Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Smell your way to success!

by C R Brumfield

New science shows that highly emotional experiences can be “tattooed” into a patron’s mind with the introduction of branded signature scent, and then replicated at a later point and time – specifically at the point of sale. Amusement park and entertainment venue operators are in a prime position to profit from this latest research.

Much of the studies about tell us what many of us already know. When we smell certain scents from our past, we relive that experience through a series of vivid mental pictures and emotions – all stored within the right brain’s “emotional centre.” Scents are the key to recording and imprinting exciting and memorable experiences.

Science now proves, however, that the sense of smell triggers memories and emotions much stronger and more vividly than sight or sound, and can induce a patterned physiological response by stimulating endorphins or adrenaline in the consumer.

As a result, themed attractions and rides are exceptional vehicles for an emerging trend in marketing called “endorphin branding” – the use of scent as a means of imprinting a positive emotional experience in tandem with a targeted signature scent.

By releasing a targeted scent during the most exciting points of a ride, show or any other exciting experience, attractions can benefit by later reintroducing the scent at the point-of-purchase. This “trigger” scent can increase sales as well as strengthen brand loyalty for the sponsor and the venue.

Consumer research from around the globe shows impressive return on investment from scent marketing, including some scents that can double receipts for concession sales and almost double merchandise sales. Strategically placed directional food scent delivery can help increase revenues in popcorn, pizza, ice cream, coffee, candy and many other impulse foods.

The Walt Disney Company has been incorporating scent into its themed environments and marketing programmes for decades. Not only does Disney use scents to help tell the story of an attraction, it has also been using food enhancement scents for decades.

When Disneyland opened in 1955, Walt added a vanilla scent outside the Candy Palace when they weren’t making candy. “The faint smell was intended to enhance the feeling that you were on the main street of a real, small town in America,” notes Imagineer Eric Jacobson.

Targeted scents are now being used as a communication tool by many blue chip advertisers and marketers, including big brands like Sony, Samsung, Lexus, General Motors, Westin, Nike and Reebok, with scores more jumping on board.

As researchers continue to study the affect of scent on the consumer, we’ll continue to increase our understanding of how can use it to our benefit. When we smell, we feel, and this ancient, persuasive sense can be used to improve and make a lasting imprint on the guest’s experience and memory, while increasing your bottom line.

C Russell Brumfield is the author of Whiff! The Revolution of Scent Communication in the Information Age.

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