Pop-Up Travel Agency Encouraged Travellers To Follow Their Nose

Open Jaw

A pop-up travel agency from European rail company Thalys used a unique method of enticing potential travellers to visit new cities – by using their nose.

For three days this month, scented beads were suspended from the ceiling of a Brussels art gallery, and visitors were invited to inhale iconic odors from Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne and Brussels.

Some 752 tubes containing 16 unique fragrances per city were created with help from Drom Fragrances and perfume consultant Elisabeth Carre.

Each tube was labeled with a number that corresponded to a place on a map. Users could smell things like buttered tartines in a Parisian café, a pipe representing the Magritte Museum, the Cologne Cathedral … or even “Latexxx,” representing Amsterdam’s infamous Sex Museum.

A tablet-equipped hostess helped people book trips live, and provided more insight on the destinations and ideal times to travel.

An accompanying film features a “curious adventurer” who sets out on a quest to learn more about the scents, bringing viewers on a journey to the heart of each city.

“2015 and 2016 were tough years for tourism in this part of Europe,” Jean-François Sacco, Executive Creative Director for the project, told Adweek.

Sacco explained: “The images used in news reports about Thalys cities in 2015, 2016, particularly Brussels and Paris, were hardly positive -- terrorism, violence. Using a different sense allows us wipe the slate clean to present the cities in a different light.”

With “Scents of the City,” Thalys aspires to “take away the fear of travel and replace it with the classic romance of travel,” Sacco said.

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