Popular in theme park attractions, themed scents are expanding into many new markets, including wax museums.
Wax Museum and Theme Park Scents
Madame Tussauds Blackpool is using a scent with its newest wax figure – popular YouTube gamer DanTDM (25 million subscribers). Madame Tussauds commissioned themed scent company AromaPrime to create a fragrance called Eau De Gamer, which is an earthly and grass scent meant to reflect the game Minecraft, one of DanTDM’s favorites to play.
“It’s a lovely smell, and it really helps bring the room to life, creating a fantastic, immersive experience for every guest,” says Stuart Jarman, General Manager at Madame Tussauds Blackpool.
Theme parks like Disney have used scents for decades to enhance guest experiences and memories of those experiences. The parks do it because smells enhance a guest’s emotions and attachment to an attraction.
Scents and Emotions
According to an article titled, “Future Sense: Defining Brands Through Scents,” published in the 2007 issue of Market Leader:
“About 75% of all the emotions we experience on a daily basis are generated by what we smell – not what we see or hear. Our sense of smell is extremely powerful as it acts directly on the limbic system, which controls emotion and memory. A study by the Fragrance Institute showed that, on average, people can recognize around 10,000 odors. We also have a great capacity to remember them: we can recall smells with around a 65% accuracy after a year but our recall of images is a lot lower, at around 50% after only three months. This ability for smells to stay in our memory means we form an emotional attachment to them.”
Importance of Scents in Guest Experiences
Smells are a vital part of a guest’s experience, whether it be at a theme park, museum, hotel, or Madame Tussauds wax museum.
“Our smell receptors are directly connected to the part of the brain which processes memories and emotions,” says Liam R. Findlay, themed scent consultant at AromaPrime. “So this aroma will make the experience of meeting DanTDM incredibly emotive and memorable for fans … even if they don’t realize it.”
AromaPrime has many clients, including Alton Towers Resort. When guests embark on the new Gangsta Granny dark ride, there is a scene that includes cabbage soup. AromaPrime created the cabbage scent for that part of the ride.
As themed experiences expand, one way to enhance a guest’s experience and immersion are through scents. A research analysis by Lena Goldkuhl and Maria Styven titled “Sensing the Scent of Service Success,” states the following as part of its abstract:
“By adding the component of scent to their offerings, service providers have the opportunity to create a competitive advantage. When using scents in services marketing, managers should consider the aspects of presence, pleasantness, congruity and memory of scents.”
Liam R. Findlay tells Theme Park Magazine, “Scent tells stories in real life and in themed environments. It tells you where you are, what time period you’re in, what’s happening in a narrative, whether you need to be happy or scared. Our scent receptors are connected to the part of the brain which processes memories and emotions, so when you sniff something that your mind associates with a fond moment of joy from your past, all those emotions will rush back to you. It’s a brilliant means of triggering very personal responses in guests, and it’s so simple to apply.”
Liam says that AromaPrime sells most of the exact same scents used at theme parks and attractions unless the scent is a custom or exclusive aroma.
Application of Scents in Themed Experiences
Liam tells Theme Park Magazine that there are many applications to the use of scents in attractions:
“The scent could be used to emphasize a story beat, to bring out a certain emotion, to foreshadow something to come, to pass on information that nothing else in the room is able to—some attractions even use smells to manipulate the flow of crowds!”
AromaPrime offers more than 400 scents and scent machines for attractions or to remind guests of experiences where a particular scent was used. The company is based in the U.K. A few of the company’s clients include Alton Towers Resort, Thorpe Park, Sea Life, English Heritage, and the Imperial War Museums. Aromas range from Cut Grass, Tropical Rainforest, and After Rain to Musty, Haunted Manor, and Sea Monster.