The Impact of Metaverse on the Travel Industry
The concept of the metaverse is still quite new to even the most avid travellers and some industry professionals. There is so much yet to be known and explored in this realm to unlock the full potential of what many consider to be limitless possibilities. It is the next step in the advancement of the travel industry and digitally augmented experiences, while also restructuring how businesses are conducted in most industries by taking them from 2D to 3D.
The metaverse can bring almost unimaginable changes to the way customers interact with travel businesses. One of the most significant changes is the introduction of virtual tours of hotels and outdoor destinations that are located on the other side of the world from where you live. This is similar to checking out or trying out a product before buying it; in this case, instead of a product, you will be buying an experience. Hence, it used to be very difficult to make sure whether it was worth your money or not, until now.
Ever since the pandemic took the world by storm, travelling has become a far-fetched dream for many people. This led many travel companies to adopt VR and AR technologies to help secure a competitive edge and establish a solid foundation for their top-notch services. Although unable to replace the original, the metaverse can provide customers with the next best thing, a somewhat realistic travel experience by recreating the 3D models of real places, with the added advantage of selecting the lodging and the activities the customers want to try out while at the destination.
When the metaverse joins forces with the travel industry, it can open doors to multiple opportunities for a high-quality customer experience. It provides travellers with a chance to select and book accommodations and locations by virtually relocating there, kind of like window shopping for a travel experience. This is indeed a very unique feature that is being advertised by upper-level and luxurious hotel chains, tour operators, and travel agencies and is slowly altering people's perceptions of travelling.
Before we take a deeper dive into the realm of the metaverse and explore its possible impact on the travel industry, we should have a clear concept of what the metaverse is.
What is Metaverse?
The concept of the metaverse, similar to that of a VR game, describes a virtual 3D world where people can take part in various activities by using VR goggles and other related equipment that can provide people with an immersive virtual experience. The term “metaverse” was first introduced in 1992 by Neal Stephenson, the author of the science fiction novel Snow Crash.
While in the metaverse, users can interact with the virtual environment that surrounds them as well as other users in the same part of the metaverse. The metaverse incorporates AR and VR technologies to create an immersive experience for the user, sometimes projecting parts of the virtual world over the actual surroundings of the user.
Some people consider Metaverse a rebranded name for VR; however, they are quite different when it comes to their limitations and utilisation. For instance, VR games or VR in general often have limited space to explore and engage in a defined range of actions. On the other hand, that limit is further extended in the metaverse, with the most notable aspect being the opportunity to interact with the environment and people around you within the metaverse.
Throughout the years, the accessibility of the metaverse has been extensively expanded. Now users can experience the virtual world of Metaverse through portable devices like tablets, smartphones, or even game consoles. Though this is not as immersive as you would want it to be, the technology is still being developed. So we can’t be sure about what it may stand to be in the future.
Impact of Metaverse on the Travel Industry
If the present trajectory of the metaverse persists, then its use in the travel industry can only bring about positive changes in the future. And now, slowly but steadily, more and more businesses are recognising the potential benefits they can derive from the use of this technology. It has the capability to alter the blueprint of the entire travel and tourism industry and drive it to new heights of success.
The current VR technology allows the user to have a more personalised travel experience by granting access to activities thousands of miles away. So if a travel company can successfully incorporate and utilise the immersive experience that only Metaverse can offer, then their businesses will thrive in the competitive market and receive way more exposure than they would otherwise.
The future of the metaverse in the travel and tourism industries depends on its ability to enhance and replicate reality to deliver a seamless travelling experience. Although it can’t replace the actual travelling experience completely, it can still give users access to the next best thing by making global cultures more approachable.
The era of pandemic had left the world craving such interactions, which compelled the travel industry to be more creative and think outside the box. And the concept of the metaverse is a crucial part of that. Hence, it is a fair presumption that the future of the metaverse and the travel industry together can bring promising results.
The Future Metaverse Travel
Even if the true aptitude of the metaverse is still being explored, many predictions have already been made regarding what the future of the travel industry will look like with the incorporation of metaverse technology. And according to each of them, Metaverse has the capabilities to fully transform the travel and tourism industries by opening doors to a new and improved way of travelling.
If enough travel agencies and tour operators adopt the features of metaverse technology in their businesses, they can not only improve the level of services by giving customers a taste of what to expect on their trip to a certain destination but also increase the rate of sales per quarter.
The metaverse has also unlocked opportunities for exploration and interaction with surroundings, that would otherwise be considered dangerous and unapproachable. When properly implemented, the metaverse can deliver an extensive experience to its users by enabling them to make deeper connections to the virtual world they will see before their eyes without any unprecedented risk or danger.
The metaverse offers a comparatively safer and cheaper way of experiencing customs, cultures, and environments from across the world, or, in other words, virtual travelling. So, it is safe to say that the future of the travel and tourism industries will be revolutionised thanks to metaverse technology.