Like it or not, virtual is here to stay.

Technology has changed the way marketers are promoting districts, downtowns and destinations, but there are mixed feelings about its longevity and viability. If you think it’s a fad, think again.

For some marketers, the challenge isn’t learning a new technology, it’s the acceleration of change. Human beings often have a difficult time comprehending how small technological advancements have ripple effects that impact all of our lives in huge ways. When we first meet a technology, we’re skeptical about adoption on a global scale.  

Take the development of the Internet. The majority of people said to themselves“this is just for anarchists and nerds.” Then with the introduction of Amazon, skeptics posited that “no one’s going to buy toilet paper online.” With the start of social media they said, “who cares that you’re eating that salad.” 

Each time, there are prognosticators who doubt that we as a society are capable of adopting something new. Each time, they are wrong. 

In the not-so-distant future, exploring virtual places like this one will feel like the norm.

We’re seeing the same situation right now with the Metaverse. Adoption isn’t yet fully widespread, but looking at the bleeding edge shows where we’re going. Take a look at this fascinating article about how Seoul will become the first city to enter the Metaverse. I immediately thought to myself “oh, of course.” 

“Provisionally called ‘Metaverse Seoul’, it intends to create a virtual communication ecosystem for all areas of its municipal administration. This would include economic, cultural, tourism, educational and civic service, in three stages from next year.”

Seoul will be the first. But just like with the Internet, social media and Amazon, there is a wave behind the mavericks. Eventually, every city will be doing this. 

We have entered into a new age.  With remote work, our best and brightest are no longer geographically anchored to wherever they choose to be employed. They can instead base their decisions about where to live on a variety of other metrics. To survive, and thrive, cities will have to be vocal advocates for themselves. To attract top businesses, residents and talent, cities need to show what sets them apart from the rest.  

We’ve already seen incentives change when cities are put into competition with one another.  Look no further than the several-year odyssey of Amazon’s HQ2 search. We’re dealing with the same idea, but the stakes are much higher.   Instead of competing for the good graces of a single mega-company, cities are now competing for tens of millions of geographically mobile workers. This is why we’re so excited about Vistity. With Vistity, cities and destinations can tell the visual story of their place with anyone on the internet, and more cities are signing up every month. 

The future might be uncertain. Big changes are on the horizon. We can’t predict exactly what’s coming, but there is no question that a good portion of it will be virtual. 

Plan accordingly.

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