Skift Take

In the multisensory world of travel, it's surprising that it's taken so long for luxury operators to realize that appealing to all five senses is quite sensible.

Series: New Luxury

Luxury Travel News

The Skift New Luxury column is our weekly column focused on the business of selling luxury travel, the people and companies creating and selling experiences, emerging trends, and the changing consumer habits around the sector.

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.

For feedback or news tips, reach out via email at [email protected] or tweet me @dailysuitcase.

— Laura Powell, Skift Luxury Editor

5 Looks at Luxury

What Luxe Hospitality Can Learn About Engaging the Senses From a Live-Fire Chef: The state of luxury is evolving and morphing. And the commonality of those who are forging resonant experiences is that they are looking outside of some of the tried-and-true formulas, mining heightened sensory territories that evoke something deeper in guests.

Boutique Hotels Say They Face Unique Challenges Going Plastics-Free: For boutique hotels to cut back on plastics, customers have to demand it — and then cooperate.

Derision Greets Tourism Australia’s New Philausophy Campaign: After a sad South Australia tourism campaign last month, Tourism Australia’s new “philausophy” campaign is just too much to handle for the local media Down Under.

Sykes Cottages Sold for $480 Million in a Bet on Tech-Led Short-Term Rentals: The deal gives a nice return to private equity firm Livingbridge, which bought Sykes in 2015 for about $75 million. What makes Sykes Cottages stand out is that it has fully built almost all of its technology on its own and has almost 80 percent direct bookings. New majority stakeholder Vitruvian is now placing a bet on short-term rentals.

SiteMinder Diversifies Away From Helping Hotels Solely on Room Sales: Tech provider SiteMinder is the latest firm to make it easier for smaller hotels to adopt new tools from other third-party vendors to manage their properties. The trend could give the little guys more weaponry in online sales — and help SiteMinder become more valuable for hotels.


Skift Luxury Editor Laura Powell [[email protected]] curates the New Luxury newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday.

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Tags: luxury

Photo credit: Appealing to all the senses is the driving force behind the design of Singapore's Jewel Changi Airport. Jewel Changi Airport

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