Air Care Report: P&G Takes on Hotel Smell

Contributed by Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor, Perfumer & Flavorist magazine

The Hampton Inn hotel chain has released traveler survey results that show fragrance expectations are changing, an opportunity Procter & Gamble's Febreze brand recently tackled. The numbers:

  • 86% of respondents feel the scent of fresh air and linens is the best indicator of a hotel room's cleanliness
  • 14% of travelers say cleaning products are more indicative of cleanliness

     Hampton Inn used these results in partnering with Febreze's Linen & Sky brand to "non-scent" (a curious term) more than 145,000 hotel rooms. Of the move, Hampton Hotels senior director of product and service development Kurt Smith said, "We conducted rigorous consumer research and found that travelers just want their hotel room to smell fresh and clean—and not like anything else."
     The Hampton Inn survey provides a broad range of travelers' insights into air care:

  • 76% have noticed a strong scent such as perfume or air freshener during a hotel stay
  • 66% have taken actions up to and including canceling a reservation when a room has had an unpleasant smell

     Consumer preference:

  • 5% of travelers prefer floral scents
  • 70% prefer "just the smell of fresh air and clean linens"
  • 12% enjoy citrus and/or lemon scents
  • 4% enjoy pine scents
  • 4% like musk, tropical or other exotic scents
  • 3% enjoy the scent of fresh baked goods

     Unpleasant scents:

  • 34% of Americans feel that a scented air freshener type smell dominates hotel rooms
  • 23% identify the scent of strong cleaning products
  • 5% feel the scent of hotel rooms is reminiscent of hospitals
  • 2% identify a new car smell in guest quarters

     Worst scents ranked:

  • 60% of survey respondents feel cigarette smoke remnants is the worst scent
  • 14% feel perfume is the worst
  • 14% cited sports equipment
  • 5% say cleaning products
  • 4% say air fresheners
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