Multi-Sensory Experiences

The key component that truly creates a memorable experience is when you create an event that has a multi-sensory experience. Our five senses, touch, sound, taste, sight and smell is what 42% of event organizers believe will make an event stand out from others. Scientifically, when we perceive the world through our senses our brain takes that information and creates a memory. From an event planner’s perspective by understanding how the five senses play a key role in memory, you can use your imagination and find fun ways to appeal all five senses.

Barry Ross Rinehart, Executive Creative Director for Multi Image Group recommends that when you’re planning an event to at least incorporate a minimum of three senses; usually light, sounds and smell. Most event planners subconsciously create events doing exactly that: the room is lit enough for guests to see, music is playing and the venue smells clean. Although do you consciously design an event focused on the senses?

If you’re sitting there wondering how you can include all five senses in an event, think about a haunted house. The dim or flickering lights, creaking noises, feeling cobwebs, the house smelling musty, and even in some moments you feel like you can taste something gross. Most haunted houses stimulate all of our senses, which is why that memory can feel very vivid.

Not every event is going to be a haunted house, so here are some great examples from Barry Ross on how to carefully incorporate the senses into an event:

  • Flavours will activate all of your senses: you see it, taste it, smell it, feel it in your mouth and hear the sound of your chewing.
  • By clustering senses, people are more likely to remember an experience when two or more senses are combined (ex: auto-visual)
  • By depriving senses you can help to enhance other senses. An example would be dark restaurants where guests have to eat their meals in the dark.
  • Going above and beyond by enhancing all five senses can truly make an experience stand out by. An extreme example would 4-D movie theatres in amusements parks. During a 4-D movie you wear 3-D glasses, the chair moves, certain smells fill the room and water squirts out at your according to the scene in the movie; which stimulates all of your senses making you feel like you are right there in the movie.
  • By altering senses creates a disconnect between your senses is another way to include senses into an event. An example would be Harry Potter jelly beans. Jelly beans are sweet candies but the altering taste creates a different by memorable experience.

As an event planner, how will you design a multi-sensory experience?

By Cassandra Granata

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