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Game Company Atari To Open 8 Hotels In The U.S.

Entertainment company Atari has inked a deal with real estate developer True North Studio and GSD Group, an IT specialist, to develop eight Atari-branded hotels in the United States.

The first of the properties will break ground in Phoenix later this year.


Among other experiential features, the hotels will focus on video games, especially the Atari brand. Each property will include an esports studio and an Atari gaming area, besides more conventional coworking spaces, meeting and event rooms, and food and beverage offerings. They will also each feature a movie theater and a gym.

The first Atari property will be in Phoenix, close to the Woz U campus, which was founded by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Woz U offers technical training in software development, data science and cybersecurity, offering an education-as-a-service model as an alternative to four-year degree programs.

The other Atari hotels will be in Austin, Texas, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Jose, California, and Seattle, though specific locations haven't been announced yet. The properties will target both leisure and business travelers, according to True North Studio and GSD Group.

Atari, which has considerable name recognition as an entertainment company, with more than 200 games and franchises to its name, is the latest player to jump into experiential hospitality. The hotel industry — including long-establish names — has jumped on that particular bandwagon with considerable gusto, chasing millennials and others who value experience as an important part of their consumer spending.

“If you study the growth over the past 15 years, the spend on experiences has outpaced things by roughly three times. That’s only going to continue to perpetuate,” Witkoff Development Executive Vice President Alex Witkoff said at Bisnow’s Hospitality Investment, Development & Management Summit earlier in January.

A specialty niche like Atari is no new thing in hospitality. Other examples include the Margaritaville chain, featuring resort hotels based on the music of pop singer Jimmy Buffett, and the West Elm Hotels chain based on an upscale furniture brand. InterContinental Hotels Group has EVEN Hotel, a wellness and health-conscious hotel brand.

On the whole, the hotel industry can probably afford to experiment with new kinds of properties, since growth was robust during the 2010s. 

In 2019, the U.S. hotel industry enjoyed record-breaking performance, according to STR, with the highest average daily rate and revenue per available room ever recorded. For the entire industry, RevPAR grew 0.9% in 2019 compared with the previous year, while ADR was up 1% year-over-year, STR reports, though the company also noted that those growth rates were slower than during any year since the end of the recession.