Are Custom Scents the Next Big Trend for Luxury Hotels?

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The smell of a place can significantly affect the guest experience.

Luxury hotels continuously seek ways to stand out among the crowd. From one-of-a-kind amenities to decadent dining and spa services, there’s no detail left undiscovered by these properties to appeal to its discerning guests. But one less obvious way they’re doing this is by creating signature scents. In fact, the practice has become so popular hotels might start hiring scent experts to find smells that creating a positive lasting impression.

Hotelier Academy, a company that provides hospitality marketing tips, is partnering with Scent Plus, sensory marketing experts, to come up with solutions for hoteliers to find the right scent for their property. The collaboration will examine things such as “hotel scent marketing and its benefits, ways in which hotels can create their own custom scent, as well as scent marketing applications in specific areas within the hotels,” according to the website. Experts will be available to hotels for specific suggestions.


Courtesy Fendi Private Suites

Smell, once dismissed as the least relevant of the five senses, today, evidence-based studies around scent’s powerful impact on our physical and emotional wellbeing are being released fast and furiously. As studies show that smell registers in our brains first—before sight, sound or touch—more marketers are employing scent to make us spend more time and money, while all kinds of product designers are focusing on scent as they bring new products to market.

With this new insight, restaurants are creating scent-based menus, and luxury hotels, such as the Fendi hotel in Rome, are empowering guests to personalize their room’s aroma from a scent menu. Art installations, such as Jean-Marc Chaillan’s Mood Cloud, are exploring the not too far-fetched concept of melding wellness with big data, using microsensors that measure stress levels and showering calming aromas over stressed-out parts of a city.

As the neuroscience of scent becomes more pervasive in everything we do, it’s no surprise that companies like Hotelier Academy are offering scent marketing services to hotel clients. Perhaps, given the popularity, some will even hire scent experts of their own.