The pandemic has forced several businesses to flex their creative muscles—the latest is a Blockbuster franchise in Bend, Oregon. Branded as “the world’s last Blockbuster,” the store has survived despite the rise in popularity of streaming platforms because it has laid into a quirky identity that includes ’90s nostalgia. That self-expression is apparent in the store’s latest effort—an Airbnb posting offering up its space up for sleepovers in September.
“When you call dibs on this stay, you’re booking a night back in the ’90s, but this time you won’t have to beg your parents to rent the latest horror flick—we’ll give you the keys to the entire store!” the listing reads for the “End of Summer Sleepover at the Last Blockbuster.”
Blockbuster will open bookings for “socially-distanced movie night” on Aug. 17 to area residents only for possible stays Sept.18 through Sept. 20. The nightly fee of just $4 for up to 4 guests includes face coverings, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. Candy options include Gobstoppers and Laffy Taffy, and popcorn will also be available, according to the ad, which offers a sofa bed and air mattress.
A representative from the Blockbuster store did not immediately return request for comment.
The booking option is a way for the privately owned store—which has been the only operating Blockbuster since 2019 and was recently the subject of a documentary—to build buzz at a time when many consumers are staying home. The Blockbuster location also offers curbside pickup and has bolstered its video library with recent titles.
The listing could also be a good promotion for Airbnb, which, like many hospitality businesses, has struggled during the pandemic. Airbnb Co-founder Brian Chesky recently said the company has lost some $1 billion in bookings due to the coronavirus. The company laid off nearly 2,000 staffers even as it invests in new offerings like virtual experiences. A recent CNBC story says an IPO is planned for this month, however. Several brands have listed various offerings on the platform in recent years, such as Barbie with its Malibu Dreamhouse.
For those consumers outside Bend, Oregon, Blockbuster is also offering movie recommendations from its employees. “Call the store to take advantage of our Callgorithm,” the Airbnb listing reads, noting that a “real human” provides the suggestions.
Evidently, in promotion of the Airbnb listing, Blockbuster revived its Twitter account Tuesday with its first brand tweets since 2014. The brand also responded to an Airbnb tweet asking "you up @blockbuster?"
Since then, many other brands have joined the party. Domino's reminisced about wild nights together back in the day, Xbox just couldn't take the news, Doritos inquired about late payment fees and more.