Global payment services provider Worldline wants to show its
clients, including travel brands, that the metaverse can become a viable new channel
to sell products and services.
The company has created a virtual “shopping mall” in Decentraland,
an Ethereum-based platform that is one of the largest metaverses, and has
invited its partners to create “stores” in the mall to test how the digital
The Chedi Andermatt, a luxury hotel in Switzerland, is the first of
Worldline’s travel-industry clients to participate in its mall, along with a
handful of banks and other merchants.
Sascha Münger, head of crypto-related projects and metaverse at Worldline, said the
company began exploring the metaverse about two years ago and now believes it
could become a viable channel for commerce.
“The space is moving really fast here,” Münger said.
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“I personally believe in the next five to 10 years we’ll
have the metaverse as a commerce channel besides traditional e-commerce and
point-of-sale. … Especially the younger generation will engage with the
Münger said Chedi Andermatt’s store is, for now, primarily
an advertising tool that has a virtual showroom with photos and videos of the luxury
property in the Swiss Alps.
But it can also be used to drive sales. Users who want to
book a stay can click through to the booking flow right from the virtual store,
and payments – in fiat or cryptocurrency – are handled by Worldine’s system.
“The Chedi Andermatt is
recognized for being a pioneer or more precisely a trendsetter for new and
innovative approaches in the luxury hospitality industry,” said Jean-Yves
Blatt, general manager of the Chedi Andermatt.
“More and more guests prefer the
uncomplicated opportunities that the online world entails nowadays. Thus, we
are confident that in the future, the tourism and hotel industry will be just
as unimaginable without the metaverse as is online shopping for fashion.”
Münger said Worldline is discussing enhancements with the
Chedi Andermatt, such as incorporating augmented reality so users can virtually
walk through the property.
While Worldline’s merchants are very interested in trying the metaverse, Münger said, there is also some hesitation.
“One of the main problems is that one metaverse does not exist today,” he said.
“We have different metaverse players racing for the pole position - decentralized
players and non-virtual reality players like Decentraland and then on the other
hand players based on virtual reality and not using blockchain. We believe this
will work out similar to social media today [where] you will have three to four
players in the pole position and winning the race. … This is a concern of
merchants of course. They want to choose the right path and this, at the moment,
is a little bit hard to say.”
In the last year, other hospitality companies have been
testing having a presence in a metaverse, including CitizenM
In other metaverse news, Singapore’s Changi Airport has created
a metaverse experience that is a game on Roblox, a global shared experience platform.
Created in collaboration with Accenture, the “ChangiVerse” is a digital representation
of the airport. Users can explore the airport, play games and earn
Phocuswright Europe 2023
Münger will share more details about the company's work in the metaverse during a Tech Talk at Phocuswright Europe in Barcelona June 12-14.