The crypto revolution is coming for the hospitality industry
Crypto owners looking to combine their digital assets with something in the real world have a new option: Take a vacation.
The NoMo SoHo hotel in New York City has become the first hotel in the United States to offer NFT reservations. Since 16 May, the property has started combining curated NFTs with stays in some of its guest rooms, plus added perks. For now, only 300 such NFTs will be released, starting at .41 ETH, or US$836 (S$1,147) at the time of launch.
While a couple of hospitality companies have joined the worlds of sports, entertainment, art and spirits in the NFT game, most have stuck to the digital art aspect of things. For example, Marriott Bonvoy, the brand’s loyalty program, unveiled NFTs at this year’s Art Basel Miami, but those unlocked pieces of original art and 200,000 Bonvoy points. Other hotels have set up NFT galleries, while luxury Venetian hotel Ca’ di Dio offered a few exclusive experiences via NFTs in honour of its 2021 opening.
“The market has started to filter between the offers which are maybe very virtual and those that are actually providing them with something,” Sharon Raz, CEO of Sapir Corp, which owns the NoMo, told Robb Report. “This is very innovative and new. I think this is something that, if you think about it, should have been done already.”
Booking via the NFT package will be similar to using any sort of promo code, making the experience relatively seamless for the buyer. Using a special code, guests will be able to reserve three-to-six-night stays, depending on the NFT they purchased, with a range of dates to choose from. Raz calls it a “win-win” that benefits both the hotel and the user: The NoMo gets to fill up its reservation books in advance, while the guest gets to lock in a competitive price at a time when NYC hotel rates are rising.
The 26-storey NoMo is the tallest building in SoHo, and offers beautiful views of New York through the three-metre floor-to-ceiling windows found in its rooms. When booking with an NFT, guests will also receive perks such as late check-out, complimentary breakfast, a welcome amenity and more. Raz emphasises that it’ll be almost like a membership club, with a small, exclusive group of people having access to these offerings. And she’s hoping the NFTs will help the NoMo attract a new type of clientele.
“I think the crypto people, the crypto community, will now look at NoMo differently, or as a better option, when considering options in New York,” she said. “We’re creating something that has not yet been seen in the hospitality industry, which I think should be huge once people realize the benefits.”
NFTs have the potential to disrupt the way business is done in a whole host of sectors, and Raz wants Sapir to be at the forefront of that innovation in the real estate and hospitality industries. Previously, the company sold a US$22.5 million (S$30.9 million) oceanfront condo using cryptocurrency, making the building the first development in Miami to facilitate such a transaction.
“That was the first time we identified the connection between this new world and the real, old-time assets like an apartment, a room, something you can actually own,” Raz said. “There was a lot of demand that we discovered from people that owned coin, wanted to convert it or do something with it that still belongs to the old world, as I call it, like real estate.”
Now, Sapir is banking on people wanting that sort of connection with hotels as well. Depending on how the NoMo’s first NFT drop pans out, more packages could be in the future, with expanded offerings or opportunities. For now, though, the focus is on these 300 NFTs—available just in time for the summer travel season.
This story was first published on Robb Report USA