Taking a vacation in the metaverse

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Ever since the metaverse was announced last year by Meta, organizations from various industries around the world have shown an interest in it. While the metaverse does have its benefits for some use cases, for most organizations, it is an opportunity for them to jump into the bandwagon and showcase their capabilities virtually as well.

Prior to Meta’s metaverse, Decentraland was already setting the pace as a 3D virtual world browser-based platform. Leveraging the Ethereum blockchain through the MANA cryptocurrency, users can buy virtual plots of land on the platform as NFTs.

Opened to the public in February 2020, major brands have appeared in Decentraland or bought properties in it. Among the brands in Decentraland include Samsung, Adidas, and even major fashion brands. Samsung even launched its latest phone model in Decentraland in January this year.

With more brands considering taking up virtual real estate in Decentraland, the price of these plots has increased as well. In November 2021, a patch of virtual real estate in Decentraland was sold for a record $2.4 million worth of cryptocurrency, the buyer being crypto investor Tokens.com.

Now, Millennium Hotels and Resorts have become the first hospitality group to operate a hotel in the metaverse. The M Social Decentraland is modeled based on M Social hotels around the world. The new hotel encapsulates M Social’s brand essence of being a trendsetting lifestyle and aims to be a place for all to gather and discover the virtual reality universe of Decentraland.

Located near Genesis Plaza, at the heart of Decentraland, M Social Decentraland is positioned as a hub for explorers keen to discover new experiences and connect with like-minded individuals.

“M Social is about being different, being one of a kind. As we look towards the future, we need to look past the traditional model of hospitality and engage our guests through new immersive experiences. We hope to redefine hospitality through M Social Decentraland by creating online adventures that integrate with real-life events,” said Mr. Kwek Leng Beng, Executive Chairman of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Limited.

The virtual hotel will enable users to interact with an avatar that will guide them on a journey of discovery through the hotel. While the hotel is virtual, there are opportunities to get real hotel stays as well.

According to Saurabh Prakash, Group Senior Vice President, Commercial for Millennium Hotels and Resorts, M Social Decentraland will enable them to reach out to new and existing customers in both the physical and virtual world with online connection to offline engagement.

“The hospitality landscape is rapidly evolving. We are embracing different technologies to engage customers and enhance guest experiences. The metaverse is one such avenue that presents a myriad of opportunities for us to create unique social connections with our guests,” added Prakash.

The reality is though, the hotel and other brands in Decentraland only provide a virtual experience to users. While those that enjoy playing with avatars and being in Decentraland may find these new concepts interesting, there is still much to be done about perfecting the experience in the metaverse.

For example, when Samsung had an event earlier this year, the platform encountered many problems which left many users frustrated. While technology innovations continue to improve Decentraland and the metaverse, it may take some time before users can have a perfect metaverse experience.

There is no denying that the metaverse is the future. Brands will continue to join the hype and be part of the metaverse.  For now, though, a vacation in the metaverse is a possibility but it remains to be seen if it will be enough to attract users.