Our perspective at VantagePoint

The smell of a brand

 width=Our family just returned from a 2-week trip of a number of national parks, including Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Mt. Rushmore, and Rocky Mountain National Park. Except for a couple of nights at the way-cool Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone, most of our lodging was in Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inn hotels. Why? Well, for me it’s pretty simple:

1. The cost is reasonable (although it’s getting more and more expensive — at least $30 more per night than 3 years ago!)

2. You know exactly what you’re getting — and this is where the branding comes in. With very few exceptions, you know precisely what both of these brands represent — what kind of breakfast you’ll get, what kind of sheets will be on the bed, what size the rooms will be, what they’ll say to you at the front desk, what shape the shampoo bottle will be, and even what the showerhead will be like. For a family with kids, that consistency is welcome, because you never have to fear you’ll be in a (visibly, at least) dirty room, or in a scary part of town.

So kudos to both Holiday Inn Express (well, ok, except for one in Ogallala, Nebraska that really deviated from the norm) and Hampton Inn for being true to their brand and thereby keeping loyal customers.

But what was that about the smell in the title of the post, you ask?


Outside a Holiday Inn Express near Dallas

Well, I think Holiday Inn Express has set itself apart on a couple of points, one of which is really, really strong in my opinion: this brand has a smell.

The shampoo, the soap, the conditioner, and the lotion in the bathroom all come from the same scent family. And it struck me on this trip (not sure why I hadn’t figured this out before) that this warm, slightly spicy scent also matches the smell of their trademark cinnamon rolls they serve for breakfast.

That kind of brand consistency goes a long way in my book. When you’re going someplace where you want to be comfortable, it’s comforting (pun intended) to know that you can expect consistency. That Holiday Inn Express has gone so far as to make scent, one of the strongest senses as it relates to memory, part of that brand consistency speaks very highly of how carefully they’ve thought their image through.

May all of our brands smell as nicely.


  • Kalyn says:

    Interesting post! I’ve been reading a lot about this chain in several hotel trades recently; they’re doing some neat things!

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