After a trip, certain aromas can evoke nostalgic feelings, transporting travellers back to their destinations even months or years later. Hotels have recognised the significance of this phenomenon and are using it to their advantage.

By employing signature scents, hotels can shape the mood, foster cherished memories, and leave a lasting impression on their guests.

Researchers have found that smell is intricately connected to memory and emotions. The olfactory system directly links the nose and olfactory bulb to memory and emotion centres in the brain.

Jennifer Newson, a neuroscience consultant, emphasises that scents can influence us subconsciously, leading to pleasant environments and anchoring specific places and times in our minds.

Creating signature scents: a complex task

Developing a signature scent for hotels is no easy feat. Olfactory branding agencies such as 12.29 Scent work closely with hotels to craft scents that convey comfort, safety, inspiration or relaxation.

Factors such as the hotel’s ambiance, location and target audience play a pivotal role in the process.

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Hotels such as Presidio Lodging in San Francisco have engaged in this endeavour, aiming to encapsulate their unique location while ensuring a memorable experience for their guests.

Scent as a defining characteristic

Hotels, from individual properties to entire chains, are leveraging scent to create a consistent and immersive sensory experience for guests.

Edition Hotels has adopted a custom black tea scent by Le Labo, which is now synonymous with its worldwide properties, setting an elevated tone for its brand.

The Bellagio in Las Vegas designed its signature scent of bergamot, orange blossom, clove and sandalwood to evoke elegant and beautiful memories for guests.

Aromatic memories and personal mementos

While signature scents can create powerful memories, they can also elicit varying reactions from travellers. Some may find the fragrances comforting and evocative, while others with allergies or sensitivities might prefer scent-free environments.

Nevertheless, hotels are capitalising on the potential of scents not only to enhance guests’ experiences during their stay but also to extend the memory of their visit through aromatic products available for purchase, such as candles, diffusers and scent sticks.

As guests leave these establishments, the signature scents linger, bringing back fond memories of their unique and delightful experiences.