Marriott Has Become an Industry Pioneer in NFTs and AR
In December 2021, Marriott launched its first branded Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) – becoming the first hospitality brand to create its own NFTs. The artwork for the NFTs was inspired by its ‘Power of Travel’ campaign. The NFTs were awarded to three individuals and came with a significant number of loyalty points, which can be redeemed for travel experiences including hotel stays, car rentals and flights.
From Marriott’s market research, they found that the metaverse … was really where its prospects were spending their time, whether it was playing games, watching games, going to concerts … This whole social component that their prospects were missing out on during the COVID pandemic – they were getting their fix through metaverse experiences. And so Marriott knew they had to launch a metaverse initiative.
In July 2022, the brand began experimenting with augmented reality (AR) – a technology that uses devices such as smartphones or tablets to superimpose elements of virtual reality (VR) on to the physical world. The AR experience was launched for Moxy Hotels – a Marriott-owned brand that markets itself as “stylish and playful and aimed to “break the rules in an unconventional hotel stay”.
The AR experience allows guests, for example, to create and dress up virtual avatars. Nicolette Harper, the Marriott Vice-President of Global Marketing and Media says “It really was the beauty of combining in-real-life experiences, AR avatars, the social component – which you need in order to really be classified as metaverse – as well as esports, which I don’t think a lot of hotels have gotten into.”
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