Cathy Schetzina led a discussion of Second Life with STA, Carnival Cruises and Starwood. The primary benefits of launching a Second Life site was described by the panel are PR and gaining experience in a virtual world. The panel agreed that the initial buzz regarding Second Life has faded somewhat lessening the value of free PR that was prevalent earlier this year. Starwood created a new hotel brand in Second Life. The company gained valuable feedback on design and received lots of press. Starwood was prominently featured in Business Week and other general press outlets providing good PR. Starwood has since shut down their Second Life initiative showing that the value was not sustainable. STA emphasized the importance of sponsoring activities such as concerts or dance parties. With STA’s primary market being students the fit with Second Life was a natural as a way to each their core campus audience. When Cathy asked whether Second Life is a passing trend or the sign of something in the future, the panel felt that this was only the beginning of trend toward marketing in the virtual world. The bottom line is that Second Life should be viewed as a game and the true impact of online gaming in a virtual world is just beginning.