It’s easy to comprehend how music can make us feel; relaxed or upbeat, happy or sad. We often even choose music to reflect our current mood.
For example, if we’re sad it’s easy to opt for a power ballad and succumb to the emotion! Likewise, if we’re in the mood for a party we choose music which uplifting and easy to dance to.
But have you ever thought about how your music could be dictating the mood of your guests?
Background music consumes a hotel experience. From the moment a guest enters the lobby, as they check in at reception, even walk down the hallway and then enter their room. The music may change in genre, tempo and volume and that will impact how your guest feels and ultimately their experience at your hotel.
How you given enough thought to the soundtrack of your hotel?
There’s no doubt that music is memorable; it can often become associated with a memory which has a lasting impact. A person may no longer like a song because it played as they were dumped, or a song is their favourite because it reminds them of a fantastic holiday.
Equally, music can alter an experience. Music has the power to change your feeling in a moment and your perception of a situation.
For example, if a guest enters a hotel and upbeat music is playing, their natural reaction will be for their heart rate to rise and they will feel excited by the experience. That’s before they’ve even checked in!
This idea that music can cause a reaction offers exciting opportunities for hotels, but it need to be executed with caution as it could also create a negative guest experience.
Here’s some example review headlines taken from Trip Advisor which show the lasting association music can create with a hotel experience, and the damage that can be caused when not executed properly:
"Good hotel, bad music"
"Nice hotel but spoiled by loud music"
"Nice hotel, bad restaurant, horrible music"
"Pleasant, good value, bad music"
It’s clear that some real thought has to be given to your in-hotel music, and there’s a balance to be created between impacting guest experience and ensuring music is in the background rather than becoming imposing.
As a general rule, hotels who target a broad audience set (usually larger properties or chains) should stick to more mainstream or generic sounds.
This doesn’t mean there’s isn’t an opportunity to impact your guest experience, that can still be achieved through tempo and volume, but the chance of causing offense to guests is minimal this way.
Boutique hotels on the other hand can afford to be more playful with their sound and actually music can add to the experience they’re trying to create.
Rather than focusing too much on ‘your sound’, think more widely about the sound per area of the hotel. I.e. High tempo in the gym, calming in the spa, upbeat in social areas. Volume should vary around the hotel too; it should be subtle at reception so that check-in isn’t disrupted, perhaps slightly louder at the front door to welcome guests to your property.
Quieter music in the hallways is ensures guests aren’t disturbed in their rooms but the volume will be louder in social areas of the hotel to encourage chatting and laughter. With all of this in mind, apply this to time of day too.
Understand how your guests will want to feel at that moment and reflect that in your music. For example, guests will typically be excited upon arrival, energised for the day in the morning, relaxed in the afternoon and ready to party in the evening. You can see how this can easily translate into your playlist.
Because of the memories created through music it can be really personal, so what better way to make your guests feel at home than to allow them to take control of the sound to their experience. In-room music libraries or speakers to play their own music will add to their experience but you could be even more clever.
Why not ask the guests who their favourite band is or what their preferred genre of music is when they make a booking and have it playing in their room when they arrive? That’s sure to make a lasting impression!
The online hub is centered upon matching music tastes with desired destinations, again drawing on the correlation between music and experience. Their concept stemmed from the power of music being able to transport you to another place and the idea that the emotion felt through music could actually influence buying behaviors.
What an exciting prospect for hotels; through the power of music you could control guest bookings and guest satisfaction!
Before you start building your playlist, make sure you have the correct music licensing in place… Find all you need to know on music licensing for hotels and guesthouses here.