On the surface it may seem like a simple concept, but it's the most powerful way to create and enhance exceptional experiences.
That first impression when walking into a hotel environment is so important and smell is the most memorable sense of all our scenes yet has often been overlooked in the past. This is now changing, thanks to ScentAir UK, the global leader of adding more to your customer experience through the power of scent
We interact with the world around us using only our five senses. Truly remarkable experiences include all of them: sight, sound, touch, taste and even smell. Imagine how this relates to the most important and memorable events of your life. What if something was missing from these experiences? In a growing trend, hoteliers are using perfume to enhance their customers’ perception of their stay.
An ambient scent works best when it evokes imagery and can be designed to relate to the location or style of the hotel. Coastal hotels can add a scent evocative of the sea, country hotels a subtle suggestion of honeysuckle or wild flowers. This is pure science working.
Next time you step foot in a luxury hotel, take a minute to consider the many ways your senses are stimulated by the design, lighting, music, and, nowadays, scent. Many luxury hotels are making an effort to draw guests in with specially made scents that are piped into lobbies and common areas to subtly shift guests’ moods.
Perhaps a woodsy, tobacco fragrance would be better suited for a men’s-club type of hotel... where a lighter, floral-citrus blend would work better for an airy garden hotel and spa
Take Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Vdara Hotel & Spa, which lures you into the lobby with a green fig fragrance, while Spa & Salon Vdara fills its air with a pleasant grapefruit odor. The hotel industry is capitalising on smell’s ability to instantly cue memories and conjure up certain emotions, and turning that moment into a branding opportunity.
Most major international hotel chains - including Holiday Inn, Marriott, Sofitel, Le Meridién and The Ritz-Carlton - already diffuse their unique aromas throughout their properties, but smaller brands have started focusing on fragrance as well. In fact, many have taken scent branding a step further and begun selling a hotel’s fragrance in room sprays, scented sticks and even candles.
Science backs up investing in fragrance, which directly accesses the brain’s limbic system, the area that processes memories and emotions, according to Simon Harrop, CEO of Brand Sense, an agency that advises companies on how to reach consumers across all senses. Since scents are shown to evoke particular feelings - like lavender does with relaxation - emotions always are at play when it comes to establishing brand preference, Harrop says. It explains why big-name chains are keen to use signature fragrances.
Hoteliers hope that these scents will make you link their property with positive memories and emotions, as well as establish and market their brand. “Perhaps a woodsy, tobacco fragrance would be better suited for a men’s-club type of hotel furnished with dark woods and leather, where a lighter, floral-citrus blend would work better for an airy garden hotel and spa,” says Jennifer Dublino , COO of Scent Marketing Institute. Those charged with developing Mandarin Oriental’s scent, for example, looked to the name for inspiration and included a note of orange.
There are more than 120 Westin properties, including 30 of the world's finest resorts. Each serves as a serene and distinctive alternative for those who appreciate a higher standard. All of the Westin Hotels & Resorts are architecturally inspiring, thoughtfully designed and located in the world's most exciting cities and sumptuous resort destinations. The addition of a custom developed signature fragrance completes the full sensory approach that Westin takes when greeting their guests.
Strategically positioned at entrances to greet guests as they arrive, ScentWave scent delivery systems from ScentAir UK offer a light and refreshing White Tea welcome in Westin hotels worldwide. Westin has taken the idea of sensory branding and signature scent to a whole new level. They now offer candles, oils and even a home version of the ScentWave system to consumers; all of which deliver their custom-developed White Tea fragrance. “Scent is the most memorable of the senses and we feel scent is an exciting and important part of the guest experience.” comments the Senior vice President of Westin Hotels and Resorts.
Successful scent branding in the hotel industry not only strengthens brand loyalty and produces repeat business, but it also generates additional revenue from the sale fragrance products. W Hotels, L’Hôtel Le Bristol and Hôtel Costes in Paris, and The Langham Hotels all peddle forms of their fragrances.
But Harrop sees even more potential for hoteliers to reach guests’ other senses and define a brand. Places like Vdara Hotel & Spa are catching on. Not only can you pick up an oil diffuser that mimics the sweet-smelling fig scent in Vdara’s lobby, you can re-create a hotel room at home by purchasing its robes, pillows and custom-designed Sealy mattresses.
Famed hotelier Ian Schrager commissioned New York City-based bespoke fragrance creator Le Labo to concoct the Gramercy Park Hotel’s scent. Le Labo founder Fabrice Penot and his partner visited the hotel to begin research and development when construction was still under way. The duo realized the fireplace was a central fixture in the lobby and formulated a scent that combined the smell of wood and hints of leather in a candle.
While signature blends are intended to be one-of-a-kind, many luxury hotels’ fragrances share common notes. Tea and citrus are popular choices and fig is “a very hot trend in fine fragrance,” according to Edward Burke, director of marketing at ScentAir UK, supplier of scents to hotel brands like Westin, Sheraton, Marriott and Shangri-La Hotels. Vanilla, citrus and green tea notes are favorites across both genders, Dublino adds.
How much do you take notice of the smell in your hotel on holiday? Does it change your mood? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @FemaleFirst_UK