A turquoise neon hotel sign for an article about interactive themed hospitality and travel experiences

INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES

Researching interactive, multi-sensory products and services is a passion and Trendincite has researched this inspiring theme several times in the past 12 years. Looking back, here’s the past articles on the matter: Olfactive Innovation, Alternative Scent ApplicationsSensational Technology ContinuesHigh-Tech Sensory ConceptsSensory SensationsMulti-Sensory Experiences, Multi-Sensorial Products – You Fill Up My Senses, and Multi-Sensory Technology – Sensory Overload. Interactive experiences is the latest force driving innovation.

In today’s experiential economy, brands continue to find ways to engage and maintain consumers and consumers continue to search for interactive experiences with products and services. According to EventMarketer, 65% of brands say that events and experiential programs are directly related to sales while 77% of marketers use experiential marketing as a core part of their advertising strategy, according to EventTrack.

Innovation abounds and unique new interactive products, services and experiences do not disappoint. Experiential overnight stays, fast food-scented products and unexpected scent applications are the latest marketing ploys to capture consumers’ attention.

Interactive Stay: The travel and hospitality industry is vying for consumers’ attention. In response hotels, Airbnbs, and food brands are launching interactive themed experiences.

Nostalgic, fun, childhood themes are popular interactive experiences. In the fall, FAO Schwarz and Conrad New York Midtown partnered on an exclusive FAO Schwarz Holiday Suite. The 1,800-square-foot one-bedroom suite is jam-packed with iconic children’s toys such as train sets, hobby horses, stuffed animals, toy soldiers, DJ turntables, musical instruments, vintage Barbies, candy baskets and the brand’s legendary dance-on piano, which are all for sale. For the month of December, New York City’s Club Wyndham Midtown 45 created a Buddy the Elf-Inspired Suite. The one-bedroom is adorned with hundreds of paper snowflakes, a life-size toy soldier, and popcorn garlands. In addition, the room features a fully-equipped kitchen stocked with spaghetti, marshmallows, chocolate sauce, Pop-Tarts, cookie dough, M&Ms, and soda to emulate Buddy’s favorite foods. In October, for those on the West Coast, Airbnb featured a Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse in honor of the fashion doll’s 60th anniversary. The three-story Dreamhouse was only available for a two-night-stay and in Barbie fashion, the house was accented with pink throughout and had a two-story waterslide that lead to an infinity pool. In addition, the house included a movie theater and a walk-in closet filled with outfits that catalogued Barbie’s various careers. Guests had the opportunity to fence with Olympic fencing medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad on the rooftop or cook a meal with local chef Gina Clarke-Helm using Barbie’s signature pink appliances. Part of the proceeds were donated to The Barbie Dream Gap Project GoFundMe initiative for young girls. Also in October, for a limited time, Hotels.com released the Lisa Frank Flat in downtown Los Angeles. The artist’s bright colored and whimsical designs came to life in the penthouse with a light-up canopy bed, colorful murals, a candy counter, a cabinet filled with stuffed animals, and plush robes.

In October, IHOP announced the opening of the world’s tiniest IHOP restaurant in Los Angeles, through a collaboration with A&E’s “Tiny House Nation.” The tiny restaurant is 170 square feet and showcases a secret compartment of maple syrup with extra supplies stored under the table. Interested guests had to be part of the MyHop program and reservations were made through Yelp for a complimentary dinner between December 12 through December 15, 2019. In celebration of the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel’s 50th anniversary in September, the DoubleTree by Hilton Phuket Banthai Resort in Thailand launched a Cookie Suite Experiential Package until the end of December. The yummy package comes with exclusive benefits including Customized Cookie Bathrobes, Cookie-Scented Candles, Body Scrub Bath Amenities, and Beach Kits with Cookie-Designed Beach Umbrellas. The Cookie-Themed King Deluxe Suite even features a dedicated cookie bar in the living room, filled with freshly-baked cookies. Hotella Nutella is a Nutella-themed hotel launching in Napa Valley the weekend of January 10-12, 2020. The three-day and two-night stay at the hotel was part of a contest where three lucky winners had to submit an original 60 second video that showcased their “passion for Nutella at breakfast.” The pop-up hotel highlights croissant and Nutella-shaped pillows, wallpaper with Nutella jars and the brand’s iconic red, brown, and white color scheme. Guests will be treated to a variety of immersive experiences such as the “Nutella Breakfast Dinner” hosted by chef Geoffrey Zakarian, a “Savory Soul Food Brunch” with Top Chef contestant Tanya Holland and a Pancake Art Session with Dancakes.

Fast Foods Make Scents: Competition is fierce and fast food restaurants are continually looking for creative ways to engage consumers. The latest activity is being driven by savory, fast food-scented products such as candles and wrapping paper.

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is notorious for odd scented products based on the brand’s 11 Herbs & Spices such as a Firelog and a Bath Bomb. At the beginning of the year in the UK, KFC launched a limited-edition Gravy-Scented Candle. In October, in the U.S., KFC launched a “Seasoned Tickets” $75 package to promote KFC’s new Kentucky Fried Wings. Exclusively sold on StubHub.com/KFC, the Fried Chicken-Scented Seasoned Tickets were available for purchase for 500 customers to receive 48 made-to-order Kentucky Fried Wings delivered each week over a 10-week period. The lucky customers can redeem their wings from Nov. 7 through Jan. 15, 2020.

For the holidays, in exchange for a recipe with Jimmy Dean products, Jimmy Dean offered customers a variety of Jimmy Dean Sausage-Themed Holiday Items such as Sausage-Scented Wrapping Paper, Sweet ‘N Savory Lip Balm, and Sausage Candy Canes. Taco Bell Canada re-released the brand’s limited-edition Crunchwrapping Paper designed to look like Crunchwrap ingredients such as ground beef, nacho cheese sauce, a tostada shell, a soft tortilla, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. However, this year the brand added a scent to the wrapping paper, which now smells and looks like a Triple Double Crunchwrap. As part of Chili’s latest delivery promotion, customers had a chance to win a Baby Back Ribs-Scented Candle. For those who shared their experience and uploaded a photo of their delivered meals on social media and tagged Chili’s, they were eligible for a “starter pack,” which contained the Baby Back Ribs-Scented Candle as well as a Doormat, TV Tray, Trivia Card Game, and a Chip Bag Clip. Qdoba Mexican Eats released a limited-edition Queso Candle, inspired by the brand’s three-cheese queso.

In December, UK frozen food company Birds Eye, best known for its fish fingers, introduced AHOY! by Captain Birds Eye, a new fragrance for men. The fragrance was inspired by the “hypnotic and evocative power of the high seas” and “is an aromatic scent reminiscent of a fresh ocean breeze, bursting with top notes of zingy grapefruit, sweet mandarin, and intoxicating patchouli.” The limited-edition bottles were available through a Facebook competition. For those customers eating too much fast food and experiencing gas, there’s Flatu-Scents, a novel new Internal Deodorant product. Manufactured by Westlake Village, “Flatu-Scents is a natural, vegan supplement that helps to neutralize and reduce the intensity of gas and its associated odors with a light and pleasant rose scent.”

Unexpected Scent Applications: Brands are experimenting with new fragrance applications in unexpected products ranging from perfumed pencils to scented clothes and accessories to scented stamps.

Chanel Chance launched four Perfume Pencils with retractable tips, for a soft skin application, packaged in a travel case reminiscent of a pencil box. The four perfumes available are Chance, Eau Fraîche, Eau Tendre, and Eau Vive. Diptyque introduced a line of Prêts-à-Parfumer (Fragrant Objects), which slowly release fragrance throughout the day. The fragrant objects include a Bracelet, a Brooch, and Skin Stickers, each of which come in three fragrance options. The Skin Sticker scents offered are Do Son, Eau Rose and L’Ombre dans L’eau. Jason Wu and Deborah Lippmann collaborated on a Holiday 2019 Gift Set, which includes a Fragrance and Scented Nail Polish. Fendi has introduced the world’s first fragranced Leather Handbags in three sizes. Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian created FendiFrenesia, a new scent, which is described as “leathery and musky” and can be applied to the bag to refresh the scent or can be worn on skin as a traditional perfume. According to brand, the bag’s scent can last up to four years. Candy Couture California offers a collection of graphic, Scented T-Shirts such as Bacon, Coffee, and Race Fuel, which has “sweet notes of motor oil and high performance gasoline.” The T-shirts use a scent-infused gel, which “gives off a delicate, mild smell – just enough to boost your mood” and are said to last up to 15 to 20 washes. This summer, the Louvre museum collaborated with L’Officine Universelle Buly 1803 on a curated eight perfume collection inspired by the museum’s artwork. The project was “about adding an olfactory dimension to a visual experience.” Without a budget, eight different French perfumers were recruited to create a scent based on the art that inspired them. For example, perfumer Jean-Christophe Hérault interpreted Venus de Milo by Praxiteles with a fruity fragrance featuring mandarin, jasmine, and amber notes while Domitille Michalon-Bertier translated the La Grande Odalisque by Auguste-Dominique Ingres as a spicy scent highlighting incense, pink pepper, and musk. The scents are available in Candles, Perfumes, Scented Soap Sheets, and Scented Postcards sold at the Officine Universelle Buly pop-up shop in the Louvre until January 6, 2020.

ScentSicles®, the holiday brand known for scented ornaments, debuted Pear In A Pine Tree™, a new fragrance for the holidays. The fragrance has notes of yuzu, pine, Bartlett pear, and cedarwood. For the fifth time in the last 13 years, India Posts has released Perfumed Stamps in two scents: Agarwood and Orange Blossom. Each fragrance has two different stamp designs.

Interactive and experiential products and services continue to evolve. Consumers, particularly the younger demographics, crave unique interactive experiences and brands are always competing for consumers’ attention. Expect to see more quirky, lighthearted products and interactive experiences, many of which are playful and beg to awaken the inner child of consumers.

Baby, it’s getting cold outside. Get ready for the new year! Let Trendincite LLC custom-design an interactive, sensory trend excursion, an attention grabbing marketing presentation, a captivating newsletter or a curated retail list of experiential shops and restaurants.

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