The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on the travel and tourism industries, causing the sectors to decrease by as much as 70% in many parts of the world. In Asia Pacific, tourism decreased as much as 93%, demonstrating the sheer degree of destruction that the pandemic brought.
Even after years of recovery, the travel industry still hasn’t recovered to its 2019 levels of activity, with McKinsey suggesting that the tourism industry will need to experiment with new financing mechanisms to repopulate this field.
One of the most unique opportunities that has come out of the past few years, especially in light of the pandemic, is the possibility to mix Web 3 technology with tourism. By onboarding hotels, resorts, and vacation properties, businesses like Staynex have provided a revolutionary way for travel sites to connect with their customers.
In this article, we’ll explore the unique problems that the pandemic created for the travel sector, demonstrating how Web 3 seeks to offer an alternative method that could alleviate the gravity of this impact in the future.
How did the pandemic impact the travel industry?
From the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments around the world created strict regulations about traveling both internationally and across country borders. Without the ability to freely move around your own country, let alone internationally, all tourist hotspots and activities suddenly vanished overnight.
Yet, the area that was most impacted by the pandemic within the travel industry was hotels. Without a continual flux of new customers, whole cities that are typically devoted to the tourism economy were converted to ghost towns overnight. Some hotels in prime tourist locations that have been open for nearly 100 years have now permanently closed their doors.
Without any digital platform to continue offering experiences to users, the hotels had nothing to fall back on and started to hemorrhage capital.
How could Web 3 provide unique opportunities for hotels?
The blockchain technology that underpins Web 3 creates a new way of interacting with assets. When users buy an NFT, their ownership is transcribed in the blockchain ledger, giving them full ownership. Hotels can use this to expand their offering and create a number of new opportunities.
By creating alternative ways of connecting with hotel audiences, the digital technologies that Web 3 offers can streamline existing sales pathways and forge new ones. Here are a selection of opportunities that Web 3 can provide to the hotel industries:
- Social media reviews – Web 3 is solely focused on community and community support, making this the perfect platform for travel influencers to share information with their communities. By providing links to their followers via hotel reviews, influencers can be directly compensated for any new customers that come to the hotel. Equally, the hotels can verify all of their reviews to create a concrete form of social proof.
- Geotagged events – By using Web 3 technology, hotels can geotag their locations, creating digital spectacles that users in the local area can encounter. If hotels use this technology to create digital events that people can attend in person or digitally, they open themselves up to a whole new category – digital event monetization.
- Unique collectibles – Hotels and resorts can create unique NFT collectibles for people who visit, commemorating each visit or minting specific collectibles for users. Not only does this directly boost people’s interest in visiting new hotels, as they can get permanent NFTs for their collection, but it also helps the hotel itself to create a bustling community around its site.
- Curated vacation packages – Sites like Staynex specialize in offering high-utility NFT vacation packages. By creating these NFTs, users receive a permanent NFT to commemorate their trips. But, beyond just the visual and memorial appeal, this approach also grants users access to special areas or events in each hotel. These selective NFT packages provide customers with a more holistic experience, unlocking additional nights, and upgrades, and also building a collection of stays from around the world.
While only a short selection of potential business opportunities, these four examples demonstrate the huge opportunity that Web 3 presents to this industry. Equally, without the need to fundamentally change or reestablish an online presence, hotels can use their Web 2 success and translate it directly into this new digital sphere.
The hotel industry has a unique set of challenges, especially in the event of disaster scenarios. Without a continual flow of new customers and vacation-goers, the industry is unable to draw in an income, as their entire business model rests on in-person visits. While companies like Staynex have sought to streamline this model, offering a range of flexible experiences and low-rate bookings, the real power of Web 3 within the hotel sector is within its unique use cases.
Web 3 gives travel influencers and hotels the ability to geotag the real world, creating events for fans and visitors. While hotels already have a physical appeal, this pulls new digital clients to them, creating a new revenue stream for all participants. As Web 3 is community-based, hotels could launch new audiences and secure new bookings due to their work in the digital sphere.
As we progress further into this digital age, stepping into the future by combining with Web 3 technologies has the potential to unlock new earning opportunities in many industries. And, with the recent pandemic still in the minds of the hotel and tourism industries, any other backup option is more than valuable in the current climate.
Featured image credit: Nik Lanús/Unsplash.