The Oaks Ignore Their Pleas

Virtual Hotel in Second Life

Posted in Second Life by Jeff Graves on August 31, 2006

If you’re a fan of Second Life, and even if you’re not, you should check out this weblog that details the construction of Second Life’s first “real world” hotel chain in-world.  Starwood Hotels has engaged virtual service firm The Electric Sheep Company and marketing firm Electric Artists, to create a prototype for their new Aloft chain, which doesn’t even exist in the real world yet. 

It’s a pretty interesting development, in a virtual space that seems to see more and more real world companies, brands and artists becoming part of it each day.  Starwood will be able to build buzz for their Aloft brand among a group of tech-savvy, fairly sophisticated potential customers, and will be able to “test drive” certain features of the hotel before having to commit them to brick and mortar.  Clearly, this goes beyond simple product placement in an online game or virtual world, to having the brand become part of the fabric of the online world itself, in a fairly unobstrusive and benign way.  One of the challenges for Starwood, and probably for Electric Artists and the Electric Sheep, will be to find ways to keep SL residents coming to the property as time goes on.  But, given the number of entertainment options flooding SL, from live music to charity events, I’m pretty sure they’ll manage to keep things interesting.


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