Extra Sensory Hospitality to Capture and Keep Your Guest

The Sixth Sense - How to Win by a Nose

By Judith Jackson Founder, Judith Jackson, Inc. | November 27, 2016

The race is on. How can you differentiate your hotel or resort from other attractive, well positioned and advertised properties? All you have to do is bet on the senses of sight, sound, smell, hearing, and touch to keep your property on the inside track. And if your guest offerings include a spa, that could be your sensory triple crown. Science has proven that the human limbic system, located deep in the middle brain, is the seat of memory, learning and emotion. Turn that on and your guest will never forget walking into your lobby and being seduced by the subtle fragrance of sandalwood. Let's explore ways you can have your lobby, amenities, food and spa "kidnap" guests' senses from the moment they step into your sensory haven…and, upon checkout, begin planning their return.

Real estate brokers have long agreed that it is easier to sell a house if the prospective buyer is greeted by a homey smell – perhaps apple pie spices. Once the limbic system is awakened, the buyer is more attentive, less stressed and more likely to fall in love with the property. Can this reaction alert other senses – even that mysterious "sixth sense" which comes from the same deep place as your "gut feeling?" Yes, indeed it can. Read on.

An important consideration when planning to capture your guests by their senses is to understand that no two individuals have the same sensory response. Too little or too much music, fragrance, heat, AC, lighting, decor etc. can have the opposite effect of what your property aims to achieve. A solution to this dilemma is to round up a group of Testers who fit a general profile of your guests – including a child or two. Children are usually outspoken and should be considered if yours is a "family" hotel. Have a trusted member of your staff accompany this sensory safari to listen to comments and to take notes.

Since we are discussing five senses - plus the mysterious sixth in this article- and the limbic system dabbles in emotion and learning as well as smell, did you know that beauty salons and barbers try to flatter their clients with both lighting and mirrors? Having owned and run four spas – three of which had full service salons – I well know the value of light and reflection that takes a few years off the image. Go into your hotel's bathroom and turn on the light over or next to the sink mirror. Do you like what you see? If you want your 50 plus guest – male or female - to return, I suggest you be guided by your own response.

Let us now consider facilities and services offered by your property that would be logical targets for sensory fulfillment. This could increase business and add to your bottom line. In-house would include restaurants, spa, and gym. If you have the grounds or are a resort, you can extend your sensory field – literally.

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