If luxury hotels want to provide sensual experiences, then they need to focus more on the senses — all five of them.
Indoors, we tend to rely most heavily on two senses — sight and touch (unless we are eating). But some luxury travel marketers are starting to realize that bringing our other senses into the equation can be a big differentiator.
Take sound. A few high-end hotels are creating soundtracks for their public spaces, using music that evokes the property zeitgeist. On the other hand, the lack of audio is becoming a sound principle in places trying to evoke relaxation and transcendence. Le Monastère des Augustines in Québec City, for example, requires guests to eat breakfast in total silence. One of Finland's key tourism themes is Silence, Please.
In the world of wellness, resort spas are adding healing treatments involving sound to their menus. Tibetan singing bowls and gongs, once considered woo-woo in the West, are now making noise in North America. Underwater music therapy is no longer an underground thing.
The sense of smell is also nosing its way into the picture. Aromatherapy is common at spas. Some luxury hotel brands employ signature scents, which often waft through lobbies and elevators — much to the consternation of those of us who are scent-adverse.
Then, too, as Skift recently reported, biophilic design, which focuses on incorporating elements that appeal to all five senses, is a philosophy that hospitality companies are starting to buy into.
In today's lead story, On Experience columnist Colin Nagy highlights live-fire chef Francis Mallmann as an example for luxury operators to be inspired by in making sense of the senses.
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