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The Smell Of Success

Hotels Increasingly Turn To Scent Branding To Improve Guest Experience

Thursday, September 07, 2017
Steve Pike
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Hotel experiences involve primarily the sight and sound senses, but many hotels and resorts are now using custom scent branding to incorporate the sense of smell into the guest experience. Many consider smell the most powerful and emotional of the senses. A pleasant, clean scent throughout a hotel property, particularly in the lobby area, is a great first impression for guests to begin their hotel/resort experiences. It can help create brand awareness and be instrumental in gaining repeat business.

“In my opinion, and in our case, I feel scenting is very important to the guest’s overall experience—whether they know it or not,” said Bobbie Jo Herman, owner of Caryonah Hunting Lodge in Crossville, TN. “Our property is a luxury hunting lodge, so we didn’t want guests to realize we had a scent flowing. We wanted them to have an emotional connection to our property but more on a subconscious level.”

Herman worked with Boca Raton, FL-based Aroma360 over the course of two months to develop a scent that would perfectly fit the property. Aroma360 is one of a handful of companies that provide “scenting solutions” to high-end hotels and resorts, including Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons flagged properties.

“Our clients are mostly male, so when thinking about what scent we wanted for our brand we knew we wanted to start with a masculine and woody base,” Herman said. “However, we didn’t want to forget about the ladies that visit as well, so we decided to add notes that gave it a calming and luxurious side.” The Atlantis Hotel and Casino on Paradise Island recently signed Aroma360 as its official scent provider. Atlantis’ signature scent, “Skyfall,” is a smooth citrus that is an homage to the James Bond film “Thunderball,” shot at the resort several years ago.

“Atlantis’ aroma scent creates a sense of place for our guests while visiting the resort,” said Stuart Bowe, SVP of Atlantis. “When picking a scent for the resort, we considered many different samples with various blends and smells. We focused on a more natural subtle aroma that speaks to our island destination. We wanted to create an emotional connection for our guests and provide a memorable impression. You might not notice the scent at first, but slowly you know it is there.”

The scent, Bowe said, is different only in The Cove and Mandara Spa Atlantis, each of which have their own “signature” scents.

At the Sonesta Coconut Grove Miami, guests immediately are met a Green Tea scent, now known as the “Sonesta Scent.” Sonesta Coconut Grove Miami was the first to offer this scent and then it became available at all Sonesta hotels in the U.S. It is distributed via a diffuser in the lobby and other public spaces. Guests can purchase the scented candle at the front desk.

SLS Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas features a signature scent throughout the property that includes hints of peach, apricot and pear.

Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles Beach, FL, uses a “Pink Grapefruit” scent that is distributed throughout the resort’s public areas via the air conditioning duct system.
“The fruit is indigenous to Florida and was the top pick from our executives and owners,” said Jim Monastra, the resort’s director of marketing.

The Mandarin Oriental, Miami hotel features what it calls a “Nitraj” fragrance that it’s used since it opened, primarily in the Spa area.
“The scent fit well with the Spa environment, with a nice balanced aroma, which carries well through all areas of the Spa facilities and was of a very good quality,” said hotel manager Robert Lowe.

Nitraj is distributed throughout the public areas via incense box burners and discreetly placed in different areas where guests often pass through.
“The fragrance enhances the guest experience because it creates a sense of connection and continuity in their overall experience. It allows the guest to feel a sense of place and familiarity as well as providing a nice aroma to their environment,” Lowe said.

Steve Pike
Hotel Interactive® Editorial Division

Bio: Steve Pike is an award-winning golf writer and author who helped define golf business reporting in the early 1990s as the first Golf Business Editor for Golfweek magazine and later at Golf World and Golf Shop Operations magazines for Golf Digest. Pike further pioneered this genre at the PGA of America and Time Warner as the golf business writer and editor for PGA.com. He started in newspapers more than ...
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