How to curate music for your hotel: from our Head of Curation

If you work in hospitality, you know better than anyone that the devil is in the detail. A welcoming smile, a perfectly-paired glass of wine, or the scent of a room can take a guest’s experience from comfortable to exceptional. And your hotel background music is no different. 

Music can be a powerful tool to engage customers and extend the concept of a space or brand. Just ask Amanda, Food & Beverage Director at the Hyatt Andaz London:

“We have to make sure the concept is well presented through every touch point of the hotel…We don’t only use music as an underline or as an ambiance creator in the lobby or public areas. We really use it to emphasise concept.’

 But how do you see these results from your hotel soundtrack? Our Head of Curation, Ben, shares three of his top tips when curating music for hotels: 

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#1 Luxury doesn’t mean ‘boring’

Bristol bar music

‘If you’re a high-end hotel, you’ll want to make sure that your music ably reflects the look and feel of your decor, and the quality of your service. However, sophistication doesn’t always have to be boring!

Sometimes it makes sense to replace the ‘elevator music’ with something a little more contemporary. Dig around and you may find jazz, lounge or chill out sounds, but with a distinctly modern touch. We’ve found artists like Gregory Porter or Rhye fit the bill really well.

This may be an especially pertinent point for ‘lifestyle hotels’, an increasing segment of the hospitality market positioning themselves front and centre for a younger demographic of well-heeled travellers. Here, you might want to appeal to a younger demographic with music you wouldn’t have traditionally heard in hotels before. Listen to the feedback from your customers, and don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo a little once in a while.’

#2 Create well-defined audio zones

Harbour Hotels music

‘You probably wouldn’t have the same music playing in the restaurant as the spa, so apply these rules to the rest of your hotel too. Pay attention to your audience, and segment the music by zones. For instance, your bar might favour something a little looser and easy going, or perhaps even more upbeat if the space is busy or open to the public.

Likewise, the lobby should feel sound like a microcosm of the hotel – a true representation of the sounds throughout and a reflection of the brand’s ethos and values. It should stand out and give the customer a great first impression.’ 

#3 Don’t be afraid to do ‘local’

‘It’s increasingly becoming important for hotels to create a guest experiences that reflects the local culture and landscape around them. One way to connect with your customers is to bring out the cultural flavour of the area, celebrating the best local sounds, sights or tastes on offer. A great example is Harbour Hotels Bristol, who playfully sprinkle Bristolian trip-hop tracks into their Gold Bar playlists.

When selecting the best in local music, try and source some music from local artists, either past or present. Dig around your local music scene – a quick google search usually yields some results, or ask a local music venue owner for some handy pointers. In turn, these sounds may help your guests create lasting memories of the area, and hopefully their hotel stay.’

Find more of Ben’s expert curation tips here and learn how the Hyatt Andaz London and Harbour Hotels use music to enhance their guest experience. 

Ambie hotel music sampler
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