The holy grail for most theme park operators is getting guests to stay in an on-site hotel. The longer they are in the area, the more time they tend to spend in the parks which boosts the sales of merchandise, food and beverage. They usually have the highest profit margins so on-site hotels have a magic touch. However, it takes more than the wave of a wand to get them off the ground.
The challenge was picked up by Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo (WATG), a renowned firm of architects which was also behind the design of extravagant resorts such as Atlantis in Dubai, Caesars Palace, the Palace of the Lost City in South Africa’s Sun City as well as numerous Mandarin Oriental, Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and Fairmont properties.
WATG has an enviable success rate and it is down to a magic formula. Its senior vice president Tom Fo says there are three rules to follow when designing a themed hotel:
1. Tell a consistent story. Be consistent with theme, the materials, details and the storyline both inside and out.
2. Know your customer, their expectations, and how to exceed their expectations.
3. Do your homework. Research and study the theme that you are doing so that it is accurate and believable.