“Virtual is a real opportunity for the business travel sector” – TOM.travel

“Virtual is a real opportunity for the business travel sector” – TOM.travel

The Meta group (formerly Facebook) unequivocally claims its ambitions in terms of metavers. For the group, the future of social interactions lies in these virtual universes and will revolutionize our relationship with the world and with time. Gilles Maillet, Travel, Automotive & Mobility Director at Meta, talks about its use in Travel and more specifically Business Travel.

What are Meta’s ambitions for metavers?

Gilles Maillet, Travel, Automotive & Mobility Director at Meta

At Meta, we changed our name last year to reflect our ambition in the meta verse. The meta-verse for us corresponds to all the experiences we can live together in a virtual world, as if they were real. We put this on the same level as the mobile revolution. Metaverset is the next internet revolution. We need to move from a 2D to a 3D environment, totally immersive.

With Facebook, we already offered augmented reality and virtual reality experiences, but the latter required specific equipment. Above all, the creation of the meta-verse will be collaborative and will not remain exclusively with Meta. For our part, we expect to create more than 10,000 jobs in Europe in the coming years dedicated to this technology.

Is there a desire to revolutionize our relationship with time and travel, especially in business travel?

At Disney, for example, the meta-verse is offered as an enhanced experience of their park. It complements the visit and does not replace it. The meta-verse will make it possible to offer experiences that could not be obtained in the real world, and for professionals to facilitate the organization of e.g. meetings or events. According to Meta, the change will take place through 3 axes: in our way of working, in the discovery of a destination and in the notion of extended travel. Our relationship to time will also evolve as it does not require physical movement so we will gain something.

I think the pandemic has already profoundly changed our relationship to time and the way we travel. We need business travel because it is important to stay in touch, to be connected, and at the same time today there is a real reflection on the side of sustainable development. Then the metaverse will be able to change the way men connect with each other and optimize professional meetings. The concept of sustainable development will not only apply to companies, as we also want to reduce our CO2 emissions and develop a sustainable and responsible metaverse.

What might a meeting or business trip look like in a few years?

With the new ways of working, we are moving towards a hybrid world of work, where every tool can improve our productivity, our creativity … I think these are basic “trends” that will last over time. The metaverset will serve the business traveler and the business. What is certain is that business travel will change, and so will the organization. This will redefine what a professional meeting is, but the virtual is above all a real opportunity for the sector as it will create new ways of interacting and meeting. The business opportunities will only be tenfold.

For companies, these universes can also be made available for training. Hilton has also recently trained his teams across the metaverse. Vocational training will be an important topic in the coming years. In general, everything related to the customer experience can be improved with technology. The automotive industry or the cultural sector in particular regularly uses augmented reality, for example to offer immersive driving experiences or visit experiences everywhere, in museums but especially outside. In the hotel industry, establishments will become real jobs and it will be necessary for professionals to be able to offer extended experiences to bring business travelers to their homes. I think in the long run it will be a real criterion. Equipping yourself with the latest available technologies will therefore be crucial.

Opening photo: @solomin_D

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