How to package your sensory branding

Appealing to the senses is easier said than done, but what good is it without reinforcement? Lauren Bucherie, director of music at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, said the brand’s music selection can follow guests off-property through a curated Spotify playlist they can access. In addition, staff on property have access to an app that tracks all the music being played so employees can field any questions about the audio ambiance.

“It’s a cool moment to pull up the information and tell a guest who they are listening to,” Bucherie said. “It’s just another moment to connect with guests.”

For Aloft’s live concert series, “Alive at Aloft Hotels,” the company works to ensure a consistent series of acoustic performances take place on property at the WXYZ Bar, something Paige Francis, VP, global brand management, North America and field marketing, Aloft, Element, Four Points at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, said acts as the social anchor of the brand. Aloft also runs the Project: Aloft Star competition to search for new artists and allows guests to follow the process, making them a part of it.


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“Aloft went acoustic because it is a little more intimate, and our hotel is all about connections with guests,” Francis said. “The way we have it set up, the lyrics are front and center and it’s a very closed performance. It’s not overwhelming, and guests have an opportunity to listen to something they haven’t heard before.”

Some brands are offering curated playlists that guests can continue to listen to after their stay has concluded.

Reinforcing branding through other senses, such as scents, is even easier. Trent Freeman, director of operations at the Valencia Group, said the company sells scented candles affixed with the signature smells of its different brands. The candles are left burning in the lobby areas of Valencia properties, making them an easy sell for anyone without a stuffy nose.

“I’m always impressed with the number of guests that request to purchase [the candles],” Freeman said. “The challenging part is finding where else we can incorporate our scent into the property since it is so widely embraced by both guests and our associates.”

“You want your fragrance present at every possible opportunity,” said Allison Shipp, account manager at Air Aroma. “Once designed it’s simple to reformulate [an aroma] for other products. Once you have the base, use that scent in amenities and at any other opportunity.”

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