NASHVILLE MARKETING BLOG: Insights on strategic branding, marketing management, general business and Nashville marketing topics. By Monica Powers, Vanderbilt MBA and marketing consultant in Nashville, TN.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Hotel Announces Sensory Branding

BrandWeek reports today on Omni Hotels' newly announced "sensory branding" campaign. Omni is determined to make your upcoming stay more pleasant and memorable by placing soothing lavender, lemongrass and tea scents, as well as relaxing music, in your room.

Scents and sounds are no doubt an easy way to soften the often grueling experience of travel. And if a better customer experience is more likely to encourage a return visit, Omni will benefit indirectly from this effort.

Whether this would actually result in better branding for Omni, I'm not so sure. Sensory branding would require me to associate these specific sounds and scents with the Omni name, and I don't believe this is what the hotel chain is after. (Will they create a signature Omni Hotel room fragrance?) Perhaps Omni should call it a "customer experience elevation" campaign instead, and focus on the fundamental traits--such as overall quality of service--that make their hotel brand unique.


Blogger argos said...

Anything to create a PR release I guess. I mean, what have hotels been waiting for? I don't think it's too bad of an idea really. It would be better as a very very subtle surprise. This revealing only makes me anticipate it.

On the other hand, customer sensory elevation to me sounds like selling really good home grown in the gift shop. We wish.

May 26, 2006 9:40 PM

Blogger Mack Collier said...

I think Argos nailed it. Why not simply create a better experience for guests at the hotel, and let them tell others about their pleasant stay at the hotel?

May 27, 2006 9:28 AM

Anonymous Ann Handley said...

In a recent issue of the New Yorker magazine, the Westin ran an ad that was a scent strip soaked in White Tea -- the new fragrance of Westin.

I don't think it's a terrible idea, either, Argos. Branding with the senses is powerful, as William Arruda always says. (In fact, I still buy Aveda's rosemary and mint shampoo simply because it reminds me of a resort I stayed at once one very nice weekend in California...)

Let's hope that the large hotel chains are seeing their new "fragrances" as only the start of creating memorable guest experiences on their properties.

May 31, 2006 10:08 AM

Blogger Monica Powers said...

I know what you mean, Ann---we got hooked on the very same Aveda product at the W Chicago Lakeshore! I'm all for a better service experience. What made the W stay memorable and consistent with their brand, though, was that every piece of the experience fit and created a nice whole. Everything about the W brand was "on" during our visit, not just the scents.

May 31, 2006 10:23 AM


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