Special additions to a hotel like customized lighting and artificial intelligence make a property unique and compliment the guest experience—even if guests do not notice them. Ambient scenting is one of these elements—while not visible or often noticeable to guests, an original smell in public hotel spaces creates a customized facet for a brand.
Chris Lorino is a regional director of operators for Provenance Hotels, a management company that uses this technology in common areas. “Ambient scenting is the subtle, pleasant odor our guests smell when inside of our public spaces,” he explains. “The key is properly diffusing the scent so it’s not overwhelming in one location or another. For most of our hotels, the scent system works in conjunction with the mechanical air handlers that serve these spaces.”
These safe-to-breathe scents travel through hotel spaces without burning or heating and are hypoallergenic. Creating a sensory experience for guests can be helpful to cover malodor issues in areas that experience unpleasant aromas, like restrooms and fitness centers, while staying unique to a property.
Roger Bensinger, executive vice president of global commercial sales for Prolitec, a company that makes ambient scents, says, “What a guest experiences with our scenting technology is a noticeable, but not overpowering, consistent smell that literally floats through an interior space. This contrasts with traditional methods such as evaporation or heavy aerosol delivery where the scent changes over time or is too strong close to the source.”
Ambient scenting trends began when hotels started customizing every design element to create public spaces that guests will remember and return to; brands want scents that guests will link to their stay. For independent or boutique hotels in particular, scents can connect visitors to the property’s location. Lorino says, “Within the independent boutique space that Provenance is part of, we allow hotels to create their own sense of place and embrace uniqueness, so each hotel has selected a different scent that is specific to that one locality.”
Like other amenities, the sensory experience should complement the design and décor of a hotel. Available fragrances vary widely, from floral and fresh to woody. Prolitec has developed an evaluation process to consider both the design and ambiance of a property and match a scent with the brand. Bensinger says, “The process of creating a custom scent requires a close, consultative relationship with the client. We work with a team of perfumers and designers to develop the new fragrance, pilot it in the client’s space, and make adjustments as needed.”
Looking ahead to the future of ambient scenting, technology is under development to allow guests to choose scents in guestrooms and suites. Provenance is working with Prolitec to design a platform where guests can choose which scent they want in their room to appeal to every guest and provide a personalized experience.
“For every space, there is a scent objective,” Bensinger explains. “Lobbies are where the first impression is created, and the scent should enhance the company’s branding as well as the guest experience.”
Photo: Hotel Lucia in Portland, Ore. (Managed by Provence Hotels)