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Nurturing Hospitality Guests With Aromatherapy

If you handcraft products for boutique hotels, quaint B&Bs, or relaxing spas, adding well-chosen essential oils to your creations can have a deeply positive effect on the guest. The emotionally balancing, skin benefiting and other positive properties of essential oils can make their visit (and your products) nurturing and memorable.

I travel frequently in my work as a Clinical Aromatherapist, and I try to stay in a local B&B or Airbnb rather than a commercial hotel chain. I love the attention to detail and relaxing atmosphere in these homey lodgings. Yet it never ceases to amaze me when I discover an establishment that goes to great lengths to provide soft linens, thick towels and comfortable pillows but leaves a bottle of cheap, synthetically fragranced lotion next to the bed! 

On the occasion that I do find a well-crafted aromatherapy product in my room, I make sure to let the owner know how much I appreciate it. It’s a detail that makes an impact. 

Aromatherapy, when practiced as an approach to wellness, uses essential oils to improve physical, mental and spiritual well being. These benefits occur when chemical components in plant extracts called essential oils bind to receptors in the emotional center of our brains, offering benefit to mood improvement and stress reduction. It’s important to note that this happens with essential oils, not synthetic fragrances. 

Now more than ever, people seek healing and restorative services and products to help cope with the stress brought on by our hectic modern life. Travelers value a “lifestyle” experience and one way they can receive it is the use of aromatherapy in hospitality rooms and spas. This will encourage relaxation and rejuvenation so they feel restored and ready to meet the new day, whether it’s to see the sights or schmooze at a conference.  

Some Ways Aromatherapy Can Benefit Hospitality Guests:
  • After a day of travel, meetings or sightseeing, using essential oils in a bath or massage can relax sore muscles and soothe an overtaxed nervous system.
  • No matter how cozy the accommodations, sleeping in an unfamiliar bed plus the excitement of travel can be a recipe for insomnia. Keeping a diffuser in the room, or leaving a nasal inhaler with sleep-promoting essential oils next to the bed can encourage a good night’s sleep so everyone feels rested.  
  • Whether traveling in a dry airplane cabin or a riding in the car with the heat or air conditioning blasting, travel and fatigue are hard on the skin. Essential oils like Frankincense, Myrrh, Palmarosa and Lavender added to nourishing carrier oils, body butters and other emollients will be highly appreciated to restore moisture and balance to the skin. 
  • Using essential oils in any manner are thought to help boost and protect the immune system so your guests stay healthy. We all know how much our immunity needs protecting when we’re on the go, even when it’s for fun.  
  • This kind of attention to the health and well-being of the guest will leave a lasting and unforgettable experience etched in their mind and help build brand loyalty. They are more likely to return to the establishment as well as order your products when they get home.

10 essential oils that promote relaxation, rest and sleep:
Cedarwood – Juniperus virginiana, Junperus 
Chamomile Roman – Chamaemelum nobile
Clary Sage – Salvia sclarea
Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia
Marjoram – Origanum majorana
Patchouli – Pogostemon cablin
Sandalwood – Santalum panticulatum
Spikenard – Nardostachys jatamansi
Vetiver – Vetiveria zizanoides
Ylang Ylang – Cananga odorata var forma

10 essential oils that are uplifting and energizing:
Basil – Ocimum basilicum
Bergamot – Citrus bergamia
Cardamom – Elettaria cardamomum
Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus globulus
Grapefruit – Citrus paradisi
Lavender, Spike – Lavandula latifolia
Lemon – Citrus limon
Peppermint – Mentha x piperita
Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis
Siberian Fir – Abies sibirica

Suggested Ways to Nurture Hospitality Guests with Aromatherapy 

Nasal inhalers: An Aromatherapy nasal inhaler is a small tube with a cotton wick inside, soaked with essential oils. You place the tube at your nostril and breathe in the aroma. It’s an efficient way to inhale essential oils and find fast relief for discomforts. Talk about personalized service! Can you imagine how a guest would feel being handed a nasal inhaler called “You’ve arrived, now relax!” or finding one next to their bed called “Sleepytime” or even “Have a Safe Trip!” to give them as they depart. I daresay, they would feel very nurtured indeed. 

Hand and Body Lotions: Given that this is a standard item found in every hotel, make yours stand out. Design it with the traveler in mind and make it memorable with the addition of skin nourishing essential oils like Palmarosa, Lavender, Marjoram, Frankincense and Sandalwood. If you make body wash, shampoos, conditioners, etc., you could also add essential oils to these products as well. 

Balms and Salves: A small jar or tube containing a salve or balm made with essential oils of Black Pepper, Clove Bud, Ginger or Spike Lavender would be especially welcome at a facility where physical activity like golf or tennis is popular with the guests. In a spa setting, the relief experienced might encourage the guest to book another session.  

Diffusion: In recent years there has been a trend toward ultrasonic diffusers, and I love them! These new cool mist diffusers vibrate water at a high rate to produce a fine mist that can permeate the air. They come with a pretty internal LED light that enhances the ambiance of tranquility they produce. Simply add a few drops of essential oil to the well inside and in no time the room will be filled with a beautiful, natural fragrance. I suggest purchasing a diffuser with a timer in case the guest forgets to turn it off when leaving the room. To learn how to make a “stock bottle” of an essential oil blend for a diffuser, please see the recipe on page _____.  

Linen Sprays: As the name suggests, this is a spray you leave next to the bed for your guests to mist over their sheets and pillow to help them fall asleep. It only takes a bit of water or hydrosol and a couple of essential oils like Lavender, Orange or Vetiver and a good shake. Change out the bottle every couple of weeks if you don’t add a preservative. 

Room Sprays: Aromatherapy room sprays are another nice touch to make the guests feel at home and to keep the room smelling nice. They can double as a bathroom spray. Personally, I love Palmarosa, Tangerine and Cedarwood together for a room spray. 

Shower Tabs: Getting moving in the morning can sometimes feel like an Olympic event, especially with jet lag. The solution? A set of invigorating and energizing shower tabs that the guest simply places on the floor of their shower. When the tab comes in contact with water, it will fizz and release aromatic molecules of the essential oils. If they have been created with oils of Rosemary, Lemon, Eucalyptus or Peppermint, even the most exhausted guest will feel revived! 

Relaxing Bath Products: I rarely take baths at home, but nearly always do when I travel. Soaking in a bath can help renew and restore all on its own but when you add aromatic bath salts, bath milk or other products designed for a relaxing warm water soak, the experience takes on a new level of healing and relaxation. 

I’ve just scratched the surface of the types of handmade aromatherapy items you can produce for guests in the hospitality industry. 

I suggest that the next time you travel or spend an hour at a spa, notice what makes you personally feel nurtured and comforted as a guest. Better yet, notice what you wish they would provide! Look through the eyes of the end user. This will give you insight into what products you can design that will ultimately increase customer satisfaction, make your products more in demand and make the world a little healthier. 

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