The metaverse will form part of the tourist experience as part of the inspiration phase, as well as helping destinations to position themselves before a new profile of tourists; this was the conclusion of several experts in the webinar “Gamification and metaverse applied to tourism”, organised by SEGITTUR in the context of the Smart Destinations Network.
All speakers were keen to point out that the metaverse would never replace the physical tourist experience, but would become an instrument to improve the destination’s positioning, promotion, branding and notoriety. Furthermore, they asserted that the metaverse will be a natural evolution of social networks, meaning that if tourist destinations and companies are on social media platforms, it will make sense for them to be in the metaverse.
The metaverse comes about as a result of the confluence of three factors in time: the convergence of new high capacity technologies, the evolution of marketing and social behaviour of new generations, as highlighted by Raúl Calleja, director of the Digitisation and Business Diversification Area at Ifema Madrid, sponsor of Helixa, the biggest Ibero-American platform for dialogue and collaboration to co-create virtual universes.
In the words of Calleja, “the metaverse is not a place, it is a technological solution that satisfies new social needs and new behaviours.”
According to a survey performed at FITUR on the possibilities of the metaverse applied to tourism, 37% of respondents said that it would enrich the tourist experience, 26% indicated that it would be a promotional and/or sales tool, while another 23% said it would enrich the physical experience with digital information.
In the words of Javier Sáez, head of marketing at Xperiencia Virtual, “The metaverse is a series of interconnected digital spaces that allow you to do things that you cannot do in the physical world. It will be defined by social presence, the feeling that you are there with somebody else, it will have to coexist with their own real life and the ability to undertake economic activities”.
In turn, Visit Benidorm presented BenidormLand, the first “metaverse” for a tourist destination in Spain, showcasing the destination and with plans in place for the sale of NFT’s corresponding to the city’s emblematic buildings as well as photography contests and holding meetings. Visit Benidorm insists that BenidormLand has not yet acquired its final form and for now it is a proto-metaverse.
During the webinar, the advantages of gamification for the promotion of tourist destinations were also discussed, as it helps to attract more visitors to the destination, increases the level of spending and enhances visitor loyalty, as indicated by Ramón Martín, CEO of Gymkana Turística Digital. In his opinion, gamification helps the destination as, thanks to digitisation, it generates a high volume of information about the user’s needs.
The video of the webinar is available on SEGITTUR’s YouTube channel