I have to say, generally speaking I’m a fan. I’m a fan of hotels that set themselves apart from the standard cookie cutter properties. There are varying levels of themed hotels, however, and not every theme is a match for every customer.
Consider the first level of theming a hotel property, is infusing local culture, décor, and flavor into the physical product. Using indigenous materials or colors in Santa Fe, for example, or only local foods in the restaurant on premises, is an easy way to elevate the interest level of a hotel. Many travelers actually want to feel like they’ve left home when they are on the road. These types of accents are not generally the kind that might preclude a hotel from being considered.
Hotels should consider that some themes do infringe on their ability to close on all types of business. For example, a lot of customers, right or wrong, associate Disney properties with being juvenile even though some of these properties have a tremendous product and service reputation. Some Las Vegas hotels, dripping in glitz and glamour, sometimes exude too much fun, and a lot of customer, right or wrong, feel as though business can’t be conducted there. And finally, some hotels have chosen to sultrify (not actually a word) their décor so that it’s unclear where the hotel product ends and the nightclub product begins. This is a dangerous road because a lot of customers, right or wrong, don’t want to take responsibility for if and when their supervisor blushes.