Buying a stay with non-fungible tokens is possible. And it is equally possible, at least from a technological point of view, to build customer loyalty by "giving" them NFTs to become part of a selected community to which travel operators address targeted communication campaigns. What we have just described is not a science fiction scenario, but the synthesis of one of the innovations that could change the way in which trips and vacation packages are purchased.
The turning point for overcoming the criticalities linked to the integration of cryptocurrency payments in tourism service platforms depends on the strategies of the main credit card circuits: when Visa, Mastercard (and so on) will support digital currencies in the same way as they support traditional ones today, NFTs will become a resource for travel operators. The great leap forward, in short, is yet to come. Today, experimentation is being carried out, and the certainty of those who try to experiment in this field is that the point of physical contact with the consumer will change (and is already changing).
The customer relationship experience, in other words, needs to be transferred to digital channels as well, and with Nfts, stay options and booking rights will be brought into a decentralized system (the blockchain).
Therefore, there is no lack of planning for the development of Nft in tourism, but it is necessary to distinguish two aspects: on the one hand, the use of digital currencies as a mere payment tool, which essentially depends on regulations and on how governments and authorities will move; on the other hand, the adoption of blockchain as a decentralized infrastructure and the use of tokens within a vertical community.
Cryptocurrencies should be seen today as marketing operations or as investment strategies that are difficult (yet) to replicate, and in any case not very related to industrial operations. The use of the "blockchain" is directly linked to the enabling of new transactional modes in a distributed value chain and to the aggregation of a critical mass of early adopters around some applications that already interpret the new paradigm. And this is already happening. In addition to Nfts, of which we have seen a very interesting case in terms of loyalty on the part of the Marriot chain, there is the case of the WindingTree cryptocurrency markeplace, which has opened up the road to the so-called Dao, i.e. decentralized autonomous organizations in the travel sector.
Decentralization, the shift from information to value and transaction, individual sovereignty: these are the key attributes of the Web3 (or 3.0) concept, and that is the idea behind a new iteration of the Internet that incorporates blockchain-based decentralization.
Through these attributes, it is possible to overcome the centralization of information and above all of value today in the hands of a few large global operators, facilitating the circulation of digital assets between individuals or companies and putting the user back on the bridge. In the context of a decentralized organization, an integrated tour operator can have concrete advantages, while the big Ota (online travel agencies such as Booking) represent in some ways the prototype of the dysfunctions that Web3 wants to overcome.
The possible (beneficial) effects of Web3 can also be read in the travel-related activities that millions of users already conduct today. The reviews published on Tripadvisor are not actually the property of those who write them and an asset that is transportable and interchangeable, but are data held by the platform, which derives the greatest value from them.
In a Web3 context, vice versa, we can imagine not only holding them and using them freely in different platforms but also monetizing them, turning them into a product.
And finally, the metaverse. Understood as the representation of oneself in the digital universe, it is a concept that recalls the world foreshadowed by SecondLife about twenty years ago; today, thanks to the evolution of virtual and augmented reality technologies, this concept has gained new strength and finds in Web3 an ideal infrastructure for creating digital experiences, including travel experiences, capable of transferring the value of the tourism experience into the physical world.
Marriot Bonvoy has joined with several digital content creators to launch three non-fungible tokens (NFTs) aimed at promoting the global tourism industry.