Making Design a Multisensory Experience

To further enhance customer experience, hotels have begun to incorporate additional technologies into the design of their spaces, striving to trigger a multisensory impact. Guest approval and satisfaction is attainable by blending all five senses into one gratifying experience. Scott Acton, CEO and founder of Forté Specialty Contractors, integrates a unique technological experience with basic human stipulation, appealing to a younger demographic that he observes “craves interaction and social experiences.”

This sensory trend is based on digital projection technologies. Such technology allows contractors to transform the environment within a hotel using projections without altering physical spaces at all. “By incorporating white spaces, you gain total control over the environment digitally and can use projection to transform areas into completely immersive environments,” Acton explains.

Exploiting the senses of sight and sound is just half of the sensory experience hotels are trying to achieve. It is immersing your guests in all five senses that has become the new way to attract and maintain satisfaction. “While the multisensory concept wasn’t originally as prominent, in recent years it has soared in popularity, and now it’s how hotels entice their guests,” Acton says.

Guests want to explore the five senses, and technology is a gateway for that exploration. “A lot of hotels are implementing screens—instead of simply using a sign saying the hotel spa offers a massage, they will use a screen embedded into a wall in the hotel showing the serenity of the spa with soft music playing and candles burning, drawing the guest in,” Acton says. “In hotels and restaurants, interactive columns are being implemented, which include content-driven screens that evoke different emotions or based on the time of day.”


While Acton credits a large fraction of the multisensory experience to technology, he says there is another factor. “The other part is very primitive—sitting in a chair [before a hotel purchases it], knowing the guest is going to be comfortable, not allowing the selection of a chair to be based on a budget and a look.” Both marketers and consumers are perpetually hunting for the latest technologies, but as Acton notes, they “are looking for technology in a different way. They want the lighting to be a little higher to make it easier to see and read; the music to not be too loud because they can’t hear their friend on the other side of the table.”

Millennials rely on technology, but they are looking for a new approach to the familiar, and these multisensory experiences give younger demographics an entirely new outlook. “If you don’t cover all of the senses in an experience, you risk the customer walking out of venue feeling like they missed something in their experience,” Acton says. “When you see wild and successful places, you see that those spaces capture each of the senses. There’s a balance of who’s coming to your establishment and what kind of environment they want. It’s refining the experiential recipe to meet the needs of the target audience you want to attract.”

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