The increasing way the metaverse plays a role in travel

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According to a study, consumers are increasingly interested in buying virtual goods and experiences.

Accenture surveyed more than 11,000 consumers in 16 countries and found that 64% have purchased a virtual product or enjoyed a virtual experience in the past year.

The study shows that the number is expected to increase as 83% of consumers are interested in shopping through the Metaverse.

It adds that 42% of consumers have visited a retailer in the virtual world for advice, to make a purchase or to explore products, and 56% say they plan to do so.

And the metaverse has caught the attention of the corporate world as well, as 72% of global leaders believe it will have a positive impact on their organizations, while 45% view it as a “breakthrough or transformation,” according to the Accenture Technology Vision 2022 report .

As the use cases of emerging Metaverse platforms expand, the travel industry will evaluate where it fits in.

The virtual horizon of the journey

Accenture research states that 50% of consumers are already buying or interested in a travel experience, such as a hotel stay or activity.

The figure jumps to 55% for Millennials and 29% for Baby Boomers.

Emily Weiss, senior managing director and global head of Accenture’s Travel Industry Group, highlights other ways the metaverse could be leveraged in travel, such as travel preparation through virtual tours of airports, airplanes and hotel rooms.

Staff training is another area where the technology is likely to be picked up, Weiss said, while B2B applications such as pre-event virtual tours of meeting and conference facilities and digital twins of physical assets for areas such as maintenance could also be increasingly implemented.

She also sees an opportunity to increase ancillary sales by using the technology to virtually show consumers the products and services they can buy.

There are also applications for people who may not be able to travel due to health, economic or other reasons to experience travel destinations and allow travel companies to target them with tailored virtual services.

Weiss says: “The Metaverse is not intended to replace physical travel, but to complement an overarching experience. Being able to sit in a virtual first class seat, experience the lounge, or walk through a hotel resort or room opens up opportunities to truly engage and inspire people before they travel.

“And by ‘trying-before-travelling’, restoring landmarks to all their past glory, or allowing travelers to explore parts of nature they can’t explore through real-world interaction, the metaverse can too help create a more meaningful travel experience that meets or exceeds customer expectations.”

A number of travel companies are already exploring the potential of virtual worlds.

CitizenM recently claimed a hotel first in its plan to buy land and build an estate in the Metaverse.

Another use case highlighted was the potential for non-fungible tokens and virtual worlds for loyalty programs.

Others believe the metaverse could play a role in advancing the sharing economy, as well as the potential to use virtual worlds for travel planning.

As technology evolves, experts see it as a more immersive, emotionally powerful means of reaching consumers than other existing channels.

As such, it could play into the hands of the travel industry as a rich and interactive way to inspire consumers to buy travel.

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