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Travel news, reviews and intel for high-flyers

Say Amen to Amenities

Frequent travelers may have a reputation as adventurous, but to keep our sense of perspective, most of us tend to seek out any note of familiarity to make our journeys more comfortable. This can come in many forms, from staff members who welcome us back on our return to branded amenities that resonate with road-weary road warriors.

Westin, for example, is known for its signature white tea scent which is diffused through public areas and can also be found in its in-room toiletries. Hotels latch on to this kind of brand awareness, and it becomes an integral part of earning repeat business. What may seem like semantics is actually big business, and these kinds of decisions are cherished parts of a brand’s well-being.

It goes so far as to reach the bathroom vanity where recognizable toiletry can make or break a hotel stay experience for some people. Talk to road warriors about their favorite hotel brands and one of the first things that often comes up is the stash of bathroom products. You know it’s good when people pilfer them, stuffing them into their suitcases to take home (or better yet, befriending the housekeeper to get a few extra bottles). And for a hotel, this is a great way to be remembered long after a stay is complete.

Hotel companies spend a great deal of time and effort to choose the right products that fit their brand. Even the packaging is important. Did you know that many hotels pay extra for flip-top bottles that are easier to use in the shower as opposed to fumbling around with loose plastic tops?

For years, Marriott used Bath & Body Works, and Westin opted for Molton Brown. Sheraton was known for its Mandarin and Mint scent before recently switching to a bespoke label. Le Meridien recently switched to popular Malin+Goetz products, and Renaissance has long used Aveda items.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts uses Le Labo perfumery products with scents like rose and bergamot mixed just for the hotel company. Bliss Spa products grace the bathroom counters of W hotels around the world and include bonuses like face scrub and massaging soap bars. Waldorf Astoria properties take it up a notch with Salvatore Ferragamo goodies.

Best Western Hotels & Resorts, whose hotels are all independently owned and operated, used to give owners the option to choose what goes in their properties’ bathrooms. In a major shift, it has partnered with unique bath products to represent each of its 11 hotel brands. The classic Best Western hotels will soon have a natural line of Orgnx products while Best Western Plus will go with natural and organic Pharmacopia goods, which are currently used by Hyatt in many of its overseas hotels.

Customers can be quite vocal about these kinds of changes, especially when they associate a product with a brand. But hoteliers should welcome such feedback because it means travelers are truly invested in the total experience of a stay.

If you’ve ever woken up in a hotel and wondered what city you’re

staying in – or even what country – it’s nice to find unique and reliable things that remain constant. And it just might be a little thing, like the signature scent of the soap or shampoo, that reminds you of something familiar.