by Alex Palmer | November 04, 2014
An historic English city is offering visitors a fresh way to experience its offerings -- or at least a fresh way to smell them. The city of York recently debuted Smell York, a "scented guidebook" aimed at providing prospective visitors not just with pictures of lush landscapes and fascinating historic facts, but with a full sensory experience of the destination as well.  

"If you think Vikings were cool, it may be because you have never smelled them," Visit York, the destination's tourism board, wrote in a statement. "Visit JORVIK Viking Centre and travel back in time to a Viking age York. JORVIK Viking Centre was built on the very site where excavations took place.  Archaeologists, determined to recreate a Viking city as authentically as possible from the layout of the houses to the smells of cooking, created possibly the biggest and one of the most imaginative excavations of our generation."

A page noting that Guy Fawkes -- leader of the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605 to blow up Parliament, who is now burned in effigy every Nov. 5 on the holiday bearing his name -- was born in Stonegate, York in 1570 smells like gunpowder and fire. A page promoting the extravagant Christmas celebrations in the city evokes mince pies and roasting chestnuts. Another page, advertising York's famous Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms, smells of baked goods and dessert. 

This olfactory approach to promoting a destination is a creative way for incentive planners designing pre-trip materials to get attendees excited and curious about the destination. While videos and brochures can connect with attendees visually or aurally, telling the story of a destination via smell presents a whole new way to connect with visitors.

"If you are around York this February, you're likely to see and smell real Vikings parading through the city in the annual Viking Festival. Check out the festival times and book your visit in advance," Visit York said in a statement. "For a sweeter smelling memory, come to York this spring and visit Castle Howard's rose garden. York is in the centre of Yorkshire, famous for its gardens like that of Castle Howard, RHS Harlow Carr, and Beningbrough."