The Neuromarketing & Sensory Marketing for Hotels

June 1, 2022

Neuromarketing is the search and understanding of a guest's behavior and how their brain works in relation to the 5 senses. The term didn’t appear until the 20’s and it is a concept too little used, especially in France. Nevertheless, it plays an important role regarding how people see the brand. Neuromarketing targets our 5 senses. Each sense has its own way to attract consumers.

The Sense of Sight

The sense of sight inspires attraction, causing the object to stand out and draw attention. We experience this every day in ads, games, logos, etc. 

Sight is a very strong sense because it attracts somatic markers– Antonio Damasio’s theory on this explains how decisions are affected by our past emotions. In other words,  when a past memory, image, brand, logo, event, or any experience triggers specific emotions. Every time someone is confronted with this specific memory, related emotions are felt again.

Think about lighting in hotels. Each lighting arrangement can awaken a different emotion, the white lights in hospitals are very cold, or dim lights in a massage parlor, which are much more pleasant. 

Colors play an important role as well. They are very important in the hospitality world. Blue, for example, inspires purity, truth and wisdom in western countries, while it embodies death in Iran for example. 

Therefore, sight awakens memories, kindles attractiveness, and thus inspires brand affinity and loyalty.

Hearing

Along with the sense of smell, hearing is the only other sense that can trigger emotions without a person’s full attention. Hearing awakens cognitive, affective, and conative parts of the brain. We’ve talked about visual logos, but there are also hearing ones (such as jingles, or slogans,...)

You probably know that music has existed since the dawn of time. Everyone has grown up with music, it is everywhere and can bring very nice memories. Simply put, we’ve evolved to react and respond to music and sound! 

Regarding an EHL’s study, it is the number 1 factor to make guests' experiences better.

Smell

Smell, like hearing, doesn’t require full attention to awaken emotions.

Compared to other senses, smell is very emotion–inspiring. 

It brings up memories which can form someone’s whole opinion about hotel. It enhances someone's perception and experience. 

Some luxury hotels even use smells that adapt to their guests’ taste. 

Touch

Touch is related to quality and trust. Some hotels are now asking interior designers and architects to play with fabrics so that they will arouse their guest’s curiosity.

But above all, touch establishes trust and allows guests to see the hotel's level of quality. In hotels it can be as simple as selecting the right material for towels or bedding.

Taste

Taste’s power is as important as the other senses. It can also trigger emotional memories, and thus influence a guest's hotel perception. 

For example, some hotels have a welcome snack, drink, or amuse bouche when guests check-in. Some of these products may even be made with local ingredients or ingredients from the hotel’s garden. 

These tastes can change and awaken comforting memories that can be associated with a hotel.

Which sense for which hotel?

Neuromarketing has become a top priority for hotels in order to differentiate from competitors.

It creates loyalty in the most subtle and elegant way. 

In luxury hospitality, all 5 senses are stimulated. The most common and important ones are sight, hearing, and touch.  

Some very high end brands give their clients the ability to choose their favorite of 5 smells to have in their room.
Generally, however, the most common sense used is sight, because it is most immediate and hotels are always trying to be modern and practical to differentiate from competitors in an affordable manner– with logos for instance. 

Digital and The 5 Senses

Today with digital’s growth, guests’ sensory experience has entered a new era. 

Some brands offer a virtual tour of a hotel through virtual reality before booking (sight). 

Others offer check-in with facial recognition, to accelerate the process and make the guest’s check-in experience faster, thus better. 

Finally, some hotels use artificial intelligence as their client’s cardex, to perfect the guest's experience.

Key Takeaways

In the end, how can one use sensorial marketing? From our perspective, there are 3 main keys to make it a real added value.

First

Stimulate 5 senses simultaneously in order to make a real impact

Second

Always be aligned with the hotel’s values and image

Third

Optimize both offline and online experience in order to always be curent and on-trend. 

Noémie PEREIRA
Web Project Manager @influencesociety