Technology changes everything, and tourism is no exception. Now everything indicates that travel in the metaverse will have a promising future. And it is that among the uses of the metaverse we know that the tourist purpose is key: Seeing the destination before visiting it, being via virtual reality in the hotel room where you are going to stay in the future… It is a relationship with a lot of potential.
And it is that the evolution of the Internet towards the metaverse opens up new challenges and also opportunities for companies and tourist destinations to establish strategies to create services and products that improve the quality of the tourist experience, as well as new content that impacts users and communities in virtual spaces that promote complementarity between the physical and virtual worlds.
In fact, initiatives are being implemented such as the creation of digital twins to show tourist accommodation before the trip, virtual events, virtual and augmented reality video games to show a destination and its resources, the purchase or gift of NFTs after the visit and the first Destinations are beginning to announce their presence in the metaverse, as explained in the session on tourism of the future at the 10th edition of the TurisTIC Forum , organized by the Eurecat technology center.
In this sense, the hybrid behavior of society can allow the generation of new tourist products to live different experiences throughout the ‘customer journey’, that is, the set of interactions carried out by the purchasing tourist and with the brand during their trip. .
In the new telecommunications revolution that the metaverse represents, “the part of the tradability of resources, ticketing, reservations and reward programs will also be essential to generate engagement with the consumer and provide measurement and marketing tools that allow highlight the tourism product in a very competitive market to capture the attention of users”, explains Roberto Romero, from Accenture Interactive, Metaverse Continuum Business Group. “Generating a community around a brand, product or service should be the priority of all agents in the tourism sector to understand the new consumer profiles and generate campaigns aimed at this mass market”, he adds.
Given the evolution of this new world, philosophy graduate Javier Jurado points out that “the development of a new flexible regulatory framework, but duly oriented, seems inevitable to mitigate the potential addictive and alienating effects of the metaverse”, since “the neutrality of technology is an outdated myth”.
According to Jurado, “the intimate and genuine experience of the real tourist will never be totally displaced, just as direct and face-to-face social relationships have not been, by the most fantastic experiences that the metaverse can offer us.”
In this sense, the scientific director of the Tourism Area of the Eurecat technology center and professor at the Rovira i Virgili University, Salvador Anton Clavé, reflects on the time of values in which we find ourselves today on the occasion of the TurisTIC Forum. “To do tourism we need time, which is a question of availability, but it is also a question of use and technology brings us new uses of our time that can generate new dynamics that can be unexpected,” he says, to point out that “it is time of values and thinking about what we do when we are using technology for tourism activities”.
In reference to the application of technology in tourism, it must be taken into account that it is a sector of small and medium-sized companies. “The democratization of technology allows more and more companies to benefit from data and Artificial Intelligence, which learns from this data and makes decisions”, explains the project manager of Eurecat’s Data Science and Big Data Analytics Unit, Joan Borras.
However, he assures that we are facing the challenge of extracting the maximum performance and value from the data and that “intelligent systems adapted to the needs of each company are still required”. The TurisTIC Forum is organized annually by the Eurecat technology center and promoted by the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Barcelona City Council and the Barcelona Provincial Council, with the collaboration of Fundació la Caixa, Pal Robotics, Resol and Voilà.