How Hotels Can Use Music To Enhance Guests’ Experience

Hotel Reception

Hotel background music is an integral part of a hotel’s brand identity, but many hotels aren’t using background music to their full advantage. If used strategically, the music played can have a positive effect on your customers and influence their decision to stay there again in future and spread word-of-mouth recommendations. But the music has to be coherent with the theme of the hotel and the types of guests that the hotel is looking to attract.

Different Types of Hotels Require Different Types of Music

Hotel Reception

It makes no logical sense to play upbeat dance music in your hotel lobby when your target demographic is the older generation looking to spend a peaceful spa weekend in a relaxing, romantic atmosphere. Different types of hotels require different types of music, and the mood of the hotel may change based on the time of the day or the room that you’re in. So essentially, the music that you play will need to reflect the atmosphere that you are trying to create for your guests and there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” playlist. And getting it wrong, can severely disturb your guests’ experience (as documented by the number of bad reviews on TripAdviser complaining about the hotel’s poor choice in music).

Many urban hotels in metropolitan areas are trying to appeal to the millennial generation who are swiftly becoming a hugely influential demographic. More and more internationally renown hotel chains are even hosting exclusive live music events at their hotels to reach out to new customers, recognising that music provides an effective way for their hotel venue to connect with their guests. But whether the music is played live or not, music itself can encourage guests to linger in public areas and spend money on drinks and snacks offered by the hotel instead of taking their business elsewhere.

Hotel Bar

According to Music Works (the joint research initiative between PPL and PRS for Music):

  • 75% of hotel guests like to hear music in the lobbies, bars, restaurants and public spaces.
  • 78% of people who like music in hotels agree that it makes them feel more relaxed.
  • 61% of regular hotel guests are more likely to consume more food and drink when they hear music they like in a hotel.
  • 55% of people who like music in hotels prefer to meet colleagues or clients where good hotel music is being played.

The objective of any hotel is to maximise the profits made on-site beyond just accommodation bookings, and improving customer loyalty. Big hotels often contain a restaurant, spa, gym, bar, internet café and more to prevent their guests who are already there from spending their money elsewhere. Music is a massively important element in making your guests feel comfortable enough to stay on the hotel premises instead of wandering off to the restaurant next door for dinner. The music played at your restaurant can also influence restaurant sales and even dining behaviour.

What music should you play in a hotel?

The decision on what sort of music you should play in a hotel depends largely on the hotel. For hotels that are looking to attract a broad range of guests, whose personal musical tastes will of course vary immensely, generic music with mass appeal will work the best. Stay far away from polarising styles of music such as hip hop and metal. Although both genres are great styles of music to play in shops and venues with a very specific target customer that enjoys that sort of music, it can be extremely alienating for the majority of your guests.

In this respect, boutique hotels will have the upper hand as they tend to have a far more focused idea of what their guests will expect from staying at that hotel, whether they’re a luxury boutique hotel, mid-range or budget. Boutique hotels are able to distinguish themselves from the larger chain hotels by establishing a unique style of brand which can carry through to its aesthetics and atmosphere (including the background music played), and use that branding to target a certain type of guest. Chain hotels may struggle to do this so easily as there needs to be some consistency from site to site, so a generic approach commonly works best. But that doesn’t mean that music is any less important of a factor in creating a great hotel atmosphere. But a lot of thought does have to go into the music played to be appropriate across all sites.

Hotel Spa

Hoteliers can tailor the musical experience for different types of guests by identifying the different objectives of each room or area of the hotel and designing a music profile to enhance the atmosphere of that area.

In the hotel reception, the background music tends to be quite subtle. Never loud or intrusive, but calm and pleasant. It should welcome new guests in to the hotel, and ease the transition between lobby to the different areas that branch off. For themed hotels, the hotel reception music offers the perfect opportunity to introduce the theme to guests. Tropical sounds for a rainforest theme hotel, pan flutes for South American themed hotels, and so on. The iconic Hard Rock Hotel is quite possibly the best example of a themed hotel that uses music effectively to connect with their guests. The Hard Rock Hotel is themed around music itself, allowing guests to have personalised playlists to enjoy in their rooms and a “guitar menu” where they can pick out their favourite and have it delivered to their room as room service to play for free during their stay.

In public spaces of the hotel with a more precise purpose, such as a bar or social area, the music will usually be upbeat and encourage a positive social atmosphere. But the genre of music, again, will depend on the hotel. From generic pop, to more sophisticated lounge music that enhances that luxurious atmosphere, and even grunge or rock if it suits that particular hotel’s guests. But the pattern between them all is that the music is usually upbeat and encourages conversation.

In a hotel spa, you want to keep the background music gentle and light. The music needs to soothe your guests, and keep them calm and relaxed. It needs to be consistent and comforting, with no unexpected changes in style, to enhance your guests’ spa experience. The music played will be a complete contrast to the high tempo music you’ll be playing in the hotel gym.

Hotel Reception

If you’re looking to enhance your hotel’s atmosphere, our soundjack background music solution provides a legally compliant profiled music service tailored for your business. We can help to curate a bespoke music profile for your hotel, and you can use the soundjack dashboard to remotely manage the music played and at what time at an individual site or across the whole estate.

Contact us now for a FREE trial of the soundjack background music system!

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