and through the manipulation of their digital twin, venues can display different layouts, decors, lighting, even weather at the touch of a button.
From virtual site visits like this, to virtual attendance at a hybrid conference, this is what is meant by a meaningful metaverse for the hospitality industry which solves a problem and places customer experience as the highest priority.
The business no-brainer…
And the benefits of the metaverse are not just valuable for the customer, they are intensely valuable from a hotel business perspective too.
Organising in-person venue site visits takes time, admin, cleaning resources, costs for lighting, heating or air conditioning and the time spent showing a space is time when that space cannot be booked or be profitable. This is often why site visits are frequently rearranged, as hotels do not wish to turn down bookings due to a scheduled scouting visit. The metaverse solution, cuts all these problems and makes business savvy sense for everyone involved.
Another practical application of Web3 solutions in hospitality is the deployment of the metaverse for training purposes. Using immersive virtual reality leads to shorter training cycles and increased efficiency and profitability when fresh staff join the team.
Staff can feel truly present in the hotel space without physically being on site, they can familiarise themselves with locations and processes through training, which is engaging and worthwhile, and means they can hit the ground running when they start their new role.
And finally, so the saying goes, ‘time is money’ but in the realm of hospitality space is also money. In the metaverse space is without limits, making for unlimited revenue when it comes to hosting virtual or hybrid events. When your venue’s physical space is at capacity, unlimited virtual tickets can add to the event’s profitability.
With the creation of true-to-life digital twins, virtual participants are no longer video fatigued bystanders but are instead engaged in an experience where they feel present, involved and invested in a fully immersive event.
The power of a metaverse presence…
As I’m sure you’re well aware, the hospitality market is one of the most fiercely competitive industries and businesses are always hunting for new ways to make their offering stand out and set themselves apart from competitors. Right now, the metaverse is a way to do that.
While Web 2.0 brought a participation revolution — moving from a ‘read-only’ web to one which anyone and everyone could publish to their heart’s content — Web3 is on another level, introducing the web in which you have true presence, entering the online environment to meet and share experiences in the fourth dimension.
Though a metaverse presence will give your business an edge now, the industry is such that sitting still is as good as going backwards. The metaverse is set to become the next iteration of the internet and your business metaverse will soon become as essential a part of the business toolkit as your website.
So, the time to adopt is now and set in motion a meaningful metaverse presence, centred around people and shared experience.
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.