CitizenM is claiming to be the first-ever hotel group to begin building a hotel in the metaverse and is planning to purchase a site in decentralized gaming virtual world the Sandbox.
The hotel brand says it plans to build a hotel in the Sandbox metaverse, which enables users to create their own worlds and experiences via non-fungible tokens (NFTs) called “LANDs” that represent real estate.
Longer term, the company says it wants to use profits from the sale of NFTs to finance a real-life property with token-holders deciding its location.
Amsterdam-based CitizenM, which launched a corporate subscription service in 2020, says it is focused on building loyalty in the online world.
The company plans to sell art-based NFT collections with the sale of an exclusive collection, with real-life rewards such as discounts and free drinks to be used to build the virtual hotel.
Robin Chadha, chief marketing officer of CititzenM, says: “As a brand that has always pushed the boundaries and challenged traditional models, this new venture in the Sandbox fits not only with our brand strategy but also the commitment we have to the creative community and to our guests both online and in the real world. We're excited to further explore opportunities in the metaverse in the years to come.”
The company also envisages the hotel being used for avatars to work and stay in and plans to offer additional digital art-based NFTs once the virtual property is completed.
Alongside the real-world hotel, CitizenM plans to set up a decentralized autonomous organization.
CitizenM is not the first travel company to explore the potential for NFTs and decentralized communities.
City discovery app Questo recently announced the launch of its metaverse, QuestoWorld, with 100,000 “Realm” NFTs, each representing a role-play game played in the real world.
A recent report from Lufthansa Innovation Hub highlighted three current use cases for NFT and blockchain in travel including loyalty and passports with companies including Travala and Air Baltic with projects under their belts.
Others have proposed whole trips might be organized via the metaverse going forward and the technology could also be used to further the sharing economy.
Disney is also said to be looking at how it might incorporate virtual concepts more in its theme parks.