How Prolitec Ambient Scent Can Help Multi-Family Properties During The Covid-19 Pandemic

by Heather Lane

With 43% of the global population fully at home, living spaces are now being used as classrooms, daycares, personal gyms, offices, and places to prepare experimental home-cooked meals. This means both challenges and opportunities for multi-family property companies.

According to a study from the world’s largest privately-owned fragrance and flavor company, Firmenich, 63% of consumers are looking to live in places with fresh and clean scents. That’s 63% more residents and prospective tenants that want their hallways, elevators, and high traffic areas to smell reassuringly clean. With this trend only growing, property managers must work to incorporate scents to meet the needs of their tenants.

Clearly, the world has changed and so has the appetite for fresh, clean scents.

Attract More Prospective Tenants with a Sense of Clean

Is this door handle sanitized? Will I get sick if I leave my apartment? Are the communal spaces in my complex clean? These questions are circulating in the minds of tenants daily. Scent is an effective way to ease those worries and reassure people that, although our daily lives may look a little different, the same standard of clean remains throughout your property. According to a Harris Interactive Survey, “A recent poll showed that 88 percent of people cite odor as an indicator of an environment’s cleanliness—or lack thereof.”

As for first impressions? For prospective tenants, scent can make or break a first impression of a multifamily space – Camden Living Apartments released a study finding that 65% of a buyer’s decision is based on smell, and Hasselt University reported, “Ambient scent significantly and subconsciously influences consumer perceptions.”

Boost Tenant Retention Rates by Creating a Relaxing Environment 

The daily stresses in the lives of tenants are vast. From health concerns to job loss due to Covid-19, anxiety is at an all-time high. To keep rent-able spaces filled, it is crucial to subconsciously reach tenants on an emotional level, making them happier to be at home. According to a study by Lehner et al, “The presence of positive ambient scents can result in a lower level of anxiety, a more positive mood, and a higher level of calmness.” With potential “shelter in place” orders looming back on the horizon, creating a positive, calming environment will be more important than ever for property managers.

Meet the Needs of Those Newly Working from Home

Scent can make a huge impact on those working from home. Where workers were once invigorated by their commute to offices – rocking out to their favorite station in their car, sipping coffees on subways, or enjoying the brisk feeling of a walk to work – today many people are stumbling straight from PJs to phone conferences.

As giants in the corporate arena, from Twitter to Nationwide Insurance, make the move to permanent telecommuting options for employees, more and more people will be looking for housing that can double as comfortable workspace.

So how do multi-family properties take on this new mantle of doubling as office space? Look no further than common scents employed by traditional offices and coworking spaces. Dozens of studies have found that scent has a positive impact on worker energy, attitude, and performance. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, for example, found that pleasant scents drastically improved workplace efficiency and self-efficacy – both crucial in the new telecommuting world.

Scent can be an invigorating addition to common areas, giving telecommuters a much-needed breath of fresh air when they take breaks. According to a 2018 survey, 41% of coworking members believe ambient scent improves the workspace.

Make Your Tenants Happy by Building Stronger Connections 

How do you foster a sense of community while people are being mindful of Covid-19 best practices? With a nation refraining from gatherings and events, many people are experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness. Scent can be a powerful way to help people feel more connected with their community, even if at a distance.

Scent is instantly recognizable, transporting people back to happy memories, recalling past social events, and triggering positive feelings. Playing fragrance in multi-family housing common areas brings residents together with a shared experience. Linking that experience to a sense of well-being gives tenants a way to share a collective positive feeling.

A 2015 study by Reid et al. found that using scent prompted nostalgia, which “elicited higher levels of positive affect, self-esteem, self and social connectedness, optimism, and life meaning.” With Covid-19 feelings of isolation and loneliness, a little self & social connectedness is just the ticket.

Scenting in Action

Savvy property managers across the country and around the world have been putting scent to work for them and their tenants. Cross Mountain Apartments in San Antonio, TX joined other residential real estate properties and began using Prolitec’s ambient scenting services to enhance their community in 2018. The fragrances received overwhelmingly positive feedback from residents and prospective tenants according to Cross Mountain Apartments Manager, Yolanda Maldonado.

“It is very important to just get that first impression to remember you. We just want our customers to have that sense of content, and ‘at ease,’” Maldonado said.

Scents are subtly diffused in the complex’s leasing office, club room, fitness center, café room, and model units, and it’s catching the noses of tenants and prospects for all the right reasons.

“I love that it’s out of sight. You don’t have a machine blowing out the scent, you don’t have that noise, very discreet, that’s very important to me. We get responses from our residents all the time about Prolitec; and prospects.”

Whether scent is diffused in a lobby, model unit, communal space, or any high traffic area on a property, ambient fragrance is helping pave the way forward for multifamily properties. After all, our home isn’t just where the heart is – it’s where the nose is too.





Doucé L, Janssens, W. The presence of a pleasant ambient scent in a fashion store: The moderating role of shopping motivation and affect intensity. Environment and Behavior, May 26, 2011

Lehrner J, Marwinski G, Lehr S, Johren P, Deecke L (2005). Ambient odors of orange and lavender reduced anxiety and improve mood in a dental office. Physiol. Behav., 86: 92-95.

Baron R. (1990). Environmentally Induced Positive Affect: Its Impact on Self-Efficacy, Task Performance, Negotiation, and Conflict. Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

Ambient Scenting and Sound in Growing Demand in Coworking Spaces. (2018, October 02). Retrieved from

Baron R. The Sweet Smell of… Helping: Effects of Pleasant Ambient Fragrance on Prosocial Behavior in Shopping Malls. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. May 1997 vol. 23 no. 5 498-503

Reid, C. A., Green, J. D., Wildschut, T., & Sedikides, C. (2015). Scent-evoked nostalgia. Memory (Hove, England)23(2), 157–166. Reid, C. A., Green, J. D., Wildschut, T., & Sedikides, C. (2015). Scent-evoked nostalgia. Memory (Hove, England)23(2), 157–166.


About the Author

Heather enjoys delving into research exploring the ways fragrance impacts people in their daily lives. She is a VP at Prolitec, a global provider of ambient scenting, and a recent graduate of the MBA program at Tulane University in New Orleans.

When not studying the fascinating ways fragrance intersects the world of business, Heather renovates historic houses and gets her hands dirty with her non-profit ceramics arts studio.