We spoke to Accor Hotels in Cannes Lions to find out how the hospitality giant plans to harness the power of the metaverse.
Increasing digitalization and ever-evolving technology is shaking up the global hospitality industry. Now, French hotel giant Accor is dipping its toe into the metaverse to create new customer experiences.
Imagine trying to book yourself a hotel room or suite, or meeting space for your next big business event, without leaving your home or office.
The emerging metaverse, a digital world powered by 3D, virtual reality and augmented reality technologies, is set to open up all kinds of new ‘try before you buy’ experiences for hotel customers in the future.
‘Dreaming and Searching’
Accor Group is a hospitality company fueled by its potential, hungry to take its guests to the next level. It has already entered the metaverse, focusing on the “dream and discover” aspect of booking a hotel room.
“There are so many opportunities out there and we started doing that with Ibis Styles, for example, when we invite people to be part of the Metaverse, to find out what they would enjoy physically if they lived, Antoine Dubois, Head of Marketing Communications Guest Experience and Loyalty (Europe and North Africa) at Accor told EuronewsNext.
“We created some locations and some bedrooms in the metaverse and saw that people are curious too”.
enhancing the guest experience
Accor is not only focusing on the ‘try before you buy’ dimension, but also on guest experiences during travel. In Pompeii, Italy, it is bringing the history of the city to life through the Metaverse.
“You stay in mgallery [Accor hotel brand] Pompeii places itself right next to and Metaverse helps you see what the city was like before the volcanic crisis,” Dubois explained.
“The Metaverse can help and enhance your experience when you’re stuck and it’s a great tool to use”.
Accor isn’t the only hospitality giant to explore the metaverse. Last year, Millennium Hotels & Resorts launched a hotel in the virtual world, a move promoted as a world first.
With avatars guiding guests, The M Social Decentraland was described as redefining hotels through the creation of “online adventures that integrate with real-life events”.
mass market challenge
“The issue we have with metaverse is consumer access and use,” Dubois said.
“If we look at the data, we have hit some micro targets and we are a mass market, mainly for brands. So, we need to make sure that when we deploy things and on the metaverse If we develop things, we can reach people on a large scale”.
According to research published last year by McKinsey, the metaverse could generate more than €4.5 trillion in value by 2030.
The study also showed that nearly 60 percent of consumers are excited about the transition of everyday activities to the metaverse.
“There are definitely two worlds today,” Dubois told Euronews Next. “Plus 45, of course you have some people plus 45 who are curious and enjoy the metaverse and try it out, but not on a large scale.
“And the younger generation, they are moving step-by-step from the world of influencers and social media to the metaverse today. So, we need to follow that path and follow them to that place”.
Upskilling Staff in the Metaverse
Accor says it also recognizes Metaverse’s potential to take traditional forms of training in the hospitality group, creating virtual learning spaces and charting a new path for the future of work.
Dubois explained, “One of the things that is working really super well at Metaverse is when you think about not just B2C, but B2B. For example, when they join the company, they train themselves. Creating a complete universe of the metaverse for all hotel workers to do.”
“To welcome people in, to have a proper check-in, to solve a problem and to be coached in that space of the metaverse, without any implication for the actual customer, is something that’s great.” working properly”.
Is this the end of the ‘real-verse’ journey?
In 2021, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg hailed the Metaverse as the next big idea for the Internet, even renaming his social media empire Meta. Traveling online was one of the examples he talked about.
But since then, skeptical voices have questioned whether the Metaverse will live up to all the hype. There is also debate on the privacy and security of the users.
“Certainly, the metaverse is an opportunity to go further, but I don’t think it will certainly stop people traveling in the future,” predicted Dubois, looking at the long-term face of hospitality.
“Ultimately, the hotel universe, at the end of your consumer journey, it’s a physical experience. You’ve got to sleep somewhere, you’ve got to eat somewhere, you’ve got to enjoy yourself, you’ve got to get somewhere in a physical way”.