Bill Young has been posting photos of hotel carpeting on Instagram since August 2015, but it took his daughter, one tweet, and a few days for the internet to take notice.
“All I Want For Christmas is for my Dad’s hotel carpet instagram to go viral,” very good daughter Jill Young wrote on Twitter. Three days later, her father’s Instagram account went from 125 followers to 266,000 (and counting).
Jill, a college sophomore, was home for Thanksgiving break when she told her father she was going to try to get more followers for his Instagram account, @myhotelcarpet. “I never expected what would happen next,” Bill told Travel + Leisure. “After 2 years of careful cultivation I had 82 followers. I thought I was killing it.”
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After Jill’s tweet gained attention, the account skyrocketed to internet celebrity. Jill is now attempting to get her father a spot on The Ellen Show.
Bill is a corporate pilot who flies business jets for a living. “I travel all over the world and am frequently gone as much as 15 days a month,” he explained. But in addition to his job as a pilot, he also runs a photography business. Bill would bring his camera on layovers and shoot what he saw — including the “very funky and interesting carpets” in his hotels.
“I took photos of a few of the more interesting carpets and added them to my Instagram,” he said. “They didn’t really combine well with the other images I was uploading and my wife Heidi said I should think about making a separate account for hotel carpets. Boom! Two years later here we are.”
Through his photography, Bill said he has noticed one consistent trend in hotel carpeting.
“Even the very high level hotels tend to put a variety of colors and patterns around their properties,” he said. “I’m guessing that the dark, crazy patterns hide dirt in well-trafficked areas.”