Hotels are becoming increasingly sophisticated when it comes to choosing the music that plays in their lobbies, restaurants, swimming pools and spas.
It is increasingly common for brands to work with music design companies, which help them compile playlists based on different areas and times of the day.
All with the sole aim of improving the user experience, customizing it, and capturing the audience they want.
In fact, an example of this is shown by one of Vancouver’s most prestigious hotels, the Four Seasons Hotel.
A few months ago, this 40-year-old resort decided to focus its efforts on attracting a younger audience with a musical strategy.
This strategy consisted of changing the intimidating image of the brand to be more welcoming for young people.
They abandoned the classic sounds of jazz music in the reception area and the soft lounge melodies in the restaurant, exchanging them for pop upbeat sounds and Indie music, something similar to British DJ Jimpster’s “Groove Jumping”.
But don’t be tricked.
Finding the right music for a luxury hotel can be a tremendously complicated task.
First, for the customers. If they don’t like the sound background of your complex, they will subconsciously perceive your brand as overvalued, negatively influencing their opinion.
Second, because of copyright. Playing music by well-known artists is not as easy as putting in a CD or opening YouTube. If you do so, be prepared to assume the cost of the economic penalties from the PROs.
Luckily, throughout this article we will guide you to know the musical genres that work best in luxury resorts, the tricks will make you optimize your sound background and platforms that will allow you to use music in an economical and legal way.
Background music in a luxury hotel. Why is it important?
From the moment the client sets a foot inside your luxury hotel, you must control each and every one of their senses.
It will be important the aroma of each place, the decoration of the different areas of the complex, the good taste when selecting the food and drinks for your restaurant, and the sound environment that accompanies the clients during their stay.
This last element has been taking more and more importance as a factor of the so-called “Sensorial Marketing”. According to several studies, 35% of customers spend more time in places where pleasant music is played.
What does this mean for your business?
Well, first of all, an increase in sales. Think that if people spend more time in your resort, it’s easier for them to consume more in the different leisure areas, such as the restaurant, the spa or the lounge bar.
Keep in mind that when a customer chooses a 5-star hotel, what they are looking for is a leap in quality.
The small details are what leave their mark on the guests, and that is why it is so important to offer the best music during their stay to create a cozy atmosphere that invites them to rest.
Playing music in your 5-star hotel is not free
Many people in the business world tend to think that playing music is as simple as connecting the sound system to a laptop, opening a playlist on YouTube or Spotify and… voilà! “I already have music at my place“.
If you thought this too, I’m sorry to say you’re mistaken.
Doing it this way is illegal.
Music copyright in hotels
In practically any song that you know, there exists the so-called copyright.
In the musical field, copyright is nothing more than the exclusive right of an author or publisher to exploit his artistic work for a certain period of time.
Simply put, the vast majority of well-known songs have restricted use in which only authors or record companies can use them.
If someone else would like to use them to sonorize, for example, a hotel, they should contact those companies to apply for the corresponding licenses in exchange for a considerable amount of money.
PROs, the law enforcers
Depending on the use you want to make of the music, you will have to pay a different amount to the Societies of Author, most commonly known PROs.
PROs stands for ”Performance Rights Organizations’. This organism is in charge of defending and managing the intellectual property rights of artists in each country:
ASCAP, BMI and SESAC in the United States
SOSAC in Canada
PRS and PPL in United Kingdom
APRA AMCOS in Australia
ACEMLA in Latin América
SGAE in Spain
Therefore, if you would like to use legally known music in your luxury hotel, you will need to contact this society to establish the royalty you will have to pay based on the number of square meters of your resort.
They are usually quite high licenses, considering that what you are looking for is simply to add a sound background to your hotel.
Luckily, as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are legal alternatives that are much cheaper and more practical than the PROs.
The perfect platforms to sound your luxurious hotel
Here are two services -both monthly subscription- through which you can add the sound you’re looking for in each part of your hotel.
SOUNDTRACK YOUR BRAND
Soundtrack Your Brand is one of the most prestigious services within the streaming music industry for companies.
Maybe you didn’t know it yet and don’t know how it works, but you’ll understand everything right away.
This platform is based on soundtracks with thousands of songs by well-known artists, selected specifically to provide a soundtrack in line with what your hotel is looking to convey.
In fact, there are over 300 playlists, updated daily with over 10,000 new songs. All of them carefully chosen through a system that mixes the best of Artificial Intelligence and the experience of music experts.
In other words, hundreds of playlists with music tracks from well-known artists in the palm of your hand, for a small amount of money a month and no problems with copyright claims.
Plus, their services include remote control of all the music playing in your hotel. Through an app installed on any of your devices (smartphone, tablet or laptop), you will be able to manage the resort’s musical thread, programming it for different days and hours.
In addition, Soundtrack Your Brand has a scientifically proven method of choosing, organizing and playing music that improves the user experience and increases sales in the different areas of your resort.
Also, apart from the above, this platform offers the following advantages:
Flexibility to schedule and play soundtracks on different days and times
Music reproduction in as many locations as you want
Possibility to create new soundtracks by mixing several stations
Sync your Spotify account to import your playlists
Available for various operating systems, including iOS, Android and Windows
Offline mode to keep the music going even if you don’t have Internet access
Full control of your business music
If you have been convinced by all these advantages and you want to move forward knowing this platform, you should know one important thing.
Although Soundtrack Your Brand usually offers all the necessary rights to the music tracks, on some continents, and specifically in some countries such as Australia or the United Kingdom, it is necessary to acquire the public performance license through the record labels, music publishers, and/or local collection societies in order to use Soundtrack Your Brand legally.
Having clarified this, let’s see the data you were waiting for: its price.
How much does Soundtrack Your Brand cost?
Unlike the exaggerated PROs fees, the cost of the Soundtrack Your Brand licenses does not vary according to the square meters of your hotel.
It has a fixed price of $34.99 per month, which eliminates all worries related to music. You pay, plan the music and forget about problems.
However, the price mentioned is for the United States and Canada. In case your resort is in other countries, it is very possible that their rates will change. Here you will be able to know the price that this service has in your country.
In addition, they are currently offering a promotion for new customers. You won’t have to pay a single dollar for a whole month of service.
Cloud Cover Music is one of the most important streaming radio services in North America. It is another alternative to the one offered by the Societies of Author like the PROs.
This platform bears many similarities to SoundTrack Your Brand, as it also legally offers famous music from world-renowned artists. You can have at your fingertips more than 120 streaming stations through its ‘Music Plan’ license ($16.16 / month).
The only drawback that could be attributed to this service is that it is exclusive to North American users, so if your hotel does not belong to the United States or Canada, you will not be able to benefit from its services.
If, on the other hand, it is not your case, you are in luck.
Cloud Cover Music is offering a trial period of up to 14 days in which you can enjoy its full service. This way, you won’t invest a penny until you check if this is the service you were looking for.
6 tricks to choose the perfect music for your fancy hotel
Once you have arrived here you already know several things:
The importance of music in an exclusive resort
The genres that work best in this type of complex
Where to reproduce them in an economic and legal way.
Now we have to go one step further.
Next, we’ll show you 6 key points that will give you clarity when it comes to musicalizing the different areas of your hotel.
Trick #1. First impressions count…a lot!
As you know, luxury hotels are divided into many areas: spa, restaurant, gym, bar, swimming pool, etc. But there is one part that is crucial: the reception.
The hotel lobby is one of the most challenging places for hotels.
This area will be the one that will cause the first impressions in your clients, who often come tired, irascible and with little humor after a long flight.
In most cases, a bad first impression will condition the rest of your stay at the hotel. Something that can turn into a negative rating of your resort.
As the manager of a luxury resort, you must take into account all these factors to avoid negative experiences for your users.
In this aspect, music is positioned as a fundamental aspect when it comes to controlling and calming your clients. Choose relaxed and comfortable music that lowers their state of excitement.
Trick #2. Silence is not an option
I’m sure you’ve ever experienced the hustle and bustle of a hotel reception.
The constant background sound of customers talking to each other or to receptionists can create a similar situation to a business meeting.
Therefore, another recommendation is to keep the music as a background sound but turn up the volume slightly.
In this way, you will kill two birds with one stone:
On the one hand, you will avoid the discomfort produced by the users’ voices
And on the other hand, you will keep them entertained and calm.
Trick #3. The music must be congruent with the style
Although all luxury hotels have certain similar characteristics, each one has its own personality and unique character.
For this reason, the music must be consistent with what the hotel stands for.
For example, using modern music will not work the same way in a hotel with a more classic cut as in a hotel focused on a younger audience.
It will also depend on the city we are in. We could opt for more classical music for tea in London or a techno-edge style in Berlin.
In the same way, if it is a hotel where people of all ages coexist -grandparents, parents and children-, you will need to take it into account to select the perfect sound background.
The trick will then be to make everyone feel at home, choosing generalist music according to the hotel.
Trick #4. Renew or die slowly
The trend in most luxury resorts is to update 30% of the songs every week.
In some of them, after three weeks, all the hotel’s playlists are completely renewed.
Although it may seem counterproductive when it comes to establishing a characteristic sound in your hotel, this musical renovation is important. Not only to the guests but also to your own employees.
Remember that every employee in your hotel represents the brand. So if the music is repetitive and doesn’t change, employees will tend to get bored and that will affect service.
Update your playlists every few weeks and add a fresh and motivating touch to your hotel’s music.
Trick #5. Different phases of the day, different music
The most prestigious hotel companies know perfectly well that the mood of their clients is not the same at the beginning of the day as during the afternoon or arriving at night.
That’s why they tend to design their playlists according to the time of day.
They usually have different musical lists for each moment of the day:
Softer for breakfast
More cheerful for lunch
With more energy for cocktail hour
Something more relaxed for dinner
This mainly affects areas such as the reception, the restaurant or the bar.
In other parts of the hotel such as the spa, pool or gym, it would not be necessary to change the music depending on the time, because they are thematic areas in which you need music of specific rhythms and styles.
Trick #6. The heartbeat will lead the way
Although this phrase may sound too romantic to you, there’s a lot of truth behind it.
And there are studies that ensure that the speed of music has the power to manipulate the energy of a space and achieve the desired effects on customers.
In fact, the heart changes its rhythm when beating depending on the frequency, tempo and volume of the music. In other words, our heart “adapts” to follow the speed of the music.
Hence, when accelerated music is played, we tend to move some part of our body – head, feet, hands, etc. – to the sound of music to accelerate our heart rate.
In the same way that it happens to the opposite, when the music of a slow and relaxed rhythm plays.
For that reason, depending on the zone of the hotel in which your clients are and the objective that you look for in this zone, you will have to choose to raise or to lower a little the BPMs -‘Bits Per Minute’- of the musical tracks.
For example, in the gym, you will look to increase the heart rate of your customers to about 120 BPMs, as you can find in styles such as House.
In the Spa, on the other hand, the idea is to lower your heart rate to around 60 BPMs, which you will find in genres such as chill out.
Luxury hotels are exclusive spaces for a demanding clientele. All aspects have to rise to the occasion and details take on vital importance.
A 5-star resort should always present a VIP experience where all the senses are subconsciously stimulated: exotic views, pleasant smells, exquisite food, relaxing massages and, of course, the perfect music for every occasion.
The musical ambiance of your luxury hotel must meet two fundamental objectives:
Create a sound background according to what your brand wants to convey
Establish a favorable state of mind in your client so that he or she is comfortable at all times
You’ll know that when clients are relaxed, they’ll feel more receptive to take benefits from your resort’s services and treatments. And in that function, music will be your subtle ally.
However, you’ve already seen that it won’t do you any good with reproducing any style, much less from any source such as YouTube, CDs or radios.
If you do, you can be penalized by the PROs and risk of paying large fines, which can sometimes lead to legal liability.
Luckily, now you know both the musical genres that will work best in your hotel and the legal platforms where you can reproduce that ideal sound background for the resort.
Platforms that, on the other hand, are much cheaper than the expensive royalties of the PROs.
These online services will allow you to use the music of famous artists without having to face copyright claims.
With all these platforms you can manage the sound environment of your ‘5 stars’ completely remotely, being able to control it remotely from any device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Another of the features that will come to you like a ring to the finger will be the ability to program the music that plays according to the day and time, something that as we have shown before, is tremendously useful to maintain the ideal sound environment at all times.
Actually, these platforms are great, but we don’t want you to commit to either because we’ve recommended it to you. We prefer that you try them and see for yourself.
Pablo Olóndriz founded Legis Music in 2016 and, since then, has been working non-stop on the online Royalty-Free industry, managing to build a great source of information for people who need amazing background music for their projects and videos.
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