Cartoon Network is taking experiential marketing to a new level with plans to open a hotel designed to immerse guests in the animated worlds of its shows.
“In the end we’re storytellers, and this is just another degree of that,” said Erik Resnick, SVP, business development and commercial strategy at Turner.
Slated to debut in summer 2019, in Lancaster, Pa., the 165-room Cartoon Network Hotel is currently under construction.
“With just the right mix of technology, design and animation, we’re aiming to bring our characters to life in a way that we haven’t seen done before,” Christina Miller, president, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang, said in a statement. “We can’t wait to be part of many family vacations with the ultimate Cartoon Network experience.”
It will feature a combination of character animation and creative technology around shows such as Adventure Time, We Bare Bears and The Powerpuff Girls. The grounds will include an interactive lobby, resort-style pool and water-play zone, indoor pool, game room, kids’ play area, a retail store, restaurant and outdoor amphitheater with a movie screen, lawn games, fire pits and more.
Cartoon Network partnered with Palace Entertainment, which owns and operates more than 20 amusement parks, water parks and family entertainment centers across the U.S. and Australia, to make it happen.
The foray into the hotel business is a way for Cartoon Network to expand its experiential offerings, said Resnick.
“We want to be in contact with our fans as much as possible,” he said.
While parts of the design are permanent, many elements will be modular so that different installations are easily interchangeable, and future IP can be seamlessly added to the mix for a new experience each time.
“It’s really important that people come here and have an experience they can’t have anywhere else,” said Resnick.
This means it has the potential to become a sort of testing ground for the use of new technology, or offer guests sneak peeks of upcoming shows.
“Could this become an incubator for that type of stuff? Absolutely,” said Resnick.
Geographically, the Pennsylvania location makes sense because it’s within driving distance of major cities such as Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Baltimore and New York, and is a destination in and of itself with Hersheypark and Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park nearby.
“We are thrilled to be part of bringing the Cartoon Network experience to Lancaster, evolving the family hospitality and accommodations industry within the region,” Rolf Paegert, chief operating officer of Palace Entertainment, said in a statement. “The new hotel will enhance the tourism in Lancaster offering several options in hospitality choices for families.”
And while this is Cartoon Network’s first hotel, ideally it won’t be its last.
“In the end, from a business side this is a scalable opportunity,” Resnick said.
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