Music extends far more than just a song you hear, it’s an impactful resource for venues who wish to stand out from their competitors, engage with its guests, uphold its reputation and create its desired environment.
Music has a very compelling ability to create, shape, change emotions, people, behaviours and thoughts. It’s a powerful tool to engage your guests and change the experience they have in your establishment, be it a hotel, restaurant, bar, co-working space or shop.
It has the power to alter guests perceptions of the brand and create positive associations with it.
Music impacts the emotions and moods of guests, and their associated behaviours.
Music has the potential to affect dwell time, footfall, and purchase behaviour.
It is proven that good music can add to your staff’s morale, productivity and efficiency levels.
Music can bring your brand to life and enhance your reputation and identity in a competitive market.
Guests are likely to return, repeat and increase their business if they have a positive experience.
The right type of music can affect peoples’ moods and influence behaviours, as well as improve mental wellbeing.
If customers have a negative perception of your brand, they are not going to want to spend a significant amount of time in your venue, and thus spend less money. Get the background music and sound spot-on, and your customers’ positive perceptions of your brand will lead them to stay longer and spend more.Gideon Chain, CEO of Ambie
Or sat in the coffee shop for ages, watching people come and go, feeling you’ve just arrived but time has, in actual fact, flown? Or listened to a song in a bar and it’s flooded you with nostalgic memories that are so alive?
This is because music subconsciously, often without us knowing, affects our moods, energy levels, memory recall and even our behaviour. It can heighten our sense of connection to people, experiences and spaces, including businesses, especially within the hospitality industry.
There’s been an abundance of research over the last few decades about the value of music in hospitality and its relationship to business performance.
However, it may still come as a surprise for some business owners that music is thus an essential element to take into consideration, despite it often still being underestimated, undervalued and underused.
In the saturated market we live in, businesses are regularly on the lookout for innovative ways to boost their brand for it to stand out, often the simpler, the better. Usually when thinking of the components that create a brand, or customer experience, visual elements such as logo, signage, colours, textures are taken into account.
The role of music in establishing an identity is too often overlooked, especially as it’s a cost-effective and direct way to establish desired outcomes.
Music is a direct and cost-effective way of establishing mood and building rapport with your target market. The right soundtrack can ‘speak the language’ of your customer base; resonating with their values, tastes and aspirations.Ben Yates, Head of Curation at Ambie
We’re here to help you and your business understand the deep-rooted advantages of incorporating tailored music into your overall brand strategy.
We also highlight how music can create and uphold your customer experience and overall perception of your hospitality business, which ultimately impacts your bottom line.
First impressions last! Judgments are being made based on perceptions, and impressions formed all the time, which cannot be helped / stopped, especially when it’s about your business, service or offering.
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.James Uleman, PhD, a psychology professor at New York University
Daniel Kahenman (Nobel-winning Rockstar of Behavioural Psychology), explains how it only takes one negative event (in the experiencing self) to ruin a person’s perception of an entire experience (in the remembering self) in his famous TED talk of over 6million views. Kahenman’s words “what we get to keep from our experiences are our stories about the event / interaction.”
This is such a powerful motivation for businesses to keep in mind, each and every time they interact with their guests, they need to make every effort that it’s positive, engaging, constructive and memorable, both tangibly and intangibly.
From the moment a guest walks through the door, to the moment they leave – every step of the customer journey and touchpoint needs to add value whilst the experience is being experienced.
say that hearing music in a commercial space lifts their mood
say that background music creates a better atmosphere
are more likely to buy a product when music they like is played
Music is central in building positive guest experiences. According to research by MarketingCharts, 81% of consumers say that business background music lifts their mood, while 71% say it creates a better atmosphere overall.
And when guests feel good in a space – they act different within it. Did you know that simply playing music that consumers enjoy makes them 24% more likely to buy a product? It’s no wonder why 84% of organisations who focus on improving customer experience report increased revenue.
Consistent music is a competitive tool and helps hospitality businesses build their brand and create a desired perception and reputation. In such a saturated marketplace, it’s so important for these hospitality spaces to make a lasting impression, and consistency plays a fundamental part in this process.
The right music will have a positive impact on customer behaviour, retention rates, peoples’ moods and ultimately, the overall experience. Consistency is key when it comes to music. This does not mean playing the same music on repeat day in and day out, it is about having playlists which compliment what you’re about, what ambiance you are trying to set.
For guests, the choice where to start looking is often overwhelming, but for businesses and brands, standing out is vital to success.
To develop an effective audio branding strategy, you have to first identify auditory components that best communicate your brand values.
Music creates a consistent ambiance and atmosphere throughout the Manor. With each area having a different purpose and complimentary feel, tailored consistent playlists for each zone have helped enhance the guest experience by ensuring they’re comfortable in the environment, looked after and feel special.Stephen Fearnley, General Manager at Billesley Manor
Centralised music control & sound via the Head office
Localised music control & sound onsite with team on the ground
Centralising a soundtrack across a brand
Having distinct localised playlists for different locations
With so much emphasis on visual identity, it seems like music may be the winning piece of the puzzle. We, as business owners, all too often forget the vital role of sound in establishing identity too.
It’s no surprise that according to Brand Channel, 96% of brands who use music that fit their identity are more likely to be recalled by consumers. With so much to gain, it’s a surprise that 60% of businesses have not yet identified their brand sounds, especially that playing brand-matched music over a generic mix of songs could see sales increase by 9%.
(HUI Research experiment)
A happy guest is a returning guest. Guest loyalty can not be bought, contrived or faked.
If a guest has a negative experience or association with a particular brand / organisation, chances are very high that they will look around for an alternative, as it’s very challenging to remove that blemish, so to speak.
A ‘sticky’ guest-base can be an easy win when it comes to maintaining sales volume and traffic through the door. However, there’s no opportunity for hospitality to become slack, taking their loyal guests for granted; securing the ongoing trust of these guests is business critical and does require continuous effort and innovation.
Music can be a meaningful layer of this strategy. The right soundtrack can speak the language of your customer base; resonating with their values, tastes and aspirations. It can increase a person’s sense of belonging to a brand, plus their likelihood of returning. You know that feeling, when you’re so comfortable in a restaurant you love – from the food to the customer service, to the ambiance and overall environment, it gives you all the reasons to keep returning again and again.
say they would return to a business if the music was right
owners believe music encourages repeat business
say they’d recommend a business if the music were right
Music is a direct and cost-effective way of establishing mood and building rapport with your target market. The right soundtrack can ‘speak the language’ of your guest base; resonating with their values, tastes and aspirations.
A study from Music Works found that 31% of consumers said they would return to a business if the music was right. 21% said they would also recommend that business, which is massive in securing prospective new customers, who will ultimately be converted into loyal, retained customers. This explains why over two thirds of business owners claim that music encourages repeat business.
Reflect back to the last time you were sat in a bar 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 venue 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? And, gone is the opportunity to maximise sales with guests already in your establishment there and then!
It’s understandable that businesses want to see ROI when investing in technology or products to serve the business. It is a harder sell to the MD, CEO or FD when the value is hard to quantify. Your business background music brings many intangible benefits – increased brand awareness, customer experience, loyalty. But when it comes to the lifeblood of your business – sales – is there a measurable difference?
Yes, there certainly is! In a landmark Milliman study, he proved how playing slower music reduced the speed at which customers moved through a store. But the most interesting take away? He also recorded this change in customer behaviour led to a 38% sales increase. Interestingly, Millian was one of the first to connect music to customer behaviour, but he was not the last:
Cain-Smith and Curnow demonstrated how music volume could affect traffic through a shopping centre.
Caldwell and Hibbert connected a slow tempo to increased dwell-time and drink purchases.
Knöferle revealed how minor musical keys could drive additional spending in some contexts.
HUI Research found that brand-matched music in the food and beverage sector could boost sales by 9%.
A Texan study found certain genres could trigger more expensive purchasing decisions.
Therefore, it’s evident that music has the potential to influence and affect guest behaviour; either to aid in achieving business objectives or on the flipside, interfere or ruin them.
It makes sense that businesses put in some time, effort and resources to think about the music which matches their identity, tone of voice and perception they want to portray, and then strategise how best to make this happen in the most cost effective and efficient way possible. Opportunities to impress and sell to customers are fleeting and becoming harder to close, so businesses have to be on the ball and take every opportunity possible where they can rightly connect and engage with its target audience, now and in the future.
Unfortunately, there’s no universal musical shortcut for securing skyrocketing sales. But when music is coupled with your overall goals for a space (whether increasing footfall, encouraging dwell or even boosting food and beverage purchases), it can have a quantifiable impact on the bottom line.
Ambie interviewed Mike Parnham, Managing Director of Rum Kitchen, to find out why they chose Ambie and how they use music to drive customer spend.
At The Rum Kitchen, the soundtrack is the heartbeat of any service; where the right music can create an atmosphere that lifts the mood of the team and guests, increases dwell-time and is what sets us apart from other restaurants and bars.
"Over the past 3 years our LFL sales have been ahead of the London benchmark and one reason is definitely the music, its helped to create an atmosphere where people will stay for one more drink. One of the best feedbacks we receive on a regular basis is that the music was so good that they forgot there wasn’t a DJ, this also saves us money on that having to have DJs all the time. We have tailored the music so it feels as though a DJ is playing all day. Our teams and DJs have all had input into the playlists and they reflect the day part and the music our customers love to hear."
There’s a lot of research which shows how music can benefit our physical and mental health in numerous ways. Music is a powerful tool which can be used to enhance the wellbeing of people, both when they’re at work and leisure.
This presents a big opportunity for hospitality venues, especially in Spas, treatment rooms, quiet areas and so on, where there is the opportunity for guests to slow down, breathe and relax, especially with the very stressful past two years navigating through the uncertainties of COVID-19.
Using specific genres and tempos can create calming environments and provide a much needed ‘escape’ from the outside world. The right music can help pick you up when you’re feeling down.
Uplifting, feel-good and nostalgic playlists that brighten your space and are perfect for celebrations and special occasions. Whereas tranquil, and meditative playlists transport one to a calm, positive place.
Blood flows more easily when music is played. It can also reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure, decrease cortisol (stress hormone) levels and increase serotonin and endorphin levels.
Music can boost the brain’s production of dopamine, which helps relieve low moods and feelings of burnout. Music is processed directly by the amygdala, which is connected to moods and emotions.
Source: Milliman ‘Using Background Music to Affect the Behavior of Supermarket Shoppers, HUI Research report and Knoferle ‘It is all in the mix: The interactive effect of music tempo and mode on in-store sales.
increase was recorded by Milliman when he played slower music in a supermarket
when brand-matched music is played, compared to generic pop music
was recorded by Knoferle when music in a minor key was played in a store
If someone were to ask what drives a business, on the whole, the answer would be customers. Because without guests, there is no business, right?
However, in equal measure, if not greater importance, employees and staff actually make a business, as they are the cogs which in fact make the business tick on a daily basis. Organisations need to remember that their employees are in actual fact their first and most important customers, so to speak.
So, with this in mind, it’s imperative to remember your staff when it comes to considering the impact of background music in your hospitality venue, hotel, bar, restaurant etc.
And while there are many strategies and techniques to improve staff productivity, music can be one of the simplest changes to implement as it has such a direct impact on morale, mood and productivity.
During working hours / opening hours of any business, the staff who are constantly in contact with customers, clients, suppliers and partners are critical to the whole operation. They have the power to make or break any relationship which has been built, as well as the ability to change the company’s reputation. This can be very empowering for a business, if employees are engaged, happy and treated well. However, the opposite is true too.
As mentioned above, music is one element which can be powerful when it comes to staff behaviour. Regular change of playlists is of high importance as listening to the same music may irritate even the most quiet person.
In addition, the right type of music also needs to be right for the staff, so rap and heavy metal wouldn’t work in a hotel’s lounge during an afternoon tea where staff would struggle to speak to the guests.
A recent MusicWorks and Mindlab study found that a whopping 81% of staff performed better when listening to music. The cause for this productivity boost, according to additional studies, is attributed to the mood enhancing properties of music. This explains why 74% of employees who like music enjoy going to work when good music is played. And why 75% of business owners believe allowing staff to listen to music helps with team bonding.
Music is an incredibly powerful management tool in increasing the efficiency of a workforce. It can exert a highly beneficial influence over employee morale and motivation, helping enhance output and even boosting a company’s bottom line.Play video
perform better when listening to music
who like music enjoy going to work when good music is played
owners believe allowing staff to listen to music helps with team bonding
How do you use background music in your hospitality venue? Is it impacting and enhancing your guest experience, or is it just another dragging point on your long to-do list?
It’s hard to argue with the statistics, right? Music is indeed impressive for businesses in more ways than one, and they can only flourish from here on out. The bottom line has the potential to multiply as soon as the customer experience is impeccable, staff are engaged and enthusiastic, guests are loyal and patriotic, sales are proliferating all whilst remaining true to the brand, its identity, objectives and core values.
Here at Ambie, we’re passionate about all things music! We partner with thousands of hospitality brands around the world helping them achieve more through the power of music. Our unique blend of human expertise and smart technology delivers a tailored, on-brand and up-to-date soundtrack for hospitality, with zero hassle!
Discover how the right music could help drive more sales for your business.Book a consultation with a Music Specialist