By Adam Mogelonsky, Larry Mogelonsky
Okay, the hype part for this new technology is clearly over (at least according to the Gartner Hype Cycle). But that doesn’t mean the metaverse is destined for a New Mexico landfill like all those unsold cartridges for the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial video game. In fact, it’s the exact opposite, with travel and hospitality as two top beneficiaries.
Think back, if you are old enough to do so, to a time just before the internet reached every home in America: the late 1990s. Just as the dotcom went from boom to bust, all the trolls came out from under their respective bridges to boastfully proclaim that the internet was dead and no one needed email because the postal service worked more than fine. That’s where we’re at with the metaverse. In an ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ media incentivization structure, pronouncing the death of the metaverse makes sense.
Furthermore, humans are naturally horrible at predicting exponential trends. Right now, the metaverse is a fringe outlet with Minecraft-esque graphics, but the elbow of the curve is nigh. No quote better epitomizes the mental shift that hoteliers must undergo to see how profoundly the metaverse will change the way travelers and hotel guests purchase than Henry Ford himself when he said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
With this in mind, it takes a boldness of vision to thread into uncharted waters with a new technology. Luckily, the metaverse really isn’t anything novel; it’s a natural progression that’s been a long time coming. We could get into all sorts of definitions about AR, VR, MR, XR, avatars, digital twins, B2A and phygital marketing, but really, just think of the metaverse as a catchall term for the 3D internet, filled with immersive destinations, either as copies of locations in the real world or wholly fictitious ones.
Now onto the word of the day and where you will earn your bread from this tech: visualization. Similar to how we map out the customer purchase pathway or the end-to-end guest experience, we can look at how the virtual renderings offered by the metaverse can amp up the pre-stay and post-stay experiences, as well as enhance BOH operations.
- Let leisure guests play around with a 3D twin of your hotel so they can ‘try before they buy’ your guestrooms, where within this virtual representation they can also view your amenities to help you cross-sell add-ons or even select individual rooms (that is, attribute-based upselling)
- Have your sales director squire an event planner through the 3D twin of your hotel, going through different table configurations and room section buyouts, all of it engineered to increase buyer confidence in the product so that the total contract is greater and all without the need for an expensive site visit
- You can use training in a virtual representation of your property to quickly bring new hires up to speed (versus shadowing) as well as to screen for their overall aptitude once on premises
- You can use next that 3D twin for cross-training so that associates in one department can learn to be utility players, thus making the job more dynamic and boosting their morale
- Finally, you can use the metaverse for specific SOPs that may not be part of the everyday checklist and are usually taught in person by the most senior member of a department
- All about loyalty, you can give exclusive access to past guests to certain sections of your metaverse creation, helping build anticipation for their return visit
- A hotel might document certain peak moments of a guest’s onsite stay and translate them into a virtual recording for said guest to relive the experience years later back at home