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“Virtual is a real opportunity for the Business Travel sector” –

The Meta group (former Facebook) unequivocally asserts its ambitions in terms of metaverses. For the group, the future of social interactions lies in these virtual universes and will revolutionize our relationship to the world and to time. Gilles Maillet, Travel, Automotive & Mobility Director at Meta, talks about its application in Travel and more particularly Business Travel.

What are Meta’s ambitions for metaverses?

Gilles Maillet, Travel, Automotive & Mobility Director at Meta

At Meta, we changed our name last year to reflect our ambition in the metaverse. The metaverse for us corresponds to all the experiences that we can live together in a virtual world as if they were real. We put this on the same level as the mobile revolution. The metaverse is the next internet revolution. We are going 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. The creation of the metaverse will above all be collaborative and will not remain solely 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 to time and travel, especially in business travel?

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

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 there is today a real reflection on the side of sustainable development. On top of that, the metaverse could come and change the way men connect with each other and optimize professional appointments. The notion of sustainable development will not only be valid for companies since we also want to reduce our carbon emissions and develop a sustainable and responsible metaverse.

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

With the new ways of working, we are moving towards a hybrid working world where each tool can improve our productivity, our creativity… I think these are fundamental “trends” that will last over time. The metaverse will serve the business traveler and the company. 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 since it will create new ways of interacting and meeting. Business opportunities will only be increased tenfold.

For companies, these universes can also be made available for training. Hilton has also recently trained its teams across the metaverse. Vocational training will be an important issue in the years to come. In general, everything related to the customer experience can be enhanced by technology. The automotive industry or the cultural sector in particular regularly use augmented reality, for example to offer immersive driving experiences or visit experiences anywhere, in museums but especially outside. In the hotel industry, establishments will become real places of work and it will be necessary for professionals to be able to offer augmented experiences to bring business travelers to their homes. I think that in the long term, this will become a real criterion. Equipping yourself with the latest technologies available will therefore be essential.

Opening photo: @solomin_D

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