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The sense of smell, touristic memory


The sense of smell, the most powerful of our senses, which determines the identity of a place and the associated emotion, is an essential aspect of the customer experience. Its use is at the heart of new approaches and trends in the tourism sector. The context of tourism is ideal for developing an olfactive identity or “signature” to communicate with customers from the promotion stage. Duplicating experiences at different stages in the traveller’s journey makes it a major strategic tool.

For several years we have heard talk of ‘olfactory marketing’ and ‘noses’ that develop fragrances to create an atmospherefor shops. The latest technologies and cognitive science have led to the implementation of new forms of olfactory experiments. In the traveller’s journey, the sense of smell can be a strategic tool in the promotional phase for destinations. It is also useful for improving experiences during the journey and afterwards, to work on positive memories and recurrence.


Promoting destinations

As a company that combines cognitive science and experimental marketing, we have had the opportunity to work with several companies promoting tourism in Quebec. For example, we needed to develop notes that inspire joy and discussions and that transport voyagers into the undergrowth as soon as they arrive at reception. Assisted by university researchers and a creative team, we were able to produce the desired point of reference and have a positive effect on behaviour.


Improving the traveller’s experience and journey

In a few seconds, our perception of a place will be influenced by what we can smell. Olfactive story telling (varying fragrances for entertainment) is also emotionally powerful over time, either for events or for other tourist attractions. At another level, an important part of the traveller’s experience involves the journey, where air quality and the olfactory experience must be as pleasant as possible to leave a positive impression. In a study that we carried out, the perception of comfort during a journey could be increased by 28% using comforting odours.


Experimentational technologies

In order to carry out these sensorial experiments, we took the initiative of developing in-house adaptive technologies depending on the radius to be covered, the desired trigger and greater precision in the doses administered. In this manner, we have developed an “Open features” API that can be used to trigger olfactive experiences with connected objects. For example, we are working on a museum project where the trigger will happen in three phases: At a specific distance from the experience, by tone of voice, and touch (manual opening of the object). All with the aim of creating an olfactive story for the visit and plunging the visitor into the emotions of the story being told. It also allows us to act in different modes of transport. We are working with sensors so that the technology can react to certain areas of discomfort for travellers and can improve their well-being and adapt in real-time to their environment. In 2018, we will market out first “immersive tourist kiosk” so that visitors can discover a destination in a fun, interactive and educational way. This kiosk could be in airports, at exhibitions or in receptions to offer a voluntary and digital experience involving all the senses.


59% of Canadians associate an odour with a brand according to experiments

64% of Canadians will stay longer in a place that smells nice

For 70% of Canadians, emotions account for 50% of their decision to buy


After travelling, memories

Several university studies in cognitive sciences have demonstrated different positive impacts from the use of odours and the power of the olfactive memory. It is now possible for brands to capture the moment and to allow travellers to bring back a memory of a place with them. These “leave behinds” are tangible means that allow travellers to relive a moment and to initiate sharing and discussion, and therefore increase recurrence, word of mouth and loyalty building. In real terms, we create derivative environmentally friendly, olfactory products to complete the strategy and to solicit the olfactory memory. As part of a fun game or even by encapsulating the odours of an area, we hope to maintain the connection with a traveller after their journey and solidify the positive memory of their experience.



AUDREY BERNARD - Founder of Stimulation Déjà Vu

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