As the idea of the transactional hotel recedes, the sensorial, immersive hotel is becoming the key to the future, where all the senses work holistically to deliver a top guest experience – and an authentic way to experience a destination.
Scent plays a part
Fragrance can play a large part in this process. In our study as part of the Ultimate Hotel Experience – see link at bottom – Premium Scenting worked with independent research house Walnut Unlimited and found that leveraging the sense of smell significantly increases guest involvement in experiences by a margin of 38%. In other words, scent amplifies the guest experience and has a huge potential in sensory hotel design. Our results signpost how hotel brands can utilise scent as a highly effective way of establishing a hotel brand, delivering unique guest experiences and communicating the brand story. And as an experiential trigger scent is unparalleled, and particularly powerful in balanced consort with the other senses.
The complex demands of the new guest
The demands of the contemporary guest are varied and complex – so much so that hotels have to remain agile and flexible to keep up with them. Functionality alone is not enough to attract and retain loyal guests. Therefore, hotels are becoming places where the quality of experience, rather than the provision of services, is the most important factor.
The multi-purpose hotel
People stay in hotels for all kinds of reasons: business, pleasure, access to cities and sights. But whatever the reason, hotels are moving away from being considered solely as providers of accommodation, and are becoming places with many purposes. They are hubs where guests can sleep and relax; spaces for social interaction, business, events and experiences. And they are increasingly knitted to their destinations, with local outreach and events. Guests are changing too, demanding greater sensory involvement, friction-less service and experiential inputs – including fragrance – from their stays.
The challenge to hotels
With threats to market share from peer-to-peer networks such as Airbnb and other non-hotel accommodations (NHAs), as well as the greater choice to consumers offered by online brokers such as Trivago, Expedia and Priceline, hotels have been forced to new ways to gain loyalty and repeat visits. Moreover, guests may change their traveller style – even within the same trip. They might be adventurers, traditional travellers on another. Each person presents multiple needs to be met – including their preferred scent.
Seamless guest experiences
The guest experience is in various parts, but they are implementing technology to automate and streamline the entire guest experience from start to finish, from captivating hotel profiles. They want to be personalised, and possibly transformational.
The multi-sensory hotel
Increasingly, businesses want to express their brands over all the senses: vision, hearing, touch, smell and taste. This is especially so for the hotel industry, a consumer experience that carries a high degree of emotional involvement. As a part of this, scent is growing fast.
- Business hotels focus on choosing an acceptable scent that expresses simplicity and professionalism
- Boutique and contemporary hotels might opt for for a fresh, bespoke smell that caters to a younger audience
- Resorts often choose a more natural and sweeter fragrance
- Conference hotels cater to busy crowds therefore opt for a refreshing scent
- A spa will usually carry a relaxing, harmonising fragrance