Talking Brands: Atari and Monopoly have hotels in the works… What other brands could be a great fit for the hospitality sector?

We asked Making Things’ Fi Murray, Reemsborko’s Max Arguile and Rainbow Productions’ Simon Foulkes for the brands they think would be a great fit for a hotel experience.

Back in March it was announced that Atari has entered into a license agreement with ICICB Group for the development of Atari-branded hotels.

Dubai, Gibraltar and Spain are set to be the first countries to welcome Atari hotels, and they aim to ‘immerse visitors into the video game universe and the Atari brand.’ Features will include Atari gaming playgrounds, function rooms, co-working areas, restaurants, bars, a bakery, a movie theatre and a gym.

This followed the news of Atari hotels coming to the US courtesy of the GSD Group, with sites in Las Vegas and Phoenix due to open in 2022.

Talking Brands, Hotel, Hospitality

“Like Atari’s legacy in innovation, Atari Hotels is infusing synthetic reality into every aspect of the hotel, creating an immersive hospitality and gaming experience for our guests,” said Shelly Murphy, Managing Partner, GSD Group.

The brand has even launched Atari Hotels merchandise ahead of the opening, with hats, apparel and mousepads available to buy online.

Talking Brands, Hotel, Hospitality

Elsewhere, a Monopoly hotel is also in the works. A collaboration between Hasbro and M101, the Monopoly Mansion is set to open in Kuala Lumpur and boasts a rooftop pool and sky lounge, while the 14 floors of hotel rooms will each represent a different city from the board game.

“Our underlying concept is to collaborate with international renowned brands – and brands that you might not think is possible for a hotel,” said M101 CEO Datuk Seth Yap.

Talking Brands, Hotel, Hospitality

It’s not the first time Hasbro has extended a game brand into hospitality area. Back in 2019, the firm transformed Russia’s Svezy Veter Country Hotel into a pop-up Trivial Pursuit Hotel.

To book into the hotel, consumers had to answer general knowledge questions correctly. The quality of their stay also depended on their brain power, with the difference between things like a king-size bed or sofa-bed – or a great dinner vs a microwave meal – coming down to whether they got questions right. Check it out in action below:

These kinds of limited, pop-up hotel experiences are on the rise with brands. 2019 also saw Taco Bell launch its first ever hotel in the form of The Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel & Restaurant in California. The rooms featured exclusive Taco Bell artwork, the pool bar had branded cocktails and the gift shop sold limited edition The Bell merchandise.

Talking Brands, Hotel, Hospitality
And it’s not just Taco Bell that’s getting in on the act when it comes to food brands. Last year – and for one weekend only – Nutella launched its own hotel in the form of Hotella Nutella in California’s Napa Valley

The Hotella Nutella weekend experience boasted rooms decked out in décor inspired by the spread, with Nutella-themed breakfast and brunch served up by chef celebs Geoffery Zakarian and Tanya Holland. Consumers wanting to visit had to upload a video reflecting their passion for Nutella to be in with a chance, and only three winners got to experience the pop-up.

Talking Brands, Hotel, Hospitality
With all this in mind, we asked Making Things’ Fi Murray, Reemsborko’s Max Arguile and Rainbow Productions’ Simon Foulkes for the brands they think would be a great fit for a hotel experience.

Fi MurrayFi Murray, Creative Director, Making Things Studio
Now this might just be because I had a tub of Ben & Jerry’s last night whilst looking for an old campervan to buy, but I’m envisaging a Ben & Jerry’s glamping experience. Think ice cream truck meets converted campervan with a secret fully loaded freezer filled with all the flavours of Ben and Jerry’s – especially the Glampfire Trail Mix flavour!

It could feature Ben & Jerry’s artwork, branded bedding, glam dressing gown and slippers, ice cream pillows, little cacti plants grown in Ben and Jerry’s tubs, a stickered up surfboard and a pull-down movie projector on the outside of the van for that Netflix and chilll’d vibe (another flavour!). Imagine it parked up in a beautiful field or somewhere like Fistral Beach, Newquay. It would be wonderful if the interior was created with upcycled ice cream tubs (card mulch) and to have the van solar powered, electric and running carbon neutral.

Talking Brands, Hotel, Hospitality

Max Arguile, Owner, ReemsborkoMax Arguile, Owner, Reemsborko
Hotels are big business, and while they obviously they took a beating last year when no-one was travelling, it feels like this will change. The appetite for visiting and staying in places outside the confines of your house will surely become stronger than ever. So where will people stay in the new roaring twenties?

The choice of a venues is rarely down to price alone. Even if it is done subconsciously, people vote with their wallets somewhat according to their values, and if a brand aligns with their values, they are more likely to buy that brand and perhaps stay in that hotel.

Hotel Chocolat, actually does have a hotel, but only one, and it is in St Lucia, which makes it fairly unattainable for most people… Perhaps that is the idea?! Looking closer to home, what about Cadburys? CadburyWorld, incredibly, does not have a hotel on site, so why not utilise this beloved brand name to expand into at least one hotel in situ? What chocolate lover could resist?

Another brand that should have a hotel, is one already has a reputation for softness, cleanliness, and fresh fragrances – Lenor Comfort.

My final pick is around entertainment. Live themed events with professional performers are growing in popularity. The Walking Dead has a huge fanbase and being in the middle of a staged zombie break-out is an experience (some) people will pay for. Sherlock has an escape room, Doctor Who has Time Fracture – all of which are theatrical events that enable fans to immerse more fully into their fandom.

For a long time, there was a (totally unauthorised) restaurant in London designed to recreate the experience of a well-known Seventies comedy, with waiting staff doing impersonations of Basil Fawlty, Manuel, Sybil and Polly – arguing with each other, being rude to customers, almost spilling the food and elevating the evening, from a meal, into an experience. So why not take this further and open an actual Fawlty Towers?

Talking Brands, Hotel, Hospitality

Simon Foulkes, Managing Director, Rainbow ProductionsSimon Foulkes, Managing Director, Rainbow Productions
Why hasn’t Tetris Towers been done already?! The instantly recognisable cross-generational brand is all about creating order out of chaos which, let’s face it, is pretty relevant in a post-lockdown C-19 world. After a year where travel has been restricted, families are craving immersive holiday experiences and Tetris Towers would provide the perfect thematic backdrop – or would that be ‘brick-drop’.

You may have heard of ‘The Tetris Effect’, where skills learnt playing the game are translated into everyday life situations. Starting from the moment you leave home – picture smug Dad packing different shaped suitcases into a car-boot with satisfaction that every available cm is used – you are living life in the matrix.

Tetris Towers is for everyone; for those who want to be physically and mentally stimulated or those who want to just be immersed in an inclusive, diverse, challenging and rewarding world. Whilst one parent re-organises the holiday mayhem, the other visits the Tetris Spa & Beauty Salon – featuring products such as the NYX Cosmetics x Tetris collection.

Of course, the little people are kept occupied with Tetris Tumbling soft play and shape-shifting sensory activities. The gaming-gen get to experience life away from a solitary screen and dip into a physical arcade with VR Tetris tournaments and brick-blasting their way out of Escape Rooms. And, with AR Tetris blocks cascading from the ceiling in reception and scanned items in the pool bar coming to life with music, backgrounds, sounds and special effects – you’ll probably spend a lot of time reminiscing about how a game from 1984 is responsible for living out its legacy in the world we inhabit nowadays.

Tetrimino shapes used for Tetris Towers’ architectural effect, rooms designed using Tetris Feng Shui, shops stocking Tetris merchandise and kids’ menus featuring Tetris-shaped nuggets & chips… This is truly an all-inclusive tantalising thematic treat! Oh, and paired with some Tetris costume character meet & greets; I think this presents the winning combo to level-up in the matrix!

Talking Brands, Hotel, Hospitality

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