The idea of the metaverse has existed since the 1990s and has become a more well-known concept in more recent times, as technology has advanced. This has opened up metaverse travel and tourism opportunities, which businesses in the sector are keen to capitalise on. In this post, you will find details on the metaverse as a concept, its current uses within the tourism industry, and the many metaverse tourism opportunities that are on the horizon.
The Metaverse: What Does It Mean and How Does It Work?
The concept of the metaverse refers to the creation of virtual worlds, which are centred around social connections. This can take many forms, from virtual reality experiences, where users are placed in a digitally transformed environment, to augmented reality overlays of the real world, or even through video games.
Often, the concept of the metaverse is also associated with users having control over a digital avatar, which is then used to communicate with others who are active in the metaverse. Aside from its social component, businesses are also exploring the various opportunities the metaverse provides for them to reach customers wherever they are.
This has then led to the metaverse being seen as one of the emerging tourism trends. As metaverse travel and tourism opportunities continue to emerge, and as user adoption increases, it is likely that the metaverse will play a larger role in the tourism industry, enhancing communication and the customer or guest experience.
How Do the Metaverse and Virtual Reality Differ?
When discussing the idea of the metaverse, some people initially struggle to understand how it is distinct from virtual reality as
For example, interactive virtual worlds can also be created and explored through video games, interactive video content, augmented reality and other similar technology. A good way to understand this distinction is to think of virtual reality as just one possible technology that can facilitate metaverse tourism offerings.
What is the Tourism Industry?
When exploring the idea of metaverse tourism, it can also be useful to have a clear definition of the tourism industry. This is the section of the service industry focused on activities related to short-term movement of people away from where they live. It includes transportation, guest accommodation, entertainment, and food and beverages.
How is the Metaverse Changing the Travel Industry?
The COVID-19 pandemic helped to demonstrate one of the ways the travel industry is potentially vulnerable, but there are other ways besides. For instance, as awareness of climate change increases, and as more action is required, it is feasible that customers will focus on local rather than international travel.
These vulnerabilities help to highlight one of the most crucial ways in which the concept of metaverse tourism is helping to change the travel industry. The idea of interactive virtual worlds could help to alter the way customers engage with other locations and may replace some instances of physical travel, without hurting the industry.
Potential Benefits for Tourism in the Metaverse
While it is important to understand the ways in which metaverse travel and tourism is helping to change the industry, business owners and other decision-makers also need to have an awareness of the tangible benefits. You can learn about some of the ways this particular form of travel technology can help businesses below:
Inspire Tourism-Related Purchases
A major plus point associated with the concept of metaverse tourism is the way it can help to provide inspiration for tourists. For example, interactive virtual reality experiences can recreate real-world environments and provide travellers with a clear idea of what they might expect when they visit a particular destination.
The same concept can be applied to hotels and transportation, with VR experiences helping potential guests to understand what properties have to offer, or how long a journey will take. Ultimately, this means the metaverse can help to inspire tourists and encourage them to complete a booking or purchase.
Aside from providing inspiration, metaverse travel and tourism solutions have the power to greatly enhance booking processes by providing valuable information that cannot be accurately delivered in other ways. This then makes it more likely that a customer will complete their booking journey, rather than back out.
For example, hotels can use VR tours or digital avatars to allow customers to actually walk around a realistic recreation of their property, getting a sense of how big rooms are, and what facilities are on offer. Travel agents, meanwhile, can use VR tours to provide customers with life-like experiences of a location they wish to travel to.
Ultimately, the real value of metaverse tourism offerings during a booking process is their ability to increase overall booking volumes. This occurs because of a combination of the previous two factors.
Initially, customers are able to gain inspiration from virtual and augmented reality travel technology, while the actual experience of booking hotels, travel, restaurant tables and other similar services becomes much more enjoyable, informative, and useful as a tool for influencing purchasing decisions.
Examples of the Tourism Industry Taking Advantage of the Metaverse
To further enhance your understanding of metaverse tourism solutions, it can be useful to read about some actual examples of the tourism industry taking full advantage of technology in this area.
Immersive Virtual Travelling – VR Tourism
Virtual reality technology goes hand-in-hand with the concept of metaverse tourism, but it has the power to take things to a whole new level through VR tourism. Here, virtual reality experiences are used to either replace the need to travel, or to provide additional experiences that enhance real travel experiences.
Virtual reality tours can already provide realistic experiences, where people can enjoy exploring tourist attractions from the comfort of their own home. Taking this to the next level, however, these virtual tourist attractions are also now being used to host virtual concerts, virtual entertainment events, or virtual business meetings.
it already exists. Essentially, the defining trait of the metaverse is the creation of an interactive virtual world, so while virtual reality plays a role, it is not a necessity.
Augmented Reality in Tourism
Those responsible for managing a tourism business, or for tourism management in general, may also wish to explore some of the ways augmented reality is being used to provide metaverse travel and tourism solutions. For instance, a smartphone and augmented reality apps can help to provide information about real-world surroundings.
This could result in interactive hotel elements, AR-powered tourist destinations, and the use of beacon technology to provide relevant push notifications in the perfect moment.
Facilitating Online Trade Shows and Expos
Trade shows, expos, and similar events were adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and needed to be brought into the online sphere as a result. These events are also susceptible to many of the same threats as the travel industry and tourism industry in general, such as increased climate change awareness.
Metaverse travel and tourism solutions can help to take these online events to the next level, providing a greater sense of immersion. Not only can the events be moved into the online sphere, but the kind of social interactions that are possible in person can also be replicated through VR, the use of avatars, or through alternate means.
Virtual Theme Parks and Other Attractions
Finally, one of the most significant ways in which metaverse tourism is taking off is through the creation of virtual theme parks, virtual museums, virtual zoos, and other similar attractions. This can provide a realistic experience for customers, who get to enjoy something akin to what a real experience of this kind would be.
Yet, at the same time, it can provide major advantages for businesses. For example, a virtual theme park is not subject to the same strict safety regulations as a real theme park, and it is also not necessarily even bound by the rules of gravity. Similarly, a virtual zoo does not require companies to obtain and care for real animals, and the animals in that zoo could include everything from current animals, to extinct animals, and even entirely fictional creatures.
Metaverse Tourism and Blockchain Technology
Aside from virtual reality, augmented reality and similar tools, one of the biggest technology trends associated with the metaverse tourism concept is blockchain technology. This is especially important for businesses in the industry, as it can be used for everything from secure payments to ID verification.
Metaverse Tourism and the Benefits for Hotels
An aspect of metaverse tourism that has seen significant growth is the idea of the metaverse within hotels. Not only can the metaverse assist with the booking process, a number of hotels are also experimenting with ideas like metaverse spaces for celebrations, allowing people in different parts of the world to come together.
Opportunities for Metaverse Tourism and Hospitality
As with metaverse tourism, there are a number of exciting opportunities within the hospitality industry and businesses are gradually waking up to this fact. Restaurant have the power to take potential customers through cooking experiences to encourage bookings, while guest accommodation businesses can offer tours and metaverse meetings.
Virtual Reality, and the Travel and Hospitality Metaverse
Although the two technologies are not entirely synonymous, the metaverse goes hand-in-hand with the idea of virtual reality, and metaverse tourism opportunities are largely expected to focus on virtual experiences. However, VR is impacting other areas too, including virtual booking engines or interfaces.
Metaverse tourism and metaverse travel technology are helping to alter the relationship between businesses and their customers by bridging physical distances and offering new experiences. In particular, the metaverse concept provides opportunities to inspire customers and provide valuable information that is likely to increase bookings.