Tourism is on the rise again. By some counts, some regions are seeing travel spending reaching pre-pandemic levels. The US is even poised to grow beyond that level and set record highs in travel spending.
From record lows to record highs, from bust to boom, travel and tourism have seen it all.
At the same time as tourism and traveling were recovering, there was also a boom in new digital technology. This digital asset, NFTs, saw trading worth more than $17 billion in 2021 alone – with more than $5 billion of profits realized.
Could NFTs be a way of connecting hotels to more travelers?
So far, it’s looking positive. Today, we’re breaking down 6 of them to show how hotel NFTs can be incorporated into hospitality marketing.
Examples of Hotel NFTs
- Hotel NFTs to Build A New Travel Booking Marketplace
It’s like TripAdvisor or Booking.com for the next generation of travelers.
Hotel marketing is more than just getting people to a hotel’s website. It also has to do with getting guests to make the booking, as well as how they’re treated after that booking is made.
Pinktada is creating a new travel booking marketplace. After reserving a room, travelers receive a Room-Night Token. Should they go ahead with their booking and stay at the hotel, that token becomes a digital souvenir that lives on the blockchain.
If the traveler’s plans change, they can either sell their token back for a credit they can use later or exchange it on the platform for equal value at a different hotel.
- Use NFTs to Create A Location-Specific Travel Club
While digital art and decentralization are great because they are not defined by any one place, travelers still have a desire to experience the world.
That’s where a project like Unchained Elephants, a cause-based NFT art project, fills the gap. They are not only promoting wildlife conservation (purchasing their NFTs goes to rescue elephants working in Phuket, Thailand), but they’re also bringing together local tourism stakeholders with a travel club.
This directly connects international supporters of their cause with hotels in the area, while those hotels also get to publicly promote their affiliation for a marketing win-win.
- Use NFTs to Design Invite-Only Social Clubs
Hotel marketing can be as much about bringing in new guests as it is about enhancing the experience for existing ones. That is what the Dream hotels have done with their Social Club, a VIP membership program purchasable through NFTs.
Benefits include exclusive events, access (to pools, cabanas, lounge, gym, and co-working spaces), concierge services, and metaverse events. In addition to other benefits, holders are allowed a +1 throughout their experience.
Travelers who frequently stay in the same city could be encouraged to more regularly stay at the same hotel through this kind of elevated membership experience.
- Use NFTs to Create Attention Grabbing Headlines
In addition to designing membership programs or booking platforms, some hotels have used NFTs as a way of testing the water with one-off marketing events.
During Art Basel Miami Beach 2021, Marriott Bonvoy debuted its collection of three NFTs, all themed around the power of travel. The randomly drawn winners received both an NFT and 200,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
By affiliating themselves with an industry-leading cultural event and offering value on top of the artistic creations, a hotel can create positive word-of-mouth while introducing themselves to a niche audience – in this case, those traveling to Miami for a world-renowned art festival.
- Use NFTs to Promote Curated Packages
Another way for hotels to create a connection with travelers is by offering curated packages, as NoMo SoHo is doing with their NoMo x NFT three- and six-night stays.
These NFTs also function as collectibles from a traveler’s trip, offering depictions of “a recognizable part of the hotel, from The Lovewall in NoMo Kitchen to The Tunnel of Love, the hotel’s iconic archway.”
With packages designed both for less popular times (Sunday – Tuesday) and more flexible options, NoMo SoHo creates an interesting set of packages that can help to regulate demand.
- Use NFTs To Boost Destination Marketing
Hotels can also benefit from the work that their local destination management company does. As Portorož and Piran have shown in Slovenia, travel and tourism-based NFTs don’t have to be stand-alone efforts; they can be just as powerful worked into a larger campaign.
This summer, the NFT ties into a larger focus on well-being and outdoor activities that includes nine local tourism service providers, among them three hotels.
With this joint effort to attract tourists to a destination, a rising tide lifts all boats. Though it’s unlikely one tourist would stay at all three of those hotels, an overall increase in tourists will benefit all the hotels.
Other Use Cases For NFTs in Travel & Hospitality
NFTs are not just being used in marketing hotels. There a wide range of other examples in play, of which a few can be seen here:
- Airlines – airBaltic is launching 10,000 planies on the Ethereum blockchain. Holders of this NFT will “enjoy various travel-related benefits of the airBaltic Club loyalty program, including loyalty points, vouchers” and more.
- Conservation – Nature Seychelles, in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Porini Foundation, launched the world’s first Digital Nature Collectibles in support of the endangered Seychelles Magpie Robin. For an area like these islands where conservation is often dependent on tourism, this provides a new opportunity to interact with the region.
- Cruise Lines – Celebrity Cruises launched a partnership with artist Rubem Robierb to create an NFT collection that complements a physical sculpture onboard a new ship. The holders of the NFT were invited to the ship’s naming ceremony and inaugural sailing.
- Affordable Private Jets – Billed as “the first NFT project to make flying on a private jet affordable,” EthJet connects token holders with discounted charters, awards, free annual jet time, and more.
What’s Next For Hotel NFTs
These are still early days for NFTs.
While it’s true that the NFT market is down in terms of sales volume this year, those numbers reflect the trading of digital assets rather than the actual utility or innovation happening.
Though there is risk with any new technology, there is also reward. In many instances, that risk can also be shared across a region or destination.
For innovative hotels and tourism organizations who want to connect more closely with a savvy, international audience, starting an NFT travel project could be worthwhile.
To learn more about what travel and tourism organizations are using NFTs for, check out our list of current travel NFT projects.