Marriott Scent Branding is making us sick!

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Mar 7, 2019
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#1
Marriott recently engaged in the practice of scent branding in their full service hotels. They believe that customers will remember the lovely chemical, perfume they are spraying into the lobby areas, and return because of it. All of us who are Marriott loyalists know that it's all about the comfort, points, and hotel availability. Not a sickening smell in the lobby.

My problem with the scent branding isn't the smell. The chemicals they use are a health hazard to all, but especially to people like me who are sensitive to multiple chemicals. The second I walk into a full service Marriott lobby, my tongue begins to tingle then gets numb. Seconds later my throat starts to close. I've tried holding my breath while leaving the hotel while running for the exit, but the last hotel I checked out of (Miami Airport Marriott) had the smell in the elevator.

I'm a corporate flight attendant, and I feel that I'm in danger of losing my job because of Marriott's scent branding. My flight department prefers to book Marriott Hotels for their crews because we all have high status there and enhanced benefits such as late check out etc. When I explained to my boss about my allergy, his immediate comments made me feel as if I was being a problem, and might not be able to continue working there. Marriott's unnecessary perfuming of the lobby air has the potential to ruin my career.

Multiple chemical sensitivity is becoming more common. I've seen many other complaints about the practice of scent branding and perfumes in general. The more we are exposed to dangerous chemicals, the more sensitive we become. In this age of information, I'm appalled that Marriott didn't do their homework before deciding to spray toxic chemicals in the air, all in the name of marketing. They've taken a wonderful brand and ruined it for me, many other guests and many of their employees as well.

I've talked with a United Airlines flight attendant about this issue, and she has confirmed that she, and many of her fellow flight attendants are being negatively affected by the scents in Marriott Hotels. The fight against these fragrances has only begun on a small scale, but if airline unions get involved, maybe Marriott will listen. Losing those contracts would hurt the bottom line.

I have emailed Marriott, and talked on the phone with a very understanding representative from Marriott, but so far I don't believe they care, because nothing is being changed. The man I talked with said that this was the FIRST complaint he's heard about the scent branding. If you google "Marriott scent branding", you can see that I'm not the only one complaining. The complaints just are't reaching the right people yet. Let's get it out there!

The link below is for Marriott's environmental responsibility propaganda. It all rings false to me after being made sick by the chemicals they intentionally make us breath.

http://serve360.marriott.com/sustain/
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,150
14,741
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
We have company contacts on top of the pages. You can use them to write to the Executives to make your feelings known.

If this is an issue because your company only allows you to stay at Marriott brands you need to take this up with your corporate offices.

Not sure there is anything else we can do besides give you contacts.
 
Sep 27, 2017
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#4
Are you union? That may be a more efficient avenue to voice your concerns, since it is work-related.

In addition, the over-scenting of hotels is not a new thing. I am highly-sensitive to smells. Although I am an IHG (Holiday Inn) Platinum member, I've had to forgo some properties and benefits as some properties had such powerful scents being used there that it was impossible for me to stay at those particular locations. For me, this has been an issue for the past 3-4 years or so.
 
Likes: VoR61

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#5
Thank you for contacting us about this very important issue. Please contact the Marriott executives and explain the facts of life to them. Hotels are really good at "improvements" that mean absolutely nothing to their guests, and in this case they're creating a very negative experience. Middle management is so far away from their guests that they rarely know there's a problem unless a guest points it out. This seems like a "village idiot" approach to management, but I suppose they're all so busy that they can't take time to spend in the field. I urge you to suggest to anyone you fly with to contact Marriott. Along with loud inane music, the scent thing is worse than useless.
 
Mar 7, 2019
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#6
Are you union? That may be a more efficient avenue to voice your concerns, since it is work-related.

In addition, the over-scenting of hotels is not a new thing. I am highly-sensitive to smells. Although I am an IHG (Holiday Inn) Platinum member, I've had to forgo some properties and benefits as some properties had such powerful scents being used there that it was impossible for me to stay at those particular locations. For me, this has been an issue for the past 3-4 years or so.
Unfortunately I’m not Union so no help available there. I’ve been noticing the smells for at least a year, but I think some of them are using stronger doses now. I stayed in 3 Marriotts in Miami within a week and the smell was stronger than I’ve ever experienced. Just got a text from another one of our crews in Jacksonville and they’re choking on the perfume tonight.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#7
Fkyingthroughlife I sympathize— I find these cloying smells irritating and find scent branding to be ridiculous.

This evening I walked by a store called Lu*h — allegedly handmade soaps and such and the cloying scent was so overpowering when someone opened the door that it overwhelmed the street — and this is NYC — the smell was more irritating than the usual urban garbage squalor mixed with left over snow of Manhattan.

Perhaps people writing to the execs know how aggravating it is.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#8
Marriott has over 6000 hotels worldwide. They have a business plan that works for them and their shareholders as well as the vast majority of their customers. They have been using scents in some of their lobbies since at least 2014. I noticed this when I stayed at a Marriott Hotel at O'Hare that underwent a major renovation prior to 2014. I had been staying at this same hotel since 1996 once or twice a year and the change occurred after the renovations. Two recent stays in Europe (Budapest and Prague) Marriotts were not particularly noticeable as far as scent, so this policy may be targeted at US locations.

You should research scent free small hotels at your usual stopover locations and stay elsewhere. You may also find that some of the other Marriott brands are not using scents. I cannot foresee Marriott making a change in their current policies and it may be many years until their next brand expert decides to do something else.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#10
Have you considered visiting your doctor to request an allergy test(s)? That way you would have an official report to show your manager . . .
 
Likes: jsn55
Apr 3, 2016
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#11
You may not want to play the allergy card to your employer. As much as I don't agree, I could see something like this happening...
Boss - So you are allergic to alot of scents and they really bother you. Well - we cannot control the scents /perfumes/fragrance on passengers on our planes and since you are highly allergic to some of these, we cannot yet you fly anymore.
 
Mar 7, 2019
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#12
Have you considered visiting your doctor to request an allergy test(s)? That way you would have an official report to show your manager . . .
Yes. I went to my Dr. and she is referring me to a specialist. I’m also doing a 9 day liver cleanse diet to help purge the accumulated toxins that might be causing the allergy. My boss has come around in the way of accommodating me so far. I just have a hard time understanding why Marriott thinks spraying toxic chemicals in the air is a good thing.
 
Likes: VoR61
Mar 7, 2019
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#13
You may not want to play the allergy card to your employer. As much as I don't agree, I could see something like this happening...
Boss - So you are allergic to alot of scents and they really bother you. Well - we cannot control the scents /perfumes/fragrance on passengers on our planes and since you are highly allergic to some of these, we cannot yet you fly anymore.
I wouldn’t say I’m “playing the allergy card”. It’s a matter of breathing or not breathing. For the most part, all my passengers work for the company I do, and I’m pretty sure I read years ago somewhere that we have a no perfume policy. It’s never been an issue on the plane. Anyway, while being around perfume causes a slight reaction, it’s nothing compared to the scent being sprayed in the air. My boss has appeared to become very understanding about the issue and is accommodating me so far. I’ve found out that the ADA protects our right to breath in public facilities, so I’m not feeling as threatened anymore. Just annoyed at Marriott’s indifference to the people they’re affecting with the scent.
 
Mar 7, 2019
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#15
Chris Elliott wrote about the issue in 2016:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/advice/2016/05/08/hotel-frangrance/84015988/

You can write to the executives, but the Marriott scent branding has been in existence since 2016 at least so this is not new for the chain.

Was this only one Marriott or has it been several.
Christina,
I plan on writing to them. Great suggestion. I’ve only had a severe reaction in 4 hotels so far, and that’s been in the last 6 months or so. 3 times in separate hotels in Miami last week, and several times in a NJ Marriott. I think some of them use a higher concentration of the scent. I’ve had minor reactions previously in other Marriott’s and that was easier to deal with. I’m hoping they at least turn down down the volume in some of their properties.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,150
14,741
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#16
Hotels do a lot of research and consumer surveys before implementing changes like this. I’m
site they found that there is something mentally going on that leaves a positive impression on people when they walk into a place that smells nice.

You can be sure there is something behind thirst changes they would be able to point to.

There are a lot of organic ways of scenting an area that don’t have to use chemicals
 
Likes: VoR61
Mar 7, 2019
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#17
Neil,
I completely agree. I’m sure their research is accurate. Pleasant smells do create a memory. A nice natural organic smell of citrus, coffee or cinnamon would be great for a hotel lobby. The chocolate chip cookies at Double tree, and the wonderful smell the create has been stamped into my mind for years.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,689
7,497
113
San Francisco
#18
I just spent the weekend in Palm Beach with some wealthy friends who have a new house. She is originally from South Carolina and this new house had such a strong fragrance ... in every room. The fragrance was completely unnatural. I wonder if, in some circles, it's considered positive to over-scent your environment because of the heat and humidity and perhaps resulting "moldy" smells? I agree that pleasant organic fragrances are always a positive; the chemical smell of "room fresheners" is awful when too strong.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,689
7,497
113
San Francisco
#19
Marriott has over 6000 hotels worldwide. They have a business plan that works for them and their shareholders as well as the vast majority of their customers. They have been using scents in some of their lobbies since at least 2014. I noticed this when I stayed at a Marriott Hotel at O'Hare that underwent a major renovation prior to 2014. I had been staying at this same hotel since 1996 once or twice a year and the change occurred after the renovations. Two recent stays in Europe (Budapest and Prague) Marriotts were not particularly noticeable as far as scent, so this policy may be targeted at US locations.

You should research scent free small hotels at your usual stopover locations and stay elsewhere. You may also find that some of the other Marriott brands are not using scents. I cannot foresee Marriott making a change in their current policies and it may be many years until their next brand expert decides to do something else.
I don't think that flight crews have much choice in their accommodations.
 
Jul 13, 2016
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#20
Fkyingthroughlife I sympathize— I find these cloying smells irritating and find scent branding to be ridiculous.

This evening I walked by a store called Lu*h — allegedly handmade soaps and such and the cloying scent was so overpowering when someone opened the door that it overwhelmed the street — and this is NYC — the smell was more irritating than the usual urban garbage squalor mixed with left over snow of Manhattan.

Perhaps people writing to the execs know how aggravating it is.
Side note--I used to work for this company in both the UK and the US. It is a very ethical company. Everything is hand-made--I even got to make some of the stuff at the UK factory one day. Everything is vegetarian, and 75% of the products are vegan. They use recycled containers, have a recycling program, and focus on "naked" products requiring minimal packaging, especially plastics. They do not say all natural because the scent base they use is synthetic musk ox oil--Lu*h is very much against animal testing and cruelty, so they sacrificed the all natural claim for cruelty free platform.

It is highly scented, and I do wish it would be a little less highly colored--they used to have a red soap called Bertie that looked like you were Janet Leigh in the famous Psycho scene when using it in the shower.

In my family, it is a joke, that I can smell a Lu*h shop anywhere in the world long before we see it.