Forbes conducted a study reporting that 86% of people expect to spend more on travel in 2022. With more people vaccinated and ready to hit the skies, airports are gearing up to enhance the travel experience. Some airports are turning to ambient scent to do just that.
We sat down with Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), recently rated as the Best Airport in North America, to explore how an industry-leader employs scent to create the reassuring feeling of clean and enhance their travelers’ experience.
SEA Makes Waves
High-traffic areas represent key challenges for airports. Constant use can create stubborn unwanted odors that defy the perception of safe cleanliness. Scent can solve these issues.
According to renowned scent designer, Raymond Matts, “A scent can possess the ability to be comforting, helping to ease the tension of an experience.”
SEA employs scent to achieve this comforting effect in their busiest restrooms and pet relief areas using the Genie diffusion system, by leading commercial scent provider, Prolitec, Inc. The technology incorporates proprietary molecules that target malodors and odor-causing bacteria.
For those that have never had the opportunity to experience the subtle scents SEA offers, it can be described in one word – crisp.
Genie’s “Tidal Wave” fragrance creates the crisp feel with a lively fusion of zesty orange and bright greens, sprinkled with subtle hints of white flowers and lily of the valley. For the trained noses out there, one might catch the soft notes of sandalwood and musk that add dimension and richness to the experience.
The Scent Journey Takes Flight
In a 2020 article published in Tacoma, WA’s local paper, The News Tribune, Bruce Kendall, president and CEO of the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County, said that traveler experience is a stand-out success for SEA.
“At the end of the day, what’s most important about the airport experience is how quickly and safely one gets to the airport, through the airport, and out of the airport,” Kendall said. “That’s the real proof in the whole branding and customer service effort. It’s encouraging to see them take the customer service experience as the core of what they’re trying to do.”
And Skytrax agrees! In July of 2022, the international air transport rating organization named SEA as the “Best Airport in North America.”
According to Valentine Smith, C.M Manager, Custodial Services at Port of Seattle, scent contributes a lot to the successful travel experience: “Focusing on cleanliness and creating pleasantly scented areas is part of how we create an elevated passenger experience here at SEA.”
Setting an Example for the Industry
As the pandemic continues to be a part of our everyday lives, the airport industry is working to make travelers feel safe, turning to scent to help create a sense of wellness and a reassuring sense of clean.
As SEA’s Valentine Smith sums it up:
“Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is committed to the safety and well-being of our passengers. This includes a deep emphasis on cleanliness to protect the health of those working and traveling during the pandemic. Ambient scent can positively impact the traveler experience, which is why we diffuse refreshing scents in our high traffic areas.”