Second Life on Paradise

This is kind of strange–Starwood, who just flushed their plans for a W on Harmon down the toilet, will be opening an “aloft,” which is apparently a hotel that’s being debuted on Second Life, an online world. From the LV Sun:

Aloft, the latest “lifestyle” hotel brand from Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc., is reaching further afield than any of its competitors in the hotel or casino industries to cultivate in-demand Generation X and Y customers.

In fact, Starwood is drawing from a different universe – the digital world known as Second Life – to generate buzz for aloft, a midpriced hotel chain that will launch next year. The hotel company is one of several businesses opening in Second Life, a brightly colored, opportunistic world where people use digital avatars to get jobs, meet people, buy and sell goods (converting real money to virtual and back again) and engage in recreational activities.

The first hotel company to take this digital plunge, Starwood hired digital experts to create detailed 3-D renderings and monitor the action as digital customers hung out in the digital lobby, bought digital drinks and even chatted up digital women (or men). Input from Second Life customers on color palette, furniture and other details has been incorporated into the latest plans for a chain of hotels it plans to build across the country.


Yesterday at the Casino Real Estate conference I said that the future would bring a further convergence of the online and terrestrial worlds in commerce, casinos, and all things Vegas. I don’t feel so dumb saying that now.

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