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How Hotels Seduce You

March 2009

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8 Days, Angeline Tse

Prior to our meeting with Simon Faure-Field, CEO of Equal Strategy, a company dedicated to creating quality consumer experiences, we assumed hotels played soporific muzak, and smelt of erm, Haze. But sitting in the lobby bar of the Naumi Hotel with Simon, we’re told about the zesty ginger and lime fragrance that’s permeating the air. And now we’re aware of the hip playlist that’s designed to impart a trendy club vibe. All this effort, for us!

“Decades of behavioural research confirm that [aligning sensory appeal with the target customer] forges a deep subconscious preference, forming genuine customer loyalty and a lifetime revenue stream,” says the 38-year-old Briton. Well, maybe not for us then. But this is why his days are spent talking to hotels like Raffles Dubai about their needs, and trawling libraries of over two million music tracks and 350,000 fragrances, just so he can create the prefect sensory experience for their clients. He knows what is aesthetically pleasing – he does, after all, have a degree in interior design, has been doing brand positioning since 1998, and is now the only consultant in the Asia-Pacific who does what he does. He tells us more about the courtship rituals practised by two of his local clients.


Naumi Hotel

Ginger and lime, a refreshing, high arousal citrus scent with an Asian undertone that complements the hotel’s youthful image.

M Hotel

A lovely blend of ginger and lily, reflecting the hotel’s strong Asian values. Apparently, we favour light floral fragrances.


Naumi Hotel

Breezy pop and chill-out music is played in the lounge. “Vocals work well here as it’s boutique-y and intimate,” says Simon. Ambient music is played along hotel corridors to create atmosphere and mask sounds from inside guest rooms.

M Hotel

Purely instrumental music, as the hotel’s business travellers find vocals distracting. At Cafe 2000, Simon has segmented the day into 13 time zones, each with its own playlist. For instance, down-tempo music is played mid-morning when it’s quieter.

What else has Simon done?

Worked with Raffles Dubai to create a unique playlist from a private library not accessible to the public.

Created six scents for the Marriott including ‘vermillion sunrise’ and ‘China rain’. Marriott Singapore smells like ‘calypso green’, a green tea blend of lemon peel, eucalyptus, and mint infused with jasmine and rosebud.

Aligned the telephone on-hold music at Marriott and Westin reservation centres across the region to create a consistent brand experience for callers.

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