Scenting enhances the event experience because the sense of smell affects up to 75% of our daily emotions and is deeply connected to enduring memory, says Spence Levy, president of Miami’s Air Essentials, and aroma-branding and scent-application specialist.
Take Westin Hotels & Resorts. If you’ve walked into any one of their worldwide properties since 2006, you’ll surely remember their custom-designed signature White Tea scent. “Our scent, when combined with our lighting and music, evokes an ‘exhale moment’ upon arrival, welcoming our guests into and environment of well-being. It’s a pillar of the Westin brand, and one of my factors driving repeat stays and brand loyalty,” says Brian Povinelli, Westin’s global brand leader.
According to Neal Harris, president and founder of Harris Fragrances and Scentevents in Los Angeles, adding scent is the “4-D of events.” For maximum scent ROI, Dimitri Gailit, director of commercial sales for Vancouver’s Aroma Tech, a scent-branding and scent-distribution company, stresses the importance of looking at the whole marketing strategy. “Scent is a big piece of that puzzle,” says Gailit. “The mood, ambiance, décor, color scheme and music should be properly matched with the scent.”
The cost of this sensory experience? For as little as $100 you can “plug and play a scent,” says Harris. Planners simply buy scent diffusers and scents – or rent the equipment. Either way, infusing scent can actually help stretch the budget; by using scent to support the visual beauty of flowers, arrangements can be physically smaller yet are perceived fuller.
If you’re not convinced, you’re not alone. “Very few event planners have utilized scent, but those who incorporate it will stand out,” says Harris. Bill Pease, owner of Fantasy Island Events in Westminster, California concurs. “Scent technology is so cutting edge, we’ve learned that clients first need to be educated about its potential, and then they need to experience it.”