Singapore’s Merlion dives into the metaverse to boost tourism

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and homegrown hospitality group Millennium Hotels and Resorts (MHR) have jointly launched Merlion on Vacation, a virtual adventure that enables players to explore Singapore in the metaverse, win prizes and enjoy a Merlion 50th Birthday themed room package at M Social Singapore. 

Singapore’s Merlion, located at Merlion Park, turned 50 last September 15. Players will search for clues to locate the Merlion as it is teleported to Decentraland, a 3D virtual world platform, for a vacation to mark its 50th birthday. 

Apart from discovering M Social Decentraland – a virtual hotel with glass exteriors and neon pink accents – players can engage in mini-games featuring Singapore landmarks such as Orchard Road, Sungei Buloh, Gardens by the Bay, and Maxwell Food Centre. 

Those who complete the games will enter a raffle for the grand prize of a one-night stay at M Social Singapore, as well as hotel and F&B vouchers and other merchandise. 

M Social Singapore has also launched a Merlion 50th Birthday Package to mark the Singapore icon’s jubilee, allowing guests to experience Merlion-themed cocktail-mixing and perfume-making workshops.

The virtual adventure Merlion on Vacation builds on the opening of M Social Decentraland in May this year, which marked MHR as the world’s first hotel group to operate a hotel in the metaverse. M Social Decentraland occupies prime real estate in Decentraland as it is one tram stop from Genesis Plaza, the starting point for all visitors to the virtual platform.

Saurabh Prakash, Group SVP  at MHR, said M Social Decentraland may be in the virtual world but the campaign is grounded in the reality of reaching new customers and generating new revenue sources with the metaverse as the platform. 

“Our partnership with STB on the Merlion’s virtual vacation is one such example,” he said. “By getting local and international guests to participate in this campaign, we are promoting Singapore and the M Social brand, while sweetening the pot with rewards for stays and dining that can be used at our physical hotel, M Social Singapore.”

Chang Chee Pey, Assistant Chief Executive of STB’s Marketing Group, said stepping into the metaverse creates opportunities for STB to engage new audiences and connect with travellers in a novel and creative way. 

“The tourism landscape is evolving, and to remain relevant it is critical that we embrace emerging technologies to inspire travel to Singapore and push the boundaries of marketing innovation,” he said.

Access to M Social Decentraland is free of charge. Thethe M Social brand was launched in 2016, starting with M Social Singapore, and has since expanded with other physical outposts in Paris, New York and Auckland. 

M Social Decentraland marks the first virtual location in the metaverse. MHR plans to grow the brand in more physical locations including Suzhou, Phuket, London, Sunnyvale and key cities in the Middle East, with strong characters to capture diverse stories in vibrant and creative communities.