Forget the loaf of bread in the oven. Developers are using custom scents to get buyers to warm to a home.
Buying real estate involves weighing a lot of factors: location, price… smell?
Some condo developers are betting that the best way to a buyer’s heart is through the nose. The latest sales tools are signature scents designed to enhance a buyer’s or renter’s impression of a building.
Signature scents are the latest amenity that real-estate developers have borrowed from the hotel industry—after in-house spas, concierges and valet parking. In 2006, Westin became one of the first major brands to create a signature scent when it introduced its White Tea aroma. It now features the scent at all its locations world-wide, so that a hotel lobby at the Westin Chicago O’Hare smells the same as one in Shanghai. Retail stores, such as Hugo Boss, also have used custom scents designed to keep shoppers in their stores longer.
Ed Burke, director of marketing for ScentAir, one of the world’s largest scenting companies, says residential buildings were the fastest-growing segment for the company in 2012. The company also sells scents for hospitals (calming smells or whimsical notes such as cotton candy for children’s wings) and amusement parks (often robust scents like cinnamon and woodsy smells), as well as casinos and hotels. With a 3,000-scent library, the company tabulates everything from a building’s color palate and finishes to demographics and piped-in music when presenting developers with potential scents that will fit their projects.
To make sure buyers remember the building’s pleasant smell, the fragrance travels home with them in scented sales materials and invitations to an opening party.
“When you smell something beautiful it’s part of your whole first impression.”