Americans love a good theme hotel. Between the Talladega Nights room at the Curtis Hotel in Denver, Colorado, to the Lord of the Rings-themed Hobbit House in Trout Creek, Montana, themed hotels and hotel rooms have long been a popular concept. Today, another hotel is hedging its bets on capturing a moment in pop culture history to boost occupancy.
With the hotel industry hurting to the tune of 1 billion empty rooms in 2020, hotels are looking for ways to attract guests again. One hotel in Lexington, Kentucky, the 21C Hotel, is capitalizing on the popularity of the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit,” which is partially set in the city.
The 21C has created a Queen’s Gambit room, complete with chess-themed decor (think oversized chess pieces hanging from the ceiling), mid-century modern furniture on loan from local residents, shops, and museums, and even retro curtains that tie everything together.
The Queen’s Gambit was a popular Netflix series this winter, garnering critical acclaim and a whopping 62 million views. The hotel and the Lexington tourism board are hoping the room is a big enough draw to generate some interest in the city and the hotel industry.
So, should you create a themed room in your hotel? Here are some things to consider.
One of the best ways to capitalize on a pop culture moment is to figure out what’s trending at the moment. This can be a bit tricky because trends fade, but some trends withstand the test of time, especially for movies or series that will have sequels or multiple seasons. For example, the series Bridgerton, which is now airing on Netflix, has surpassed the viewership for The Queen’s Gambit with a record 82 million views and will likely be renewed.
Though it’s not exactly a classic, Talladega Nights is a cult favorite, so a themed room for that film just makes sense, especially if your city happens to be the setting for a film or television series.
What Can You Pull Together?
The 21C Hotel was fortunate enough to have local mid-century modern furniture to borrow for their Queen’s Gambit room, so they were able to design a room relatively quickly. Look around your city and see what’s available to deck out your themed room before planning, so you aren’t delayed and can capitalize on the trend before it cools.
What’s Your Budget?
This ties in with finding what’s available for your themed room. If you can borrow furniture from locals, this will save you from having to invest in expensive furniture. This is especially important if you are only hosting the themed room for a limited time like the 21C Hotel is doing with the Queen’s Gambit room.
The last thing to remember is to have fun with your themed room. Themed rooms should be fun for your guests, and the joy you put into designing a space should be apparent in the finished product.
Whether you choose a timeless film like Forrest Gump or a popular series like Friends, a themed room can be a great way to generate excitement about your hotel and boost sales, too.