Tue. Dec 6th, 2022

Peter Kern, CEO of Expedia Group, told CNBC on Friday that he’s not concerned about customers abandoning actual travel in favour of a virtual-reality experience.

In my opinion, the metaverse is not a threat to our business.” We’re, like everyone else, a little bit curious about it. The “real-verse” is what we’re all about, according to Kern in a “Squawk on the Street” interview.

Companies from McDonald’s to Playboy are planning to cash in on virtual reality, while Meta, parent company of Facebook, has hailed the metaverse as the future. In 2021, the metaverse’s real estate sales amounted to $501 million, and that figure is expected to rise to $1 billion this year.

Threat To What he Calls ‘real-verse’ Travel

Kern, on the other hand, asserted that no activity in the metaverse can replace the experience of travelling in person. In my lifetime, I don’t believe the metaverse will ever be able to replace the experience of being in a city like Paris, Rome, or a national park. There’s no substitute for it. These are the things that shape our lives, and I don’t believe the same can be said for sitting on your couch with a headset on.

Expedia’s stock rose more than 1% on Friday after the company reported a fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share of $1.06 per share. The stock is up 10% year to date. Although the number was higher than expected, revenue fell short of expectations. Covid’s impact on travel bookings was significant, but omicron had a smaller and shorter-lasting impact than previous variant waves, according to Expedia.

While flight cancellations and lockdowns hampered travel demand in the fourth quarter, Kern predicted that travel “will be fine,” especially as more people who stayed at home throughout the pandemic plan trips and consumers begin to accept the new normal of travel risks.

There are no plans for customers to give up their passports for virtual reality headsets in the near future despite his reservations about the long-term viability of the metaverse.

In the end, who knows?

“Perhaps in 100 years, we’ll all be sitting around with headsets on,” he speculated. In the short term, however, we are optimistic about people’s desire to experience life on their own.

By Adam

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