There’s an Essential Oil for That

Portlanders are familiar with the panoply of ailments that essential oils can solve — from depression to broken legs (okay, maybe not quite) — and commercial real estate spaces have also taken note of the power of scents.

The sense of smell can evoke vivid memories and emotions. When your nose detects a scent, it passes that impulse on to your olfactory receptor cells, then on to the olfactory bulb, and finally, to your amygdala (the area of the brain responsible for processing emotion) and to your hippocampus (an area linked to memory). Studies have shown that the sense of smell can bring about more brain activity than visual cues. Companies are using ambient scenting in commercial real estate spaces to influence clients' decisions and add another dimension to companies' brands. Some companies are choosing to scent their office spaces because scents can improve workers' productivity. Ambient scenting companies specialize in tailoring a custom signature scent for your space.

Hotels and casinos were among the first commercial real estate spaces to use ambient scenting, followed by retailers, car showrooms, sports stadiums, airports, banks, apartment buildings, and office spaces.

The cost to fill your space with an ambient scent can range from less than $100 a month to $20,000 a month or more, depending on the size of the space — from a small office space or entry way to a sports stadium or airport. Typically, a provider of ambient scenting diffuses a high-quality, hypoallergenic scent in an isolated area via a diffuser or throughout a space via the HVAC system.

Portland is on the cutting edge of adopting new ways to set it apart from other cities. I wouldn't be surprised to find ambient scenting more frequently in the local commercial real estate market.