The smell of success

Olfactory designers have a nose for ambiance

Recently, I visited a beautiful Asian-influenced boutique hotel that was artfully appointed with modern furnishings and tasteful décor. While my eye was pleased by the look and feel of the hotel, my nose was dismayed by the stale, Victorianera aroma that enveloped my olfactory senses. As an ambient designer who works with hoteliers, health-care providers and retail and casino managers, I strive to ensure that sensory satisfaction is achieved with all of the senses. Fortunately, innovative companies realize that creating a more memorable and satisfying environment experience demands the use of scenting.

An article in the Journal of the Human-Environmental System reported that "the impact of indoor air quality on the well-being and comfort of a building's occupants are key to creating an environment which increases human performance. Research clearly shows that the addition of olfactory substances to the indoor air can significantly increase the satisfaction rate of building occupants."

There are many reasons to consider the incorporation of scenting into any environment, but here are the top reasons to make the sensory leap:

Eliminating stale, stagnant air quality
We have all visited a space with stagnant and stale air. The absence of a malodor does not mean that indoor air quality cannot be improved. The introduction of scent ambience into an interior space can enhance indoor air quality.

Odor remediation
Stinky situations abound. A casino or smoking floor of a hotel may feature a strong tobacco smell due to the lack of air circulation in the hallways and main meeting areas. Or a top floor of a facility may feature a moldy smell from the humidity caused by the doors to the rooftop. A hotel that accepts pets may feature musky animal smells long after the animal has departed.

The smell of success

Building sensory brand consumer connection
Sensory branding stimulates a consumer's relationship with a brand and cultivates an emotional connection that Incorporating scent from a design perspective can empower an environment, optimizes brand loyalty. In 2006, Omni Hotels & Resorts was a pioneer in offering sensory branding as part of their public space amenities with the use of a green tea and lemongrass-infused scent in their lobbies and cappuccino-and mochacci-no-infused scenting in their Morsels coffee cafes. Today, the hotel has optimal brand scenting in their lobbies, elevator banks, guest corridors and conference rooms. Each Omni property worked to determine its unique scent profile and how each hotel could optimize scent branding.

Some of the Omni hotels also employ a seasonal scent branding program which provides new scents each season, with even a special holiday scent in December. Members of Omni Hotels' Select Guest loyalty program have access to individual scent branding units. A guest who desires a ‘fresh cotton' scent or spa-infused ‘green grass,' for example, can receive on-demand scent branding.

Optimizing life through aromatherapy
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests the essential oils used in aromatherapy (the use of scent and the essential oils of flowers, herbs and trees to promote health and well-being) can promote relaxation, reduce stress, improve alertness and mood and energize the body. The introduction of aromatherapy scent branding can improve the quality of life in health-care settings, spas, hotels and offices as well as promote well-being in residential settings.

I look at the incorporation of scent from a design perspective, not merely as an odor remediation issue. By analyzing the market and looking at senior living residences, ocean-front hotels or smoke-filled casinos, we come up with a scent brand profile that energizes and empowers each environment. Adding a tailored scent to a facility creates a deeper connection with the consumer. A hotel near the ocean, for example, might feature a beach-inspired scent with notes of coconut and lime, and an upscale senior living residence may incorporate lavender or other aromatherapy-infused scents that promote relaxation and harmony.

So no matter the space, indoor or outdoor, contract/hospitality or residential - infuse it with the sweet smell of success.

This article first appeared in Casual Living.

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