Hitting the right note | Change hospitality customers into brand advocates with music

Music plays a key part in any hospitality experience. It welcomes guests as soon as they step through the door. The mood your music conjures in your guests speaks of your brand, and creates an atmosphere that guests remember. The impact and atmosphere that environmental audio creates – be it positive or negative – can be directly influenced by the choice of music on offer.

Excellent service is now widespread in the hospitality industry, so in the current climate of experiential design, it is no longer enough to stand out from the crowd. But you can effectively choose how your customers remember your brand by creating the right soundscape.

Music has power – it changes us and how we perceive our surroundings. A recent OneMusic survey indicated that 73% of hospitality businesses agreed that music helps to increase sales and results and 75% stated that guests like to hear music as they travel around hotel spaces.
Music is often the first thing your guests interact with – are they walking into a deadly quiet space? Are they walking somewhere calm where they can relax or lively and upbeat with all the excitement of a Friday night?

Identifying the purpose of the space ensuring it reflects the needs of your guests, down to the sounds they hear, allows you to fully optimise their experience of your brand. Try selecting background music that chimes with your brands key characteristics and values to create a link in the mind for customers, distinguishing you from the competition.

Image courtesy of buddhabar.com

Buddha Bar in Paris has taken this one step further, by creating custom music with bespoke themes to curate a unique sound for their venue. You may not need to go to such lengths for your hospitality business, but the value of creating a soundscape that is distinctly yours is irrefutable.

When we listen to music we enjoy, the brain releases dopamine, the chemical the body associates with pleasure and happiness, in the same way it does when we eat our favourite foods. This increase in dopamine has been linked to an increased likelihood to dwell in an area, or even to spend more. If the ambience of a restaurant is just right, we might just help ourselves to another cocktail or order an extra side dish to indulge ourselves even more. Research shows that many are prepared to pay 5% more on food or drink in hotels, restaurants and bars when music is being played. Hearing music they like in a hotel, 61% of consumers are also more likely to consume more food and drink.

Image courtesy of soundmattersblog.com

Studies have shown that even details like the tempo of music can change how we taste food. For example, high tempo music tends bring out spices and heighten strong flavours, which is why it’s often chosen to accompany Asian cuisine. Tempo can also affect the efficiency and morale of staff, and can give night-shift workers in particular a much needed boost.

Hotels, and the hospitality industry as a whole, can harness these insights for competitive commercial use by adding value to customer experience. Be aware of the pace and volume of the music – if your guests have to fight to hear each other, they may leave, and silence kills conversation, speeding up a stay.

Music in hospitality must be able to adjust with the mood of the space. Taking into consideration your target audience is essential. Are your guests rockers or classical fans? Do they prefer floor-fillers or laid-back tunes? Is your local area famous for any genres of music that they may wanting to experience during your stay?
Whatever music you choose; it should be adaptable to different groups, and the more power you can put in the hands of your customers the better.

The best way to get the edge on the competition by offering an interactive music experience – putting your guests in control of the playlist. Giving guests a say in their own entertainment always proves popular, and by transforming it into an easy to use chargeable service, you can employ it to add value to your venue. It is precisely for this reason that Edelweiss have developed our self-play piano app – allowing guests to control the playlist in the room (at the touch of a button or via a smartphone) and hospitality businesses to gain return on their investment in the piano by monetising the guest requests.

So, which music is best for hospitality purposes? At Edelweiss, we’ve found over and over again that live music is definitely a cut above pre-recorded music. There’s something about the immersive quality and feel of live music that triggers positive emotions and can’t be replaced by anything else, and it’s this emotional connection with your brand that will transform guests into loyal customer and brand advocates. Canned music can, at times, be irritating – even with the highest quality speaker systems. Using recorded music can also create issues around performance licenses and broadcasting royalties.

However, live music can cost you more than the fees involved in hiring artists, so it is imperative to tread carefully. Cancellations and booking administration are time-consuming and inconvenient. You can’t programme a live band to start at the correct time, or play with no breaks or rider. Edelweiss are committed to eliminating this problem – a piano that plays itself needs no breaks, and offers the same immersive experience to guests as a live band, without any of the inconveniences or additional costs, plus a touch of magic.

Whether consciously or unconsciously, we all associate ultimate fine dining experiences with music with live music of some kind – be it a harpist or a pianist or other instruments.

Music and hospitality very much go hand in hand – to provide the maximum service levels for your guests you really should be considering your music selection, and how you can involve them in that choice.