How to improve your guest experience through their senses

As a hotelier, taking advantage of our 5 senses can be a powerful way to enhance your guest experience, but the ways you do this must work harmoniously with each other and your brand.

The world’s biggest brands, like the Hilton and Holiday Inn, have been utilising them in their marketing and design for decades. It might not seem like an easy task for smaller hotel brands, but we’ve gathered a few great tips to consider if you want to maximise your guest experience, and increase their satisfaction and loyalty to you.

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1. Use colours to influence your guests’ moods

Colour is a simple thing for hotels to utilise. It can affect guests’ mood and the perceived size of a room.

Use cool colours and lighter shades to make a room feel more spacious! They also make your guests feel more relaxed, so use it in the bedrooms and bathrooms. 

Want a more stimulating effect? Warm colours and darker shades make a room feel cosier and more intimate, and are perfect for rooms with more activity like the restaurant or bar.

Find a balance. The Best Western Royal Clifton Hotel & Spa are using a warm and dulled pink shade to create a cosy atmosphere in their redesigned rooms, but the dulled shade means it’s not too stimulating.

Ambie Andaz hotel music

Consider both the ‘temperature’ and brightness of a colour. A difference of a few shades could have a significant effect on your guest experience.

2. Use a signature scent to make your hotel more memorable

Scent is one of the more neglected elements when designing a space, but can have powerful impacts on behaviour.

An experiment conducted in South Korea found that diffusing the smell of coffee on municipal buses led to a 16% increase in visits to Dunkin Donut outlets near bus stops, and a 29% increase in their sales. Given that scent is processed in the region of the brain associated to emotions and memory, more businesses should take advantage of this to make sure their guest experience is memorable.

Intercontinental Hotels have four signature scents for different seasons of the year. During winter they use a cranberry, apple and marmalade scent to mimic warm and wintery smells.

Holiday Inn uses just one scent to set the tone in all properties worldwide. The consistency is useful for creating a distinct and recognisable brand.

There are several good options for companies that can help you with scenting your hotel with signature aromas.

As a side-note, Facebook data shows that 18-to-34-year-olds are 2.5 more likely to return if they feel your space is clean. So it should smell clean (not the chemical cleaning product smell, though)!

3. Use local flavours to win over your guests’ hearts

Consider that your traveller guests likely want to taste local flavours of the place they’re visiting. Vice President of Hilton Worldwide’s Food and Beverage says “guests want to eat local and they should be able to do that right inside their hotel”. Hotels like Hilton, Intercontinental, and Four Seasons are some that have started sourcing their food locally for these reasons.

Local foods will not only help tell a story of your hotel’s surroundings, but the time of year too. Earthy root veg during winter, and fresh fruits in the summer. When there is an abundance of a crop at a particular time of year, it will also be much cheaper for you to source!

Doubletree by Hilton offers warm chocolate chip cookies to every guest upon check in. This is a simple but surely effective way to win over the hearts of their guests. Come up with a signature edible offering to make your hotel memorable.

4. Use comfortable materials for the most tactile experiences

It is important to consider carefully the materials of items in your hotel like bed linen, towel, and seats in the lobby and restaurants. Here are a few tips:

Want to create a more luxurious experience? Materials like velvet, leather and satin are often associated to luxury, so incorporate it into the decor. Be careful though – leather seats may generally be easier to wipe down than fabrics, but are less stain resistant over long periods of continuous use. You don’t want your guests sitting on stained furniture to taint their experience.

Your guests will spend most of their visit to your hotel in bed, so how can you make them as comfortable as possible? When it comes to bedding, 81% of people prefer their sheets to be made of cotton and cotton blends, while only 2% prefer linen, and only 3% prefer silk. No need for ‘luxury’ materials here. Comfort is the priority when it comes to the most tactile experiences.

Don’t forget about air temperature! Different temperatures will elicit different moods.

Cooler temperatures make a person alert and active – perfect for the gym or the cocktail bar

 Hot temperatures make us feel relaxed so keep things on the warmer side in the spa

– The ideal temperature tends to be around 25℃ for optimal comfort

Remember that temperature will feel different to everyone, so make sure you allow your guests to adjust the temperature in their individual rooms.

5. Use music that matches your brand and customers to increase sales

For too long have hotel brands simply chosen generic tracks or repeated the same cycle of CD albums to fill the silence. Hoteliers need to carefully consider their music, especially because hotels will typically have multiple zones with very different purposes and atmospheres.

Music in the spa should not be the same as in the cocktail bar.

The volumes in these areas should be different too. It was found that loud music in bars make customers drink more, but loud music in a spa would probably not elicit such positive returns.

Your soundtrack should vary throughout the day and week. The music in the dining room during a relaxing breakfast wouldn’t be appropriate for a lively dinner-time.

– Consider your guests’ demographic and their tastes because 72% of customers are more likely to visit again if they liked the music.

Music is challenging for hoteliers to manage because music tastes are constantly changing. It demands a level of expertise, which you can find in music-solution companies devoted to curating the perfect soundtrack for your brand using smart technology.

This is exactly what Ambie does. Hoteliers can focus on all the other important priorities demanding their attention while experts take care of the music. Find out how Ambie’s music solution can help you boost your business and enhance guest experience.


It is clear that all of these sensory elements cannot be considered in isolation; they must all come together to make a cohesive branding strategy that can optimise and enhance your guests’ experience.

Request a free sampler with Ambie today to find out how we can help you build your brand and improve your guest experience.

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