Imagine that you book a room in a hotel that you cannot visit. Sounds a bit sketchy, right?
Yet on May 5, Millennium Hotels and Resorts launched the all-virtual hotel “M Social Decentraland” as part of the metaverse world.
The world’s first metaverse hotel operated by a hotel group, M Social Decentraland is modeled after dozens of M Social sites around the world. It aims to “be a place to gather and experience the virtual reality universe of Decentraland”.
Although you don’t really come together, do you? Instead, you sit in your bedroom, kitchen, or office alone, staring at the screen of a VR headset.
For those who are completely unaware, the “metaverse” is essentially a network of 3D virtual worlds that exist to foster social connection. While it was invented in 1992 by a science fiction novel, it rose to fame in 2021 after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg renamed the company Meta Platforms.
The vision, according to Zuckerberg, is to create an “Embodied Internet” where people can have immersive experiences through a digital avatar. Instead of, you know, having real experiences.
After you ‘arrival’ at M Social Decentraland, (which is located on ‘main digital land’ and is made up of glass with neon pink accents for a ‘sleek interior look’), you are greeted in the lobby by a digital concierge who takes you on a “journey of discovery through the hotel”.
To reiterate, none of this actually exists.
On the contrary, the experience is positioned as a game with “real-world hotel surprises” awaiting those who reach the top floor of the hotel.
Millennium Hotels and Resorts may be the first to run a hotel in this real-but-not-real digital world, but as huge companies like Microsoft start pouring massive amounts of money into the network, they won’t be the last to buy a plot of land in the Decentraland metaverse.
After hearing about M Social Decentraland for the first time, it doesn’t seem like a good thing.
At best it seems like the most useless hotel in the world, a hotel I can’t imagine staying in rather than a real world hotel.
At worst, it looks like another company dominating digital platforms in a battle for every second of our attention. If guests can’t constantly be in a real-world hotel, perhaps they can spend hours navigating a digital hotel with an infantilizing promise of treats when they reach the top.
Even Saurabh Prakash, group senior vice president, commercial for Millennium Hotels and Resorts, said the metaverse presents a “myriad of opportunities” to connect with current and future guests.
The only redeeming quality that real-world travelers can really benefit from is the ability to take 3D guided tours before they travel. As someone who’s booked their fair share of disappointing rooms and suites, the ability to travel to Melbourne or London to scout out a room seems useful.
But as far as experiences go, I’ll take mine from the real world thanks.