Home Blockchain Cutting Through the Hotel Hype of Blockchain, Web3, and the Metaverse |

Cutting Through the Hotel Hype of Blockchain, Web3, and the Metaverse |

Cutting Through the Hotel Hype of Blockchain, Web3, and the Metaverse |
Let’s ignore the fact that most buildings in the Metaverse currently look like a glorified Minecraft simulation without any meaningful gamification to compel active daily use. The main obstacle is that most people do not yet have a VR headset and are therefore excluded from the said immersive pre-experience.

By Larry and Adam Mogelonsky – 17.08.2022

Now that we’re firmly in “crypto winter,” it’s time to sober up on all the promised hospitality innovations in blockchain, web3, metaverse, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). While we are both big proponents of this space as we see many lucrative opportunities for hotels around the world, these use cases cannot be too far-fetched or inconvenient for all stakeholders, lest they don’t fall flat.

This article is not intended as an introductory lesson in web3, but be aware that for all inventions throughout human history, innovations that increase convenience will eventually become king. This convenience can be on the client side, such as Apply Pay or Google Pay which are currently working to eliminate the need to carry a physical wallet. This can also happen for internal stakeholders, like any automation tools implemented behind the scenes in hotels to reduce the amount of repetitive work.

With many proposed applications for blockchain technologies, it’s good to be skeptical. Stemming the axiom of convenience is king, the three cardinal questions we ask and answer in any discussion related to the metaverse or NFTs are:

  1. How is it more convenient for the customer?
  2. Why can’t we do this using existing non-blockchain systems?
  3. Will it save money for the organization or the hotel brand?

Always control your costs

Let’s start with the third question and go back. As any good financier knows, you can control your costs, but core revenue is always a bit ambiguous, especially with the pandemic hit followed by the resumption of travel, which gives us no verifiable historical data to short term on occupancy and rates to be budgeted. . Yes, there’s a lot of potential revenue from implementing blockchain as well as a significant first-mover advantage, but there’s also no guarantee that top-notch NFT promises or building a hotel in the metaverse will contribute significantly to the bottom line.

Therefore, you need a keen eye on the cost of these systems in terms of initial setup and ongoing SaaS, as well as the time lost in retraining your teams, the resources needed to change the corporate culture in order to fully embrace the potential of web3, the opportunity cost where your IT pros could focus on other labor efficiency projects (probably more crucial at this point) and any customer dissatisfaction incurred during the onboarding process.

Few web3 experts declare and then dispel all those hidden time-based expenses (time you probably don’t have right now). Frankly, with labor issues dominating all of our thoughts these days, it’s very hard to justify a nice web3 project to have, even if forecasts show a huge uptick within five years.

Stack your technology

It’s called a tech stack because it’s built one layer at a time, each one being built to co-exist with the deeper previous layers. Thus, the fundamental element of any metaverse or the use of an NFT platform that operates using a cryptocurrency is how these Web3 applications will interact with the pre-existing ecosystem. Unless it’s an entirely new property that also plans to develop its own software from scratch, most web3s aren’t yet set up to be “turnkey” for home platforms. .

Similar to the current progression towards digital room keys accessible through a mobile wallet or branded app, Web3 platforms must offer the same transitional flexibility so that customers who want to stick with the old-fashioned methodology of the plastic key card (and those who don’t have a phone new enough to facilitate this progress) aren’t forced into a methodology they perceive to be inconvenient.

Given these interaction difficulties, the second question comes into play. Many proposed Web3 utilities can be accompanied three-quarters of the way using non-blockchain technologies, but with higher labor costs. However, these legacy systems will be easier to deploy, won’t disrupt your corporate culture, and will be more convenient for the average consumer. For example, since most travelers do not yet know how a blockchain or crypto wallet works, hotels investigating NFT projects should also consider how they can facilitate payment in USD or another fiat currency, conversion in crypto mostly happening automatically and out of sight.

The future is frictionless

For our purposes, consider the word without friction as a synonym of practice. Now, talking about the metaverse for a moment, consider the value proposition of discovering a hotel in one of these virtual worlds instead of going there in real life.

A valuable use case for the Metaverse is that people can pre-experience the digital twin of a room or event venue before, and thereby incentivize, a booking. This has great potential, both for familiarization with the property and for upselling or visualizing furniture configurations. The Metaverse also has lucrative training apps. However, the technologies are not practical enough for both sides of the stakeholder equation.

Let’s ignore the fact that most buildings in the Metaverse currently look like a glorified Minecraft simulation without any meaningful gamification to compel active daily use. The main hurdle is that most people don’t have VR headsets yet and are therefore excluded from the said immersive pre-experience, while controller rigs aren’t user-friendly enough for non-tech-savvy vendors. To sell rooms online, isn’t it more practical for hotel teams to simply film and then upload a short virtual tour? And to visit an event location, wouldn’t it be easier to have a video call with a sales manager who can walk you through the space, all with live Q&A?

On the training side, remember that part of hospitality is the family bonds developed between co-workers – a key non-wage incentive to drive employee retention. Yes, the metaverse can help provide more flexibility when it comes to a work-from-home model. But onboarding typically involves a lot of in-person, quality time between trainee and trainer, and shifting much of that to a cooler, less personal channel, like interacting primarily in a virtual world, can discourage some associates from staying at work.

A Crypto Spring Dream

All these current hurdles aside, we are still optimistic. A lot of capital (both monetary and human) is being invested in developing the platforms that will make NFT buying or tokengating more convenient for the average hotel guest and make the metaverse look eerily real so that people really want to stay there. Humans are horrible at predicting exponential trends, so expect it to happen much faster than you think.

To reiterate from the start, always evaluate technologies in terms of what will give your customers more time to have fun or your teams more time to focus on other tasks, i.e. convenience. On top of that, as a cardinal rule, also be careful with shiny new toys that don’t come with a polish kit. As we often joke among ourselves, if we were given $100 for every time we heard a tech company describe itself as innovative or groundbreaking, we’d be retired on a yacht in the Mediterranean. This was the case with the last ICO and NFT boom and then crash where most crypto projects turned out to be vaporware. That said, survivors will thrive.

Look beyond the buzzwords and ask yourself what will drive mass adoption based on convenience and current value. Blockchain will eventually “change everything” and that’s something you need to explore and then roadmap, but all implementations need to be designed in terms of improving the onsite experience and overall value for customers before everything.

Larry and Adam Mogelonsky represent one of the world’s most published hospitality writing teams, with over a decade of material online. As partners of Mogel Consulting Limited Hotel, a Toronto-based consulting firm, Larry focuses on asset management, sales and operations while Adam specializes in hotel technology and marketing. Their experience encompasses properties around the world, both branded and independent, and ranging from luxury and boutique to select service. Their work includes six “Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?” (2012), “Lamas Rule” (2013), “Hotel Llama” (2015), “The Llama is Inn” (2017), “The Hotel Mogel” (2018) and “More Hotel Mogel” (2020). You can reach Larry at larry@hotelmogel.com or Adam to adam@hotelmogel.com to discuss hospitality challenges or to book speaking engagements.

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