For most of us, booking a hotel involves checking out our favourite travel website or calling the hotel directly, but for MMO fans, it’s a bit different. For MMO players, booking a hotel involves checking in to their favourite online virtual hotel within their MMO game of choice, whether it be SL, WOW or one of the other games.
Travel has gone virtual within these MMO’s, which is probably quite a smart thing to do given then cost of fuel now and the recent rash of bankrupt airlines. The biggest names in the international hotel industry are getting onboard with this trend for massively multiplayer online games. So next time your avatar needs a place to stay in virtual space, check into one of these virtual hotels where lodging is literally out of this world. Some of them are actually quite impressive, but then again, what isn’t in a virtual world?
Illustrious Hotel: This hotel isn’t associated with any MMO, such as Second Life, instead it’s more like a virtual hotel for businesses to advertise their products and services. It’s a creative alternative to traditional advertising, where websites can rent a room at the hotel and visitors can check out the room by simply mousing over the room at the Illustrious Hotel home page.
The people behind this one-of-a-kind virtual hotel also claim that the Illustrious Hotel will host various special events to help generate repeat traffic to the site, and thus increasing traffic to the businesses paying to stay at the virtual hotel. Whether or not this website will ever take off is yet to be seen, but at least the hotel itself looks cool!
Habbo Hotel: This online PC game isn’t an actual virtual hotel, it’s more like an online virtual world. Habbo Hotel was created in 2000 and was designed as a social networking game where teenagers around the world can chat and interact in a virtual world. The idea has clearly caught on as it is now one of the most popular MMO’s in the world.
Habbo Hotel has over 75 million registered users and growing. The popularity of this particular virtual hotel is in large part due to the fact that it’s free to join the community, although you must purchase inexpensive Habbo Credits in order to play games or decorate your room.
World of Warcraft Dungeons
World of Warcraft Dungeons: The closest thing you’ll see to a hotel in the world’s most popular MMO is the large number of the so-called micro and world dungeons laced throughout the virtual land. These dungeons are located within tombs, haunted mines, ice caves, sunken ships, and many other locations - not the most comfortable accommodation and certainly not the type of place you’d want to stay in the real world.
Rixos Hotel: The Rixos Hotel Group is a chain of luxury hotels based in Turkey. This popular brand decided in 2007 to join the Second Life (SL) virtual world by opening a virtual Rixos Hotel complete with employees hired from the best and most experienced candidates out there. Rixos Hotel Group will be one of the highest investors in SL with a variety of golf courses, entertainment areas, and the hotel just to name a few. Executives from the Rixos group hope to corner the virtual hotel market in SL, which has around 8 million registered users.
Starwood Aloft Hotel
Starwood Aloft Hotel: Starwood, owners of the Westin, Sheraton, and prestigious W hotel chains, is one of the biggest names in the international hotel industry. Back in 2006, Starwood decided to explore a new style of hotel with minimalist design, high ceilings and chic furnishings. With a loft-style room, this ultra-cool design was soon dubbed Aloft.
Starwood decided to try their new hotel in the virtual world before actually building it, just so they could see if it would actually be successful in the real world. They opened the hotel in Second Life, and then monitored how visitors interacted with the hotel, measuring what they liked and disliked etc. In fact, Starwood were actually the first hotel chain to open a hotel in Second Life, and it proved to be a largely successful test market for them.
Google Lively: Google recently announced the introduction of their very own virtual world that they call Google Lively. Google Lively will work hand-in-hand with social networking sites, such as Facebook, and it will be a browser-based application complete with avatar customisation, custom rooms for each user, and more chatting than two 16-year-old girls gossiping on the phone.
Each member of Google Lively will be able to design their own avatar and setup shop in their own virtual room that is completely designed by the user. Users will be able to chat with other users and chill out in each others rooms, as well as explore the rest of this MMO’s virtual world.