Cover Membership experiences include an all-day luxury sailing adventure on the Andaman Sea (photo: ringo13/Flickr)

Tatler chats with CEO and Founder of DayAway Martha Waslen on their travel membership NFT debut and how their digital platform is bringing changes to the hospitality scene

Web3 has disrupted the traditional hospitality and tourism industry by revolutionising experiences, upgrading legacy systems, and rebuilding fragmented loyalty programs. As we begin to understand that there is more to non-fungible tokens (NFTS) than just PFPs (profile pictures), the vast utilities behind these tokens grant us privileges in the real world.

Enter Genesis, an NFT-enabled membership program by DayAway, a Singapore-based destination online booking platform for luxury hotels and experiences. Notable partners of the brand include Rosewood in Hong Kong, and Singapore’s iconic Raffles; DayAway recently expanded into Australia and the UAE.

Martha Waslen, CEO and Founder of DayAway, chats with Tatler on their NFT debut and how their digital platform is bringing change to the hospitality scene.

 

Don't Miss: DayAway Founder Martha Waslen on Why Daycations are Here to Stay

A New Era of Experiences and Loyalty

Waslen's previous background was in the luxury beauty and fashion sector, so she took her expertise in building luxury brands and turned it to the travel industry, offering curated daycations and city retreats with DayAway. The so-called experience economy—where consumers seek unique and memorable experiences over possessions—is rich in potential: the sector is expected to reach US$12 billion by 2023. “The experience economy is all about finding opportunities for connection—with yourself, with others, with communities, with cultures. To me, all experiences, whether it be around food, travel, art, music, sports, romance, wellness, history, are about the quest to feel something deeper, and more meaningful in life,” says Waslen.

DayAway has just unveiled its first blockchain-powered membership in the form of an NFT. The Founder’s Key grants access to a wide range of luxury experiences and events by the world’s most iconic brands. Unlike a standard paid subscription membership model with an annual fee, the membership model is tokenised—it grants lifetime access and is tradable. Implementing membership on the blockchain helps authenticate ownership, verified by connecting the user’s crypto wallet, and is now used as an exclusive pass to the most elite social clubs. Some of the perks include savings off overnight stays at the Raffles Hotel Singapore, the Mandala Group’s villa and chalets, and Codigo Tequila along with a growing list of partners.

The limited-edition Founder’s Key is the first and most exclusive drop of the DayAway Genesis Collection and is the highest tier of the DayAway membership. Priced at US$2,500, the NFT is only limited to 500 members. Aside from staycation savings, holders will also get access to hotel suites originally reserved for heads of state and dignitaries, tastings at Michelin-starred restaurants, VIP entry at special events such as the Formula 1 or World Cup, and even early access drops from fashion designers. Anyone who owns this key will be airdropped an NFT from every subsequent collection launched with future NFTs featuring different utilities, partners, industries, and benefits from other parts of the world.

The upcoming Bucket List NFT will be a series of once-in-a-lifetime, money-can’t-buy experiences designed in partnership with the world’s most luxurious brands to be sold at auction as 1:1 NFTs. Each Bucket List experience will be sold as a digital collectible designed by a world-renowned digital artist. Some coveted experiences will include private sailing escapes, VIP shopping experiences, and unique masterclasses. The initial purchaser may choose to list the NFT on the open market to see if another buyer will pay more for the experience. As soon as the final purchaser decides to redeem the experience, the NFT is burned and can no longer be traded.

 

Building Community, Maximising Utility

Large corporations are always known to own a hierarchal process in signing off innovations, but Waslen has been surprised by how receptive hoteliers have been in exploring opportunities with blockchain, the metaverse and NFTs. The new wave of crypto investors are young and wealthy —a new audience 5-star hotels cannot ignore.

Instead of booking on a platform, spending time to research and read reviews, guests can now explore destinations in the metaverse through virtual engagements and further unlock exclusive experiences through NFT-enabled ownerships. While traditionalists may ridicule digital technologies, Waslen argues, “NFTs aren’t meant to replace the physical experience—they’re meant to enhance it. How could building community and maximising utility for your loyal guests, followers, and customers detract from the luxury experience? Branded, immersive virtual experiences are the future for all brands.”

Right now, seasoned crypto investors are buying into DayAway’s NFT membership, and new NFT collectors are also investing in its utility and unique loyalty program. When it comes to building a successful NFT project that will last, community is key, as it is the holders and fans that will determine the longevity of the project alongside the brand’s own initiatives. “We’re working very hard to build our community now and attracting as many like-minded lifestyle and travel enthusiasts to our DayAway vision as we can,” says Waslen. “Look to engage your community in new ways and, of course, appeal to them with initiatives that tap into the growing experience economy.”

 

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