As one of the first global hospitality companies to break into the NFT space, Tao Group Hospitality is revolutionizing the New York City nightclub scene one (virtual) ticket at a time.
With over 60 venues spanning five continents, Tao Hospitality Group is the biggest and most influential hospitality brand in the world.
Moreover, Tao’s adoption of NFT ticketing is a major indicator of where both the live events and NFT industries are heading.
Committed to dynamic experiences, Tao is looking to meld the digital with real life in unique and unprecedented ways.
The brand will be partnering with YellowHeart, an NFT marketplace for music that has worked with Maroon 5, Kings of Leon, Julian Lennon, MGM Resorts, and more, to roll out its NFT tickets.
We sat down with Justin Levy, Vice President of Marketing at Tao Hospitality Group, to discuss how their entrance into the NFT world will massively impact the hospitality industry, both in New York City and worldwide.
In what ways is TAO’s adoption of NFTs going to impact the hospitality space?
It’s clear to us that NFTs and Web3 aren’t just a temporary trend, the technology is real and it will have a pronounced impact on the landscape of hospitality in a similar way that social media did. We’re still early but we’re excited to start participating in the space and learn.
As the biggest global hospitality brand, what responsibility does TAO feel leading this movement?
We’ve met with dozens of companies all trying to merge web3 and hospitality and in each meeting, we leave trying to answer the same question. How does this complement and enhance our current guest experience? The last thing we want to do is commit to a project or partnership just as a money grab, which is plaguing the industry right now.
TAO’s utilization of NFTs is a major indicator of where live events and the NFT space at large are going. Where do you see these Industries heading in five years? Ten years?
If every current ticketing company isn’t starting to plan their transition into web3 they are making a grave mistake. NFTs will be the defacto ticket experience over the next decade. It’s one of the best use cases of NFT technology.
How is TAO’s newest endeavor going to meld the digital with real life? What are the implications of this? How are you going to ensure the introduction into the digital world won’t dilute the thrilling, real-world experiences TAO offers?
Merging the digital and real-life experience is already built into the NFT ticket. When guests buy a ticket, they receive the ticket in a pre-reveal state, meaning the artwork they see at purchase isn’t the final creative. Upon scanning the ticket at entry is when the NFT comes to life and reveals the actual artwork. This opens up an entire realm of possibilities in many different creative avenues. Special limited edition artwork and surprise collaborations with our talent roster are just a sneak peek at things we are working on already. You’re no longer just receiving a ticket QR code in your email, you’re receiving a collectible to remember that night forever.
From a utilitarian perspective, why is the adoption of NFTs advantageous?
NFTs offer great utility for ticketing. Fans know verifiably that their tickets are real and will stop getting scammed on fake tickets, which unfortunately still happens at our venues, NFTs allow the venue to participate in the economics of the resale marketplace, and they enhance the fan experience by driving further brand loyalty with the collectability of the NFTs. We’re also excited about the idea of post-event airdrops, which again is an entirely new way for fans to engage with our brands post events.
Can you talk a bit more about your collaboration with YellowHeart? Why is this a smart partnership for both parties?
From our very first conversations with YellowHeart, the idea has always been let’s do something that will change the landscape of hospitality. At our scale, we really wanted to find a partner that we felt could handle the volume of our ticketing business and they had the proven technology.
As the first company to bring this volume of NFT tickets to nightclubs in the city, how is TAO revolutionizing the New York City nightlife scene?
Being innovative is in the DNA of our company. We’re constantly searching for new ways to enhance the guest experience and while we may be the first we think NFT ticketing is inevitable and we’re excited.
With NFTS, restaurants, and venues are able to communicate with consumers in ways that weren’t possible before. What are the advantages of this type of communication? Any drawbacks?
Communication is where our partnership with YellowHeart has its advantages. We have the tools of web3 to do airdrops and other types of NFT experience but also the traditional communication channels with push notifications and email marketing. It’s the best of both worlds. Communication is difficult in the traditional NFT space and the reason every project needs an accompanying Discord channel.
As New York returns to some sort of normalcy, people are craving real-life experiences. How does the booming NFT world tie into this narrative?
There’s nothing more real-life than experiencing one of the biggest DJs in the world take over our booth. Your NFT ticket gets you access and you’ll leave with collectible memory minted on the blockchain.
Photography by: Courtesy Tezos