Defining the Metaverse and The Future of Digital Hospitality and Tourism

Written by Jamie du Plessis

As technology evolves, specific industries will be affected more than others after the Covid-19 pandemic. A recently developed technology called the Metaverse, or what some may call Web3, is poised to cause a massive disruption in one industry in particular: hospitality. Although some areas of innovation are still in their infancy, hotels are already leveraging emerging technologies, like the Metaverse, to create memorable travel experiences and boost revenue.

What is the Metaverse?

The concept was first imagined by Neal Stephenson in Snow Crash, a science fiction novel written in 1992. It started truly coming into existence after Mark Zuckerberg reintroduced the concept. The Metaverse is the digital version of our world. In this virtual reality, you can explore, engage, and communicate with one another. 

Snow Crash came to life and is taking centre stage. With the use of headgear in most cases, it is now possible to interact in a realistic 3D world that employs interactive holographic computer-generated augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Within these interactive holographic projections, you can use resources like cryptocurrency and Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) to enhance the experience.

In this sense, many experts have compared the Metaverse to the internet: a network of websites, which are the respective digital worlds, and the people who use them. 

Think of it as a massive online multiplayer game to imitate real-world experiences online. People can visit and explore these environments using VR equipment and avatars. There, they can communicate with others, explore different destinations, attend virtual events, and shop for virtual goods.

The Backbone of the Metaverse

What is the backbone of the Metaverse? It can be explained as the combined features added into the Metaverse to create incredible value. The main viewpoint is that the blockchain developer roadmap is the process that helped structure the Metaverse, and NFTs are digital assets. Whereas artificial intelligence (AI) is on the frontlines of the system that allows you to interact with the people around you and in an experience economy.

According to Bloomberg Intelligence, the blockchain developer roadmap has seen an expenditure growth estimated to hit USD 800 Billion by 2024. It’s 2022, and some major players, such as Marriott International among hotel and travel services worldwide, have already adopted the Metaverse and, in turn, blockchain solutions.

Next to blockchain coding, NFTs are worth billions in their own right. It further streamlines the system by allowing the integration of unique digital assets that cannot be copied or replicated. The first NFT dubbed “quantum” was created in 2014 by digital creator Kevin Mckoy. The NFT market brought in an avenue where artists could finally be safely compensated for their work. 

Blockchain coding allowed digital artists to copyright their work. You could always trace it back to the original creator regardless of how many purchases were made. The development permitted royalties to be paid back to creators. The evolution in the NFT market demonstrated that an NFT might also be attributed to a real-world object, not only a digital asset.

The Digital Hospitality & Tourism Experience of Tomorrow

You might be wondering, is it necessary or possible for the industry to be involved in the Metaverse?

Building an experience economy is at the forefront of what it means to succeed in the industry, and the developments have exciting outcomes. Knowing that brands like Marriott, one of the brands mentioned previously, are actively assisting with the disruption of hospitality and tourism provides an apparent response to this concern. 

Travellers and digital aficionados have not only embraced but celebrated the current contributions and their prospects. Marriott had released the first travel-inspired NFTs in the past. While an up-and-coming hospitality and real estate group based in Singapore, Figment, had launched an NFT citizenship with the first ever Metaverse country club, alongside an NFT museum collection.

Tourism has benefited from the platform too. Recently Matsuko, a Slovakian start-up, helped develop a holographic experience that brought the Tour De France experience to fans. This development changes how events can and will be held in the future.

The platform also works on improving how hotels can function inside the technology, alongside the traditional systems that have always been used. The way that both hotels and customers benefit equates to financial transactions and the flow of data that allows for both increased security and stability. 

Many more processes are being implemented to improve business core processes and crypto tourism. The main question is, how can Africa step into the Metaverse’s potential and join the global disruption?

Read and follow Tourism News Africa to participate in our Metaverse series as it takes you on an adventure that will no doubt inspire and motivate you. Everyone’s interested in what’s happening and coming next, are you?

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