How to conceptualise, plan and deliver a themed hotel or resort

Building hotel or resort environments can be challenging at the best of times. When working with unique and high concept theming, the challenges can be even more difficult; and when adding family entertainment centres, attractions or water parks to an established resort, the devil is in the detail.
Written by
Daniel Steffe
Published on
02nd July, 2024

Theming is a fantastic way to stand out in the hospitality industry. It offers guests a unique and immersive experience, fostering loyalty and positive word-of-mouth. Here's how we see the journey to conceptualising and delivering a high value themed hotel or resort.

Gardaland Magic Hotel
Gardaland Magic Hotel

  1. Find Your Theme
    • Target Audience: Who are you trying to attract? Families, couples, nature lovers, sci-fi enthusiasts? Understanding your ideal guest is crucial.
    • Market Research: See what themed hotels are successful and what gaps exist. Look at travel trends and demographics in your location.
    • Theme Brainstorming: Consider themes that resonate with the location's history, culture, or natural surroundings.
    • Theme Feasibility: Evaluate the viability of your theme. Can it be delivered authentically within budget constraints? Research costs for theming elements like décor, staff training, and entertainment.

  1. Develop A Unique Experience
    • Cohesive Narrative: Develop a backstory and clear brand positioning for your theme that ties everything together. This will guide design choices and guest experiences.
    • Guest Journey Mapping: Plan every touchpoint of the guest's experience, from arrival to departure. How will the theme be present in the lobby, rooms, restaurants, activities, and staff interactions?
    • Theming Elements: Identify elements that will bring the theme to life. This could include architectural style, interior design, props, soundscapes, staff uniforms, and themed activities.

  2. Build Your Themed Hotel
    • Design Team: Assemble a team with expertise in hospitality design, family entertainment, theming, and build to ensure a cohesive and high-quality execution.
    • Staged Rollout: Consider a phased approach to minimise disruption and allow for adjustments based on guest feedback.
    • Marketing & Branding: Develop a strong brand identity that captures the essence of your theme. Utilise targeted marketing campaigns to reach your ideal guests.
Pico Play Staff Building Themed Elements
Pico Play Staff Building Themed Elements

Although more complicated than traditional hospitality development, a highly themed experience doesn’t have to be unattainable. Some more detailed upfront planning, robust creative thinking and a smooth delivery strategy can provide a clear roadmap for success.


Daniel Steffe

Daniel is a skilled real estate professional who offers over 15 years of experience working with blue-chip companies in Australia, the UK and Asia. He has achieved success by setting bold visions, taking an innovative approach and delivering exceptional results across many different asset classes and locations. He provides strategic insights for new and exciting projects across the hospitality, attractions, retail, living and working sectors.

After completing a Bachelor of Business in Australia, Daniel relocated to London where he spent two and a half years working for Europe’s largest developer, Land Securities, marketing the company’s multi-billion-pound portfolio, creating new brands and executing progressive strategies for a range of now world-renowned projects. He then joined Lendlease after relocating to Singapore, where he spent eight years working across the region in marketing leadership and development roles. He's now using his expertise to support Pico Play's global projects, ensuring they're meticulously planned, backed by solid business cases, and perfectly positioned for success.