Father Who Created Viral Hotel Carpet Instagram Feed Visits Marriott Headquarters in Bethesda
Texas corporate pilot and his family helped with new design at Austin hotel
Bill Young, left, and his daughter, Jill Young, center, help Marriott designers pick out a carpet pattern.
Via Marriott International
The road to social media celebrity is carpeted, Bill Young has discovered.
The corporate pilot from Dallas, Texas, is the creator of the Instagram account @myhotelcarpet, which is dedicated entirely to documenting the hotel carpets Young encounters on his travels. Young spent months contentedly putting up his quirky but artistic posts to an audience of fewer than 100.
“After two years of careful cultivation, I had 82 followers. I thought I was killing it,” he said.
But over the holidays, a tweet posted by his daughter went viral and put his account on the map, and he now has more than 650,000 Instagram users following him.
On Wednesday, Young, his wife and his daughter, Jill, paid a visit to the Marriott International headquarters in Bethesda to design a hotel carpet worthy of his feed. The hotel company invited the family into its global design library, where workers set up a mood board with photos from his Instagram feed.
The designers had created several carpet patterns inspired by the pictures and let Bill Young and his family choose the one they liked best. The family then picked the carpet’s colors.
Marriott spokeswoman Brittany Cummings said the company will lay the carpet inside the Aloft Hotel in Austin, Texas, near where Jill is going to college.
“It’s very circular, because dad likes circles,” Jill Young, 19, said of the carpet design.
Bill Young said that to him, the design represents soundwaves, an appropriate motif in a city known for its music scene. Cummings said the hotel will hold a musical performance to debut the carpet.
In the course of his travels as a pilot, Bill Young said he’s racked up 1,775 nights in Marriott hotels, or nearly five years’ worth of overnight stays. He started his carpet Instagram account in 2015 to stay busy during layovers and to share some of the most interesting designs he found.
He said he likes to accompany his photos with amusing captions and inventive hashtags.
For instance, in December, he posted a photo of a Spanish hotel carpet with a circular design.
“This gem was the boldest #hotelcarpet I could find at the fine understated @hotelartsbarcelona. Loved my stay. - - #lookslikeacutapple #cropcircle #thetruthisouthere.”
This gem was the boldest #hotelcarpet I could find at the fine understated @hotelartsbarcelona. Loved my stay. - - #lookslikeacutapple #cropcircle #thetruthisouthere #lovemesomebarcelona #wanttocomebackinthesummer #itscoldbutatleastitswindy #tapasareathing #itwinkedatme @marriotthotels @marriottrewards
Jill Young posted a tweet about her father’s Instagram account after she came home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Her message has been retweeted more than 9,100 times. In the days after the tweet went viral, Bill and Jill Young said reports about the Instagram appeared on CNN, Australian television, Buzzfeed and Popsugar, among other places.
One of Jill's responses on Twitter was from Marriott Rewards, inviting the family to Bethesda: “Hi Bill and Jill! Love that you’re hotel carpet aficionados. Will you collaborate with us on a design for a new hotel? We’d roll out the red carpet for you here at HQ.”
All I Want For Christmas is for my Dad’s hotel carpet instagram to go viral, please help this happen pic.twitter.com/pqCWDglFf9— Jill (@jillisyoung) November 25, 2017
Cummings said Marriott’s global social media command center, M Live, noticed the Jill’s tweet and was able to react quickly to the trending story.
While he feels more pressure now to keep producing content for his followers, Bill Young said commenters online have been pretty nice about the carpet account.
“It’s just crazy fun,” he said.
Bethany Rodgers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.