How Hoteliers Should Think about Blockchain Technologies After the Bust

Blockchain or web3 is still immensely useful, and hotel early adopters will still inevitably benefit from planning out how they hope to use such things as DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations), DeFi (decentralized finance or NFTs (nonfungible tokens) to save costs and build new merchandizing opportunities.
By Larry and Adam Mogelonsky - 6.20.2022

With the crypto bubble finally popping after a long-term deleveraging, many of us who were skeptical to begin with are silently smirking while evangelists are crafting their retractions. But much like how the dotcom bust didn’t eliminate email or the web browser, blockchain or web3 is still immensely useful, and hotel early adopters will still inevitably benefit from planning out how they hope to use such things as DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations), DeFi (decentralized finance or NFTs (nonfungible tokens) to save costs and build new merchandizing opportunities.

Definitely Not a Priority (Right Now)

Let’s mix metaphors: The shiny new toy will forever be shiny but that doesn’t mean it’s the best tool in the shed for the job. Right now, why worry about digitally twinning your hotel in the metaverse when you can count the number of households with good VR headsets on one hand?

Your IT team is probably swamped with the travel recovery, with blockchain setup falling behind labor concerns, automation platforms that can rapidly increase team efficiency, developing a great CRM, integrating more systems around your PMS, dealing with supply chain issues, working through the backlog of preventative maintenance, getting a chatbot, deciding on an employee BOYD policy, putting IoT devices in every room along with a tablet controller, installing new door locks that can facilitate mobile keys, installing new mobile payment platforms and so on.

That all said, it’s still coming. Big Tech will continue to spend billions in R&D to make more amenable and cost-conscious AR and VR personal electronics. The question is more so about when hotels should make this a priority. You have to time it correctly lest you act too soon and overrun costs or become a late adopter and lose market share. We advise that right now it’s about ideation and honing the core concept that will use blockchain to enhance the guest experience in a meaningful way. A good vision necessitates a sound plan, and that can start today.

Think About NFT Loyalty Programs

At present, the hype around NFTs is not one that you should ignore, especially in a bear market where images of bored apes are declining in price and we are getting a clearer picture of which NFT utilities are actually significant to the everyday consumer. There’s a lot of fluff (or fur?) here, but it would be naïve to think of these digital assets as mere JPGs.

Rather, these image files are the visual representation of an encrypted key (actually ‘tokenized’ as there’s a difference) that gives the owner access to a myriad of predefined perks such as inclusion in a private Discord channel where you can mingle with a coterie of celebrities or backstage access for at a famous band’s latest concert tour no matter the city. This is what’s called tokengating and a key use case is to enhance your loyalty program.

To close, here are five potential ways that NFT technologies can be used to increase the value proposition of your loyalty program, and all can be implemented over the next few years rather than in the 2030s:

  1. Launching a blockchain-backed purchasable loyalty status that comes with corporeal – and not only those vowed as a future possibility – perks in the real world like access to exclusive lounges at certain locations, discounts on room upgrades or complimentary services like airport shuttles
  2. Besides the immediately palpable, part of the allure of NFTs is the promise of the premise, where you offer benefits that can be rendered today while also outlining a plan for the implementation of forthcoming airdrops
  3. NFTs can also be used to govern unique onsite experiences such as personally curated meals from the executive chef, the right to sample new activities or cultural experiences added to exciting locations or first dibs on new property openings
  4. While immersive VR may be a few years away, imagine an onsite AR integration whereby loyalty memberships can tokengate a wholly new layer of visual augmentation to your physical spaces that’s invisible to those who haven’t purchased the required NFTs
  5. Cryptocurrencies can also facilitate staking and crowdfunding to the point where an extra upper tier of your loyalty program can also serve as a capital raise for renovating an existing property or building a new one

Larry and Adam Mogelonsky represent one of the world’s most published writing teams in hospitality, with over a decade’s worth of material online. As the partners of Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited, a Toronto-based consulting practice, Larry focuses on asset management, sales and operations while Adam specializes in hotel technology and marketing. Their experience encompasses properties around the world, both branded and independent, and ranging from luxury and boutique to select-service. Their work includes six books “Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?” (2012), “Llamas Rule” (2013), “Hotel Llama” (2015), “The Llama is Inn” (2017), “The Hotel Mogel” (2018) and “More Hotel Mogel” (2020). You can reach Larry at [email protected] or Adam at [email protected] to discuss hotel business challenges or to book speaking engagements.

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