Sense of smell and its effects on casino and hotel ambiences
Imagine the following scenario: You walk into a hotel lobby and indescribably feel just a little more at peace, a little more at home. If the hotel you are walking into is a multinational conglomerate, you may begin to associate that sense of smell with the hotel brand, leading you to feel more comfortable each time you walk into a lobby.
This is by design. For decades, hotels and casinos have intentionally been scenting their facilities in order to evoke positive feelings and create signature smells that are designed to interact with your brain and encourage you to have more positive associations with their brand.
Your nose is an exceptionally powerful organ. As a result of the way our brain operates, your ability to smell things is processed directly by the brain without any conscious thought or analysis. This is why your nose and ability to smell things are capable of eliciting memories and feelings.
Your ability to smell, and its ability to elicit powerful feelings and emotions, has not gone unnoticed by marketers. Available research shows that your nose can be a powerful influencer over consumer behavior, encouraging customers to buy more products, think better of a brand, and stay in a physical location longer.
However, there are two industries in particular that have been impacted by the idea of ambient scenting: Hotels and casinos. Both have done extensive work in creating signature smells and using fragrance diffusion to inspire certain emotions in their customers. Indeed, the entire idea behind scent marketing practically began in hotels and casinos, who first used it to cover up less than pleasant smells.
Scent marketing can be a very powerful tool. Here’s a closer look at how hotels and casinos are using it and what your business can do to take advantage of the science behind smells.
Professional scenting in Hotels
Hotel lobby scenting has become a very important part of work for all hotels. The right professional scent can be a critical part of the overall branding, and that has made the work of creating a positive association with hotel lobby scenting all the more important.
Hotels strive to create a positive ambient scent for many reasons. For decades, hotels have created specific smells in order to accentuate their brand, leading customers to associate that smell with the positive emotions that the hotel in question hopefully evokes. Indeed, smells are often the same across an entire hotel brand, leading someone to feel the same emotions when they walk into a hotel in any part of the world. In this sense, smells can be as important for a brand as their logo or color scheme.
Smells in hotels are typically meant to evoke specific emotions: Peace, comfort, and home. This, of course, is the type of feeling that a hotel is likely looking to generate when someone walks into their establishment. Since smells are effective at generating emotions that are associated with these smells, hotels invest more and more time into creating the right smell that can entice a customer to have more positive feelings about their brand, and thus stay with them longer.
Ambient scenting in Casinos
Casino ambience, like hotel lobby scenting, is created with the use of oils that are mixed and released into a casino’s air ducts. From there, the scent diffuses across the floor of a casino, where it is subtly detected by a patron. Such systems have been around since the early 1990s.
Creating a good scent in a casino can be difficult, but with proper guidance, it can be done. Casinos often take their cues from a location: Smells inside a casino are likely to be pleasant reminders of the local climate, making someone feel more at peace and at home.
Research on smells in casinos has demonstrated just how they can encourage customers to stay longer and spend more money. For example, in a landmark 1992 study, psychiatrist and neurologist Dr. Alan Hirsch found that gamblers spent more than 45% more money when a casino was intentionally filled with a good aroma. In speculating about possible causes, Dr. Hirsch hypothesized that this was the case because the pleasant smells triggered feelings within a person that made them more relaxed and willing to spend more money.
More recent studies came to similar conclusions. A 2010 study found that better smells meant more money spent on slot machines.
Additional examinations have found that casinos will intentionally create a unique, signature smell, one that users are more likely to associate with that casino. If done right, it will evoke pleasant, positive sensations, and have those sensations associated with the smell of a casino. Generally speaking, there are a wide variety of agreeable smells that a casino can use to enhance their brand and make patrons more comfortable.
Scent marketing can be an important part of the overall psychology that goes into casino layouts. Casinos are well known for having bright lights, no clocks, and no windows, with the idea being that all of these factors make someone more likely to stay, gamble, and ultimately spend more money. Creating the right casino ambience is an important part of overall marketing for casinos.
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