Forget Pools, Hotels Are Dipping Their Toes into the Wonderland of Web3

Pullman NFT exhibition

The wonderful world of Web3 is well and truly upon us, with hotels now tapping into the metaverse — though, according to Lisa Teh, Australian entrepreneur and expert on all things Web3, there is still so much potential to harness Web3’s power in unique ways.

“A few hotels have explored NFT art, hotels in the metaverse, and high-level integration with their loyalty programmes,” she says. “Some hotels have done a great job of jumping in early as they have a unique opportunity to help onboard their audience into this new iteration of the internet.”

So, what is an NFT, anyway? The term stands for ‘non-fungible token’. it refers to a unique digital identifier that’s recorded in a blockchain and can’t be copied or substituted. Teh acknowledges that NFTs can sound a little technical and intimidating.

“When you break it down to its simplest form, it’s a way to digitally authenticate ownership,” she says. “It could be an object like an expensive bottle of wine, access to an event, like a lifetime pass to Coachella, artwork or ownership of land. These records of ownership are digitally recorded on the blockchain.”

What makes NFTs special is that they are unique — in other words, ‘non-fungible’, Teh explains. Once they’re recorded on the blockchain, they are what we call immutable – they can’t be changed. “That’s what makes NFTs so powerful,” she says.

For hotels, NFTs can help them appeal to international travellers, especially Gen Z and millennials who are early adopters, points out an article on Travel Daily Media. NFTs make it possible to engage with brands and communities while also elevating the travel experience, the author writes.

In the US, Marriott International partnered with several digital artists for a collection of NFTs called ‘The Power of Travel’, debuted at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2021. Blockchain-based travel booking platform Travala has also created an NFT-based travel rewards program that lets users access its Smart Diamond membership tier, giving them benefits that go beyond a simple booking.

Here in Australia, Accor brand Pullman launched E/SCAPES By Pullman, an immersive digital NFT art gallery in November this year. Unveiled at Pullman Sydney Hyde Park, the exhibit is set to tour Pullman hotels in Melbourne (from Janaruary 9, 2023) and then Adelaide and Brisbane, with a new drop of art showcased at each new location.

“E/SCAPES By Pullman was born out of a need to communicate and educate our guests of one of the fastest growing industries in the world: Web3,” says Alex Barnett, Portfolio Director of Marketing and Digital at Accor. “Informing our guests about Web3 and being able to tell a story using new technology was profoundly important to me.”

Barnett says the team was overwhelmed with the interest in participation from digital artists. He says the team knew they wanted to ensure women were well-represented in the exhibit.

“We had two clear objectives from the exhibition,” he says. “One was to educate and inform our existing hotel guests who weren’t familiar with Web3 about the new technology and the second was to communicate to a new audience in a different way using Web3 as our channel.”

“We hope that guests walk away with a sense of empowerment that they have gained something from visiting our lobby spaces – the heartbeat of the hotels.”

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