Last Friday, the colloquium “Hospitality and Metaverse: Evolution or Revolution?” was held. on the benches of the Sorbonne. The opportunity to take stock of the development of these parallel virtual worlds, but only to touch on the application cases in the hotel industry.
“The term metaverse was not coined by Mark Zuckerberg, but originated in Neal Stephenson’s novel Virtual Samurai.” correctly recalled Catherine Lejealle, teacher and researcher in digital marketing at ISC Paris, at the opening of the colloquium “Hospitality & Metavers: Evolution or Revolution? that was held a few days ago at the Sorbonne. According to her, this immersive, persistent and social universe will be disruptive…in the future. At the moment, many obstacles remain, especially in interoperability between different platforms (Fortnite, Altspace VR, The Sandbox, Cryptovexels, Horizon Worlds, etc.) and in technical performance (avatars in Meta’s Horizons don’t have legs yet).
However, some brands have embraced the metaverse to conduct experiments there. This is the case of Gucci and its virtual store on The Roblox, of Zara, which launched its “meta collection” on Zepeto, of Mr Clean and Carrefour that created a mini-game with the help of Procter & Gamble . “After the era of web-to-store, we are entering the era of metaverse-to-store”, said Catherine Lejealle. Metaverse will be a way for brands to promote themselves, like they did on Facebook or Instagram before. Proposed experiences help retain and engage users.
An idea concluded by Rémy Bompar, Strategy and Operations Manager at The Sandbox during a roundtable: “With us, Gucci comes to work on its brand image in a gamified environment.” According to him, the issue of security will be key in the mass adoption of the metaverse. “Gaming remains the most profitable experience today. In the short term, we won’t need virtual reality headsets. We favor desktop »he added.
Beginnings in the hotel industry
In the tourism sector and especially in the hotel industry, few companies have ventured into the adventure. Accor and Louvre Hotels Group are among them. “We are still at the beginning. Obstacles in terms of ergonomics, usability in connection with headphones and Wi-Fi stability are still very present.” explained Pauline Oster, Director of Management Operations at Accor.
Without going into specifics, both entities claim that the metaverse will make it possible to create a brand experience. “I don’t think it makes sense to sell rooms in the metaverse. On the other hand, it is possible to gamify the experience by offering quests for example”illustrates Nicolas Paepegaey, Head of Transformation at Louvre Hotels Group.
An idea shared by the representative of Accor: “Metaverse Will Transcend Customer Experience”. According to her, the MICE sector could find interest in it, especially in holding meetings or events. Accor’s Comex is also available on Meta’s Workplace platform. On the other hand, she does not think that visiting the rooms before staying will attract users.
Therefore, the metaverse seems to have an attraction for large hotel companies, but the time is only for experiments and few concrete cases exist today. It must be said that all this has a cost: according to Rémy Bompar, it is currently necessary to pay between 20 and 40,000 euros to buy a “land” (a virtual plot of land) in The Sandbox. As Nicolas Joly, Head of Casino Immobilier of the Casino Group rightly pointed out during the symposium: “A lot of light has been shed on the metaverse and it is being asked to evolve quickly, but all of this will take time.”