Let’s face it; music is everywhere, there’s no hiding away from it wherever you go… So, this creates an opportunity for business owners, especially in the hospitality sector, to really think about the type of experience they’re trying to emulate as well as the reputation they would like to uphold. It’s very easy for management to play random Spotify playlists or let the staff choose the tracks, however this may make or break the ambiance and customer experience which has taken so much time and resource to shape and formalise. With this in mind, more and more businesses are starting to assess the importance of playing the right music in the right areas within its overall space.
Why is music so important in business?
It may come as a surprise for some business owners, but music is an essential factor for business success, however it may be (hugely) underestimated and undervalued. Using music in the hospitality sector can create a unique and inviting atmosphere, influence customer behaviour and spenditure, increase employee morale, motivation and engagement and, quite simply, bolster the bottom line.
Reflect back to the last time you were sat in a restaurant with a large group of friends. Think about the ambiance, the background music, the warmth and energy exuding from the various intertwined sounds. Something which can’t be replicated, right? Now envision, sitting in the same restaurant with no background music, it would be a vastly different experience, perhaps less inviting for you to extend your time there with another cocktail, or two perhaps? As a possibility would be to move onto another bar or area where you could sit back and relax with your friends and be transported to a space where you felt engaged and part of the greater whole. Because of the variety of genres in music and the tempo of each song played, background music can have varying effects depending on how it is used.
Without music there is no lifestyle, and vice versa. Music defines the personality of a social space.Jennifer Needham, Head of Entertainment, Events and Partnerships, Harbour Hotels
Different areas, different playlists
This is one of the golden questions we’re asked on a daily basis – “do different areas within a space need different playlists and music, or can the same music be played across the board?” It sounds like a simple question, however the solution a business chooses, will create very different results and transactional differences. Here at Ambie, we live and breathe music, and understand the value of having tailored playlists to different areas and zones within the same location.
Each space within a hotel, for example, is designed for its own unique purpose. The chairs and sofas in a hotel reception are there usually for guests waiting to check-in or out, the bar stools generally invite people for a quick drink or two, whilst waiting to be seated for a meal. A lunch at the hotel café facing the beach and an evening dinner at a smart French restaurant is laced with varying expectations and desires; one usually a more chilled, quicker meal than the latter with bottles of the finest wines and meats. The spa, the business center and conference areas also have different motives, whereas some are for relaxation and tranquility, others are complimentary for networking and closing deals. Now imagine the same music played within all these areas concurrently. This would be that there’s no breaking up spaces and differentiating the reasons for being in the same hotel, yet the multiple different intentions still exist, and if done correctly, hotels and spaces could maximise on all fronts.
It’s important to remember that music needs to be geared towards the certain target audience a space is trying to attract. It’s pointless to play heavy metal in a 5 star boutique hotel in the countryside, where the vibe is calm, relaxing and luxurious. Music does evoke lots of feelings and has the ability to create strong associations, therefore hospitality spaces aim to choose music which will make its guests feel a certain way.
Music is a competitive tool for business owners. The right music will have a positive impact on customer behaviour, retention rates, peoples’ moods, the brand identity and image, and ultimately, the overall experience. For example, slower music in the lounge where guests are having an afternoon tea makes guests feel more relaxed and comfortable whereby they may stand longer, leading to increased sales, whereas if the tempo was raised, guests may feel compelled to eat up and leave.
The tempo of background music can significantly influence both the pace of customer traffic flow and the daily gross sales volume purchased by customers.Association for Customer Research
Andaz Hotel: customised music to zone & trading patterns
The Andaz London Liverpool Street is a 5 star luxury Hyatt hotel that brings business and leisure together under one grand Victorian roof. Management felt that the concept and reputation which the hotel was trying to uphold was being somewhat compromised as it was not consistent at every touchpoint and area. Ambie came on board and converted the detailed feedback from Andaz into a working and evolving reality.
Working closely with the Andaz, our curators developed a soundtrack for the hotel made up of 49 bespoke playlists, tailored and scheduled across nine areas. Every playlist was on brand and reflective of individual zone atmospheres and trading patterns. No areas played the same playlists and each space had its own feel and desired ambiance, still under the umbrella of one brand.
“We have to make sure the concept is well presented through every touch point of the hotel. And music plays a huge role. We needed different music profiles to enhance the guest experience within each space.”