Qatar Airways is soaring into new heights of technological innovation with an expansion of its digital tool, the QVerse, effectively revolutionizing the way passengers plan their journeys. As the first global airline to implement a MetaHuman cabin crew in a digital interactive customer journey, Qatar Airways is now allowing passengers an immersive preview of their travel experience before they even set foot at the airport.
This quantum leap in the travel industry has been fuelled by the emergence of the metaverse - a collective virtual shared space created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital realities. Major tech companies predict that we will eventually work and socialize within these immersive 3D worlds, and Qatar Airways has been quick to recognize the potential this technology holds for transforming the customer experience.
The QVerse now enables passengers to visualize and interact with various aspects of their upcoming journey. They can explore the airline's first class check-in counters, lounges, and both business and economy class cabins in an immersive digital environment. They are assisted by a MetaHuman cabin crew member named Sama, which translates to "sky" in Arabic. Sama offers guidance and provides an in-depth walkthrough of each environment, from the Premium Check-in area at Hamad International Airport (HIA) to the airline's award-winning Qsuite business class product and the economy class cabin.
Further, travelers can now experience Qatar Airways’ new business class suite and economy class on board its Boeing 787-9 plane, as well as the Qsuite and economy class on its Airbus A350-1000. They can also digitally traverse the airline’s Al Safwa first class lounge and the Al Mourjan business class lounge at HIA.
The virtual tour is not only available in more than ten languages, but it also comes with an added incentive - a discount of up to 10% on the ticket price for those exploring these digital environments. This discount applies to premium or economy class tickets to over 160 destinations offered by the airline.
However, the transition into the metaverse is not without its challenges. As an airline recognized seven times as the world’s best, Qatar Airways had to ensure a near-perfect digital representation of the physical customer journey. The ambition was not just to provide a visually striking VR demonstration but also to enhance the customer’s digital experience and boost sales.
Looking ahead, the airline plans to enhance the QVerse by integrating compatibility with VR headsets for a more realistic virtual experience, creating customizable avatars, and more. This pioneering use of immersive technology in the air travel industry exemplifies the potential for virtual reality to inform customers' decisions regarding their airline of choice and the quality of service they can anticipate.
As the metaverse reaches mainstream acceptance, it's likely that more airlines will follow in Qatar Airways' digital footprints. The sky is indeed no longer the limit when it comes to travel experience, and with virtual reality becoming more affordable and sophisticated, the range of virtual experiences in the air travel industry is set to expand. Who knows? We may soon be boarding our flights with NFT passes in the metaverse.