Three Reasons Scent Marketing Makes Business Sense for Gyms

Three Reasons Scent Marketing Makes Business Sense for Gyms

The ‘Y’ used to be the only game in town.

From the late 1800’s to the mid 1900’s, the YMCA and the YWCA (its counterpart for women) was about the only place where the athletically-minded could go to exercise, swim and play sports.

Today, gyms, health and fitness clubs, and wellness centers abound. There are chains with hundreds of locations, small mom-and-pop shops, fitness centers in apartment complexes, hotels and offices, and wellness centers in hospitals.

Some cater to the wealthy while others to the budget-conscious. Some offer the latest high-tech workout machines, personal trainers, dietitians, exercise classes, swimming pools, whirlpools and saunas. Others target clientele who want to work out ‘anytime’, be ‘cross-fit’, or those who prefer ‘family-friendly’.

Indeed, we’ve come a long ways since the days of ‘The Y’. The health and fitness craze is big business. And with so many choices available, it’s a buyer’s market.

But every health and fitness center has at least one thing in common – and it’s no respector of gyms: it’s the unfortunate propensity to stink. You know, ‘that gym smell’. For decades, no one really cared. The stink was part of the experience. Today however, stink is out of fashion.

In fact, if you fail to sweeten the smell of your health and fitness center these days, you might see your clientele jog right over to your competition.

We’re not talking about burning candles, or placing plastic containers of common industrial scents in corners, or scent-dipping cardboard strips and using fans to spread the aroma. Scent is much more technologically advanced today.

We’re talking about cold-infusion scent distribution systems, which atomize essential oils, convert them into thin-as-air molecules and disperse them throughout the environment.

We’re talking about strategically chosen scents that help you create a new connection with your customer, give you a competitive edge, and help increase membership and retention rates.

We’re talking about scent marketing….



Scent Marketing Strengthens Your Brand

Scent marketing is a relatively new kid on the marketing block. It’s a strategy that helps positions a brand by creating a subtle, but powerfully-enhanced customer experience.

What makes scent so powerful?

Scent has the power to create emotional anchoring attachments – connections so strong that they make you feel something.

Have you ever walked into an elevator and caught a whiff of a familiar perfume or cologne that immediately reminded you of a loved one? Or have you ever breathed in the aroma of an apple pie baking and wondered why you just felt happy? These scents are powerful parts of your olfactory memory and have anchored to an emotion in your brain’s limbic center. An anchored scent instantly recalls a memory, an emotion, or a feeling.

Scent marketers understand the power of scent to strengthen their brand and so should you. If you offer your members a memorable scent experience while visiting your health and fitness center, that scent will become part of their experience. After a few visits, you will have anchored the scent to the feel-good experience of working out at your center, making an emotional connection with your members.


To build an even stronger connection, you can have a signature scent developed. Something akin to a visual logo, a signature scent is designed for a specific brand with the intent of helping to establish brand identity.

For example, Aroma Impressions has created two signature scents for a chain of gyms in order to overcome the unpleasant gym odor and to inspire health and well-being:

  • ‘Lift’ is a tart, tangy, fun blend that energizes and evokes a feeling reminiscent of the healthy experience of eating a granny smith apple
  • ‘Endurance’ combines eucalyptus and cucumber to help promote vitality and the perception of a healthy environment.



Scent Marketing Gives You a Competitive Edge

Gyms and fitness clubs compete on a variety of levels: price, amenities and environment to name a few. Many are finding that scent marketing gives them an edge over the competition. When customers shop for a gym, they often visit and compare facilities. A scented environment has a distinct advantage.

For starters, scent can help gyms and fitness centers overcome that unpleasant gym smell. Eliminate that smell and you’re already ahead of the game. But because scents are attached to emotions, potential customers walking into your facility will feel different. They may not know why, but they are likely to connect with your gym just because of the scent.

And the technology even allows for scenting different areas of your gym with targeted scents.


Here are some ways scent can work in your center:
  • Diffuse subtle and enticing aromas in your reception area to create a memorable first and last impression.
  • Use subtle scents throughout your gym to create a healthy and rejuvenated environment.
  • Provide steam room and sauna users with a cleansing, anti-bacterial and re-energizing experience.
  • Scent steam rooms with eucalyptus to support the respiratory system and combat effects of flu and cold.



Scent Marketing Helps Increase Membership and Retention Rates

There’s no better reason to use scent marketing than that of increasing membership and retention rates.


Here are some ways that scent marketing has proven to increase sales in other types of businesses:
  • Research shows that in some cases businesses can double their sales with the right fragrance. Research conducted by Eric Spangenberg, a dean at the University of California, has proven that scent can affect customer perception, length of shopping time, and amount spent.
  • A United Kingdom based market research company study proved that retailers can increase sales by as much as 19% by using scents in their stores.
  • An appliance and electronics store reports an increase in sales of 33% by adding apple pie and sugar cookie scents to their sales floors.


Research shows that a strong retention rate for gyms and fitness centers is 90%. If your retention rate is considerably less than that, then scent marketing may increase that by helping you create a stronger connection with your customers, making them less likely to cancel their membership.




Never underestimate the power of scent. It can enhance mood, improve perception, mask odors, and elongate the user experience. Scent marketing is an effective and cost-efficient way to strengthen your brand, give you a competitive edge and help increase membership and retention rates.