citizenM Expands Into The Metaverse

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While citizenM may be the first hotel group to purchase LAND in The Sandbox, other brands have also dipped their toes in the metaverse.

citizenM has reportedly made its initial foray into the virtual world, known as the metaverse. It has done so by acquiring a virtual piece of real estate in a decentralized gaming world called The Sandbox.

The Sandbox (a subsidiary of Animoca Brands) is described as a metaverse where users can create and monetize their own distinct worlds and game experiences on LANDs, which are non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that represent virtual real estate in The Sandbox. 

According to a press statement, citizenM will “bring art to the forefront by showcasing and selling future NFT collections that will be commissioned with growing talent in the digital art space.” Once the LAND is purchased, citizenM aims to finance the build of a hotel in the virtual world through the sale of an exclusive collection of NFTs with real-world rewards (utilities) attached.

Each of the 2000 NFTs will reportedly be priced equally, however, purchasers will at random be assigned one of three levels: 1500 “regular” citizens, 450 “special” citizens and 50 “legendary” citizens. The utilities will take the form of discounts, free drinks and more with the specifics of the rewards being determined by the level of NFT assigned to the purchaser. The rewards will be redeemable at any of citizenM’s growing portfolio of hotels in the real world.

“We are thrilled to be the first hospitality company to build in the Metaverse,” Robin Chadha, CMO of citizenM, shares. “As a brand that has always pushed the boundaries and challenged traditional models, this new venture in The Sandbox fits our brand strategy and the commitment we have to the creative community and our guests both online and in the real world. We’re excited to further explore opportunities in the Metaverse in the years to come.”

Once the virtual hotel – a place “for avatars visiting The Sandbox to Work, Sleep & Play” – is built, citizenM will collaborate with an additional roster of digital artists to create and sell NFTs that can be purchased in the digital space.

Eventually, the brand plans to use these profits, as well as the incorporation of a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), to fully finance a physical, real-life property where token holders will vote on the location. In line with the brand’s ethos, citizenM aims to ultimately build a hotel for the people, by the people.

While citizenM may be the first hotel group to purchase LAND in The Sandbox, other brands have also dipped their toes in the metaverse. In December, for example, Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s travel program, teamed up with up-and-coming digital artists to create three Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). In February, R Collection Hotels, the hotel group of the Rocchi family, became part of a sale of NFTs when it went online on the OpenSea platform.