Lodging companies – full-service hotels, resorts, boutique properties and more – are in the business of providing compelling, once-in-a-lifetime experiences for their guests. And for those properties on the vanguard of meeting customers where they are, they’re looking to Web3 technologies like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to attract and engage younger customer segments like Millennials and Generation Z.
More than just a buzz-building tactic, NFTs – pieces of authenticated content on the blockchain – allow hoteliers to band together their passionate customers into a community of engaged users and offer them continuing benefits, perks, and special privileges. These communities can not only attract new customers using digital collectibles and NFTs, but they can also provide added benefits to deliver continual engagement for customers – and earn brand loyalty as a result.
Delivering special benefits to NFT holders
In branded hotel communities, NFT holders present their token as a type of passport for admission to the online group. Then, lodging companies can post special perks, benefits, and content to community members – like access to special events, discounted offers, merchandise, and behind-the-scenes interviews. In fact, in research of over 700 online consumers about Web3, respondents said participating in branded communities was in the top three categories of utility they’d like to receive from an NFT.
For example, hoteliers can post live-streams with travel influencers, and make that content available to NFT holders within their community. They can also extend special discounts to returning guests of a hotel or resort. Or, they can offer exclusive, branded merchandise to group members.
Perks that resonate with NFT community members
In fact, as part of our research, consumers also indicated the types of content that would make them more likely to participate in these NFT-enabled communities. Members-only discounts ranked at the top with 43.1% of respondents ranking them as a top driver of participation. The ability to access exclusive merchandise [31.5%], receive special product features (like late check-out at a hotel) [30.7%], see upcoming new product previews [24.2%], and view branded content [23.7%] rounded out the list of top NFT community perks that resonated with consumers.
When NFT holders participate in branded communities, lodging companies can uniquely segment guests based on the NFTs they hold, and curate content specifically to engage them. These brand communities not only offer an opportunity to make your customers feel connected to your hotel, but also allow you to extend the conversation and keep them loyal to your company. And you can do so in a brand-safe environment that engages your customers, unlike less moderated chat channels. Best of all, these communities can run alongside existing loyalty programs, offering a lightweight, flexible way to engage younger customers.
Developing your Web3 strategies with NFT communities
Branded NFT communities also deliver additional benefits back to the companies hosting them for their Gen Z and Millennial customers. Hotels with NFT-enabled communities benefit by having:
- A private, gated, NFT-powered community that can be accessed via a Web browser, without special hardware
- An exclusive environment for their most loyal customers
- A valuable source of advice and feedback from key target segments – whether it’s to test product concepts or soft launch new products and services
- A place to iterate and learn with Web3 technologies in order to understand how they can better communicate with and engage an audience
As Web3 technologies mature, they offer compelling opportunities for travel and hospitality brands to immerse their customers in experience, and to engage in decentralized ways. By launching an NFT-powered brand community, hotels can attract Gen Z and Millennial customers now, while bridging to a full Web3 strategy when the technology (and consumer appetite) matures.
Dave Dickson is the founder and CEO of PicoNFT, an end-to-end platform for brands to design, mint and engage with NFTs. He was previously named as one of the top marketers in the U.S. by the Association of National Advertisers, an industry association representing the world’s best-known brands.
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