Las Vegas and The Grand Canyon

After a week of vacation spanning from a few days in Las Vegas to a brutal rim to rim hike through the Grand Canyon, The Fresh Peel is back in action. Note, we could have used some trekking poles on the hike.

Before leaving I planned a few marketing items to the Vegas agenda, in hopes of sharing my observations when I got back. I wanted to do two things:

1. Smell for Scent Marketing

Las Vegas casinos are known for being one of the first industries to widely implement a scent marketing strategy. So I kept my nose open and tried to maintain an awareness of surrounding scents at all times (on and off the casino floor).

2. Watch for Bleeding Edge Technology

After Sillicon Valley, Vegas is a popular testing ground for new technologies. Casinos have money and a large variety of people are traveling in and out of the city constantly which makes for prime testing conditions.

Now that I’m back, I can report to you that…

Vegas Stinks

We went into every casino on The Strip and only one of them had a noticeable scent (that didn’t consist of cigarette smoke and B.O). The Venetian had a consistent smell on the casino floor, but it was so overpoweringly strong that my wife and I did our best to avoid that part of the hotel if at all possible.

This proved two things about scent marketing.

  1. It is still very misunderstood and underutilized. These experiences had me asking a lot of questions. Where were the multiple scent touch points? Why a light fresh scent fill key areas of my hotel? Why didn’t I receive an appreciation package with small souvenirs that I would be sure to take home (with the signature scent of course)?
  2. Despite the fact that my wife and I didn’t like the smell of the Venitian casino, there were tons of people in there, and from what I could tell, they seemed to be enjoying themselves.This brings up a common problem with scent marketing. Everyone’s taste in smells is different and can change overtime. Part of that has to do with age. The younger you are the more sensitive your sense of smell tends to be. Your day to day interactions can affect your sense of smell as well. We are naturally conditioned to notice new scents, so if we are surrounded by a smell day to day, the less we usually notice it.

    That’s why the old lady next door wears so much perfume that she could be a fire hazard. She’s been wearing it for 30 years after all and still wants to smell it on herself.

Tech Clutter

There is so much going on everywhere in Vegas, that it’s hard to catch it all. I found a mix of new and old technologies all fighting for my attention, but none that I saw were anything special.

I did come across Microsoft’s Surface technology at Harrah’s Rio Casino (blogged about by PSFK and Cnet). It’s a step in the right direction, but it wasn’t anything that I would go out of my way to experience.

Scent of Memories

Sometimes the best marketing lessons come from very unexpected places. Though I’ve been to the Grand Canyon three previous times (all earlier than 12 years ago), I was surprised at how the memories of my childhood encounters with the canyon flooded me not when I saw but when I smelled the scents of the trail.

The opportunity to incorporate scent is there. We just have to work at tying it to a consistent, memorable and positive experience.