Hotels and hospitality brands are bringing the future of avatar travel to life.

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M Social Decentraland. Courtesy of Millennium Hotels and Resorts

Millennium Hotels opened the first virtual hotel in the metaverse in May 2022. The Singaporean hospitality group unveiled M Social in Decentraland as its first virtual outpost. Located near Genesis Plaza, the virtual hotel sits on prime virtual property at the heart of Decentraland, near social spaces like a virtual bar and café where avatars can meet friends for a drink, take in some digital art or follow a link to a live Discord room.

“As we look towards the future, we need to look past the traditional model of hospitality and engage our guests through new immersive experiences,” Mr. Kwek Leng Beng, Executive Chairman of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Limited, said in a statement. “We hope to redefine hospitality through M Social Decentraland by creating online adventures that integrate with real life events.”

This follows CitizenM’s April 2022 announcement that it would begin construction on a virtual hotel in The Sandbox. The hotel developer said the virtual hotel will offer a place for avatars to “work, sleep and play.” CitizenM is financing the construction with the sale of 2,000 NFTs, which come with rewards such as discounts or free drinks, redeemable at any of CitizenM’s physical hotels.

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M Social Decentraland. Courtesy of Millennium Hotels and Resorts

Regal Hotels also entered The Sandbox in April with MetaGreen, a project to develop an ESG (environmental, social, and governance) themed “green metropolis” in The Sandbox. The virtual city, scheduled for completion in October 2022, will include a convention center for conferences and events related to ESG issues, a sustainability-themed shopping mall, an art gallery, a metaverse biosphere that promotes biodiversity and online-to-offline eco-farming, and a learning center in partnership with the University of Hong Kong to educate visitors on sustainability.

The Lucky Ape Travel Club is introducing another formula for metaverse hospitality: a members-only NFT club. Launched in April with a minting of 10,000 NFTs, the travel club grants its NFT owners free lodging in boutique hotels around the world—current locations include Bali, Capetown, Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, Miami, Sosua, and Tulum—as well as access to exclusive private parties in exotic destinations.

“New age technologies have already connected the world in a way that was inconceivable just a few decades before. Now, the metaverse and its supporting tokenomics are promising to really raise the bar of our links to reality and one another. LATC’s coordinates are found at the intersection of all those worlds: we enable our members to enjoy this reality while building another,” said Jeff Bordes, CEO and founder of Lucky Ape Travel Club.

The advent of the metaverse portends big changes for everything from shopping to socializing. From liminal retail to crypto clubs, the first elements of the metaverse emerging are already changing physical experiences. Could travel be next?

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