Singaporean billionaire Kwek Leng Beng’s Millennium Hotels and Resorts and the billionaire Lo family’s Regal Hotels Group in Hong Kong are taking their first steps into the metaverse after purchasing virtual properties in blockchain gaming platforms Decentraland and the Sandbox.
Millennium Hotels and Resorts, a hospitality brand under Kwek’s City Developments, said on Wednesday that it is launching a hotel in Decentraland, a virtual world where players can build, buy and sell in-game assets as they interact with others.
Known as the M Social Decentraland, the hotel aims to become “a place for all to gather and discover the virtual reality universe” in the metaverse platform, Millennium Hotels said in a statement. The virtual hotel will open its door to players in early May. Visitors will be able to interact with an avatar which guides them through the building, and will have the chance to win “real world hotel surprises.”
“As we look towards the future, we need to look past the traditional model of hospitality and engage our guests through new immersive experiences,” said Kwek, executive chairman of City Developments. “We hope to redefine hospitality through M Social Decentraland by creating online adventures that integrate with real life events.”
Millennium Hotels said it will seek collaborations in the metaverse platform. The hospitality brand added that it will integrate its virtual hotel with real world occasions, such as Valentine’s Day and New Year’s.
Meanwhile, Regal Hotels Group, chaired by Lo Yuk Sui of Hong Kong’s billionaire Lo family, said on Monday that it is developing a “green metropolis” in the Sandbox, the metaverse platform owned by Hong Kong-based blockchain gaming giant Animoca Brands.
Dubbed MetaGreen, the virtual city is looking to “promote eco-friendly choices and foster a sustainable community to support a circular economy,” Regal Hotels said in a statement. The metropolis will feature a convention center for conferences related to environment, social and governance (ESG) issues. It will also include a shopping mall in collaboration with Hang Seng Bank and other retail brands, an art gallery and an eco-farm, as well as an academy that partners with a Hong Kong university to promote sustainability.
“Web3 and metaverse technologies will not only disrupt every facet of our daily lives, but also empower socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable impact in the world,” said Regal Hotels vice chairman Poman Lo, daughter of Lo Yuk Sui. “The MetaGreen project strives to inspire, educate and catalyse a more sustainable future by mobilizing a green ecosystem of like-minded partners who will co-create this path to carbon net zero with us.”
Regal Hotels said it is launching MetaGreen in October. The company estimated the virtual metropolis will attract two-thirds of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million population. It will continue to look for partners to collaborate on its metaverse project.
Metaverse platforms like Decentraland and the Sandbox have gained ground among well-known brands and companies over the past year. It comes as the metaverse, a term that’s loosely defined as a digital realm where people can interact virtually, became a buzzword after Facebook rebranded itself as Meta as part of its strategy to focus on the internet’s “next frontier” last October.
These metaverse games have already attracted companies in traditional finance, including HSBC and JPMorgan, as well as consumer brands such as Adidas and Samsung.