The metaverse – hardly any buzzword comes up more often these days when it comes to forward-looking technologies. The industry association Bitkom has therefore recently published a document that summarises the importance of this technology for the economy and society: the “Guide to the Metaverse”. According to this, the virtual world also brings new opportunities and business models for the hotel industry. But what does this mean for hosts today? We clarify the most important questions about the metaverse and classify what role virtual reality is already playing in the hotel industry.
The contents in brief:
- The Metaverse – What is it?
- Why is the topic of the metaverse so topical right now?
- What opportunities are there for hotels in the metaverse?
- Are there already virtual hotels in the metaverse?
- Metaverse: Transient hype or inevitable technology for the hotel industry of the future?
The Metaverse – What is it?
The metaverse, or “metaverse”, is a virtual world designed to augment reality. According to Bitkom and other digital experts, it embodies the next stage of development of the internet. While today we usually speak of “Web 2.0”, in which users exchange information in social networks, for example, the metaverse already belongs to “Web 3.0”. 
And what constitutes this next stage? In the course of development, internet users exchange their computer, tablet or smartphone display for VR glasses. These enable them to immerse themselves visually and acoustically in a virtual, three-dimensional space. Within the Metaverse, the users take on the form of an individual avatar. They can move freely and interact with the virtual objects or other avatars in the room
Why is the metaverse so topical right now?
There are several reasons why the virtual internet is getting so much public attention right now: On the one hand, the technology – VR glasses, for example – has been sufficiently tested in the meantime. But also the legal framework, e.g. for cryptocurrencies and other digital valuables, has been clarified for some time.  On the other hand, many corporations hope to earn a lot of money in virtual space at some point. For example, the Facebook group has also renamed itself “Meta” in October 2021 in preparation. The social media giant sees a lot of potential here and is currently investing heavily in new technologies.  So there is nothing standing in the way of the Metaverse!
Above all, people are ready for the metaverse. Bitkom describes that for the new generations Z and Alpha, “the virtual world has been part of their identity for years”.  Moreover, the Corona pandemic has given digitalisation a big boost in many areas. Video conferencing and online meetings have quickly become the norm. So while virtual meetings with 3D avatars would have been relegated to science fiction films a few years ago, working in the metaverse no longer seems too far-fetched
Online meetings with video and sound have long been part of everyday life for most people. The metaverse could make virtual meetings feel much more real in the future.
What are the opportunities for hotels in the metaverse?
The role of the virtual hotel in the guest journey
One thing people could use the metaverse for in the future is hybrid shopping, according to Bitkom. In the case of the hotel industry, this could mean: before travellers book a room, they visit its digital image in the metaverse. They virtually wander through the real-life hotel lobby, the restaurant and the gym and thus get an idea of what to expect. This intensifies the selection and booking phase and also avoids disappointment because the accommodation turned out to be different from what one had imagined.
Furthermore, virtual hotels offer themselves as a place to get to know . In this case, the hotel in the metaverse serves as a digital world of experience where people can meet virtually and plan their trip together. Hotels could thus not only earn from the real bookings , but possibly also book revenues for services directly in the digital world. 
Meetings and events: “We’ll meet in the Metaverse!”
Business meetings despite physical distance: thanks to software for video calls, this has long been part of many people’s everyday lives – both in a professional context and privately. But most people probably agree on this point: online meetings cannot replace face-to-face meetings 100 per cent. The Metaverse, however, could now take virtual meetings to a new level.
In virtual business meetings, professional conferences, training courses, but also leisure events such as concerts or cooking classes, people would then exchange ideas with each other. In three-dimensional space, the participants also perceive the atmosphere and mood of a place, look around and interact virtually with other people. And they do this even though they are physically sitting far away from each other at home. Just like conference and business hotels in the real world, hotels could also function as event locations in the metaverse.  This is also shown by the example of the Madrid Marriott Auditorium Hotel below
Developing new hotel concepts: First virtual, then real
The Bitkom association sees another opportunity in concept development for hotels or restaurants. For example, the virtual space could become a creative centre where investors, employees, regular guests, etc. meet and jointly develop new hotel concepts.  This makes it easier for the various stakeholders to participate in the development process. In this way, it might be possible for companies to first “build” a new hotel virtually and have it tested by various guests in the Metaverse before finally transferring the final model into reality
Are there already virtual hotels in the Metaverse?
A few pioneers in the industry have already set foot on virtual ground and gained experience in the metaverse. We present three different projects:
The Chedi Andermatt: View and book hotel in the Metaverse
The Swiss luxury hotel The Chedi Andermatt sees itself as a “digital trendsetter”. Since 2021, the hotel has accepted two different cryptocurrencies as payment methods. In July 2022, the next step followed: For one month, travellers could visit a virtual showroom while booking the hotel directly in the Metaverse. For this, the five-star hotel worked together with Worldline, a payment service provider and also a pioneer in the Metaverse. 
Marriott: The virtual twin as an event location
The Marriott hotel chain goes even further: the Madrid Marriott Auditorium Hotel has had a digital twin in the Metaverse since May 2022 – including a conference centre. Without leaving their own four walls, guests check into the hotel there and participate in events virtually. Instead of simply following specialist lectures on the screen via video conference, for example, participants enter the three-dimensional auditorium with their avatars. They meet other visitors in the rooms of the conference centre and talk to them – just as if they were really there.
According to RendezVerse, the technology company that made the virtual Marriott twin possible, 3D is the next logical step. The CEO expects one thousand hotels to follow Marriott’s example by the end of 2023. 
The virtual Madrid Marriott Auditorium Hotel & Conference Center is one of the first hotels in the Metaverse.
Oetker Collection: Playfully discovering different hotels
Another hotel group relies on cooperation with the gaming industry when it comes to Metaverse. Together with the mobile fashion game “Drest”, the Oetker Collection offers a virtual experience. The players travel digitally from one Oetker Collection hotel to the next and create fashionable outfits to match the look of the respective hotel. The journey starts, for example, at a replica of the Hotel Le Bristol in Paris, then continues to the coast of southern France to the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc and includes other Oetker locations in France and England. In this way, the participants playfully discover the different hotels and their locations. 
Metaverse: Transient hype or inevitable technology for the hotel industry of the future?
But what does all this mean for hosts who have hardly had any contact with the Metaverse so far? Should they jump on the metaverse bandwagon or wait and see? Three tips for dealing with the topic:
- Starting with guests’ expectations: Hosts who want to present their accommodation as a modern and innovative business should first ensure that they already fulfil the “basics” of digitalisation. This includes, for example, a digital guest folder, a good website with direct booking options and digital signage in the accommodation. The fact that these elements are well received and even explicitly desired is repeatedly shown in studies on the expectations of hotel guests.
- Become more digital step by step and improve processes: To ensure that everything runs smoothly within the team, hoteliers should check which standard tasks they can automate and which processes they can optimise in this way. A tool for digital task management can help: In this article, we have already shown how the Hotelboard relieves employees of tasks and relieves them in their daily work.
- Be open-minded about digitalisation: Finally, hosts should keep themselves informed about current trends in the hotel industry and stay up to date with technological developments. A helpful source for trends and news from the hotel industry is, for example, the Hotelcore blog. In Bitkom’s words: “Every company related to digitalisation [should] take a critically open look at this development.”  So hoteliers should continue to watch how the metaverse develops and be open to creative application ideas. After all, this may be the opportunity to take a pioneering role and be a big step ahead of the competition.
It doesn’t have to be the Metaverse. Take the first step with your accommodation and get started digitally! We will help you.
 Bitkom e. V., Guide to the Metaverse, 2022: https://www.bitkom.org/Bitkom/Publikationen/Wegweiser-Metaverse
 Tagesschau.de, 28.10.2021: https://www.tagesschau.de/wirtschaft/unternehmen/facebock-umbennung-meta-101.html
 The Chedi Andermatt press release, July 2022, “The Chedi Andermatt enters the Metaverse with Worldline “: https://d1pe873sdaunfo.cloudfront.net/thechediandermatt.com-226783510/cms/pressroom/072022_metaverse.pdf
 RollingPin.at, Marriott opens virtual hotel in the Metaverse, 24 May 2022: https://www.rollingpin.at/news/marriott-eroeffnet-virtuelles-hotel-im-metaverse
 Tageskarte.io, Oetker Collection enters the Metaverse with fashion game “Drest”, 12 July 2022: https://www.tageskarte.io/hotellerie/detail/oetker-collection-geht-mit-fashion-spiel-drest-ins-metaverse.html
This text has been translated automatically.