Guest Post: How harnessing the sound of music enhances the customer experience

Guest Post: How harnessing the sound of music enhances the customer experience

Nicholas Soons, head of music at background music platform Rehegoo that brings creators and brands together, says it makes business sense to get the right audio that enhances and does not detract from the customer experience 

It is well-known that music holds incredible power in its ability to evoke memories and emotions. 

How often have you heard a song on the radio that instantly transports you to a specific time and place? Or brings a smile to your face? Or even generates a pang of sadness? 

It is exactly this reason why the background music industry is booming and why businesses, especially those in the travel industry that rely on creating a positive customer experience, are increasingly looking into what music they play, what this says about them as a brand and how this speaks to their audience.

Music has the power to evoke a range of emotions: from making someone feel calm and relaxed while sitting in a waiting lounge to generating excitement and inspiring a customer to book a journey through background music used to accompany social media or TV advertising. 

A recent report by Technavio estimates that the background music market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 7.69% between 2022 and 2027. The size of the market is forecast to increase by USD 421.73 million. 

Businesses that tap into the potential that music can bring can not only enhance a customer’s experience but also help with team morale and increase staff productivity. 

There are many opportunities to weave music into a customer's journey across multiple touchpoints - from the moment they arrive at an airport or train station through to their final destination at a hotel, spa, resort or even the entrance lobby of an office ahead of a meeting. 

Increasingly, hotel and travel operators worldwide are opening their eyes to the varying requirements that the industry needs to take into consideration when landing on the perfect sound to bring to life a public space or accompany a piece of brand content.  

From the outset, music can be used to create an identity for a brand and is an important part of what is known as mood marketing: using sound to evoke emotion amongst a target audience. 

A five star hotel resort may employ relaxing classical music in its spa, guest rooms and public spaces to put residents at ease and evoke a sense of luxury to an older demographic of clientele. 

However, a hostel will adopt a different approach. You’re far more likely to hear louder, youth-centric music designed to evoke a sense of fun, spark conversation and bring a sense of playfulness to its public spaces.

The effect that music has should never be taken lightly, and as such should be high on the list of priorities to get right. 

For example, as part of British Airways’ holistic lounge concept that was launched in 2018, their Brand Experience team divided its lounges into different zones based on the varying moods its guests might feel depending on the length of their journey and which destination they were visiting. 

Businesses in the travel industry have a similar opportunity to create experiences that are unique to their brand, to help imprint their identity and to assist in the comfort of their customer, both through the amenities and fittings they provide, but also the music they hear. 

Curating music effectively has benefits beyond just enhancing mood and increasing customer satisfaction. It can help a company’s bottom line too. 

A 2016 study conducted by HUI Research found that restaurants that played mood-appropriate music that was perceived as ‘on brand’ helped increase sales by more than 9%. 

When people are in a welcoming and comfortable environment, of which music is integral to, it has been shown to increase customer dwell time.

It is important to work out what you want your music to say about your business and how this speaks to your audiences (which may even change throughout the day or seasonally). 

The key is in research and development. Where possible, businesses should look to use a music consultancy service to help define what business appropriate music could look like -  and how this can be executed across multiple sites if required.

This research stage should be held with stakeholders across marketing, operations and F&B.  They may all have different requirements for music but there should be a strategy that brings together different music styles to create a cohesive library of music with different playlists for different moods. 

In order to create the perfect atmosphere, there are things that should always be considered. 

  • Where is the music being played?
  • What is the footfall at that time of day?
  • What is the current customer demographic and is the target demographic you are looking to engage?
  • What mood do you want to evoke through the music e.g.
    • “Get up and go” tracks to accompany breakfast in a hotel restaurant? Should this be buzzy? Positive? Contemplative? 
    • What music do you want in reception when checking in? A warm welcoming feeling? Relaxation after a period of time travelling? Or something more energetic?
    • And what about sundowners at your rooftop cocktail bar? An elegant chic evening sound? Pre dinner drinks?  A soundscape for a spectacular backdrop?  

The power of music can be a valuable tool in enhancing the customer experience in the travel industry. 

By curating music for specific times and places, it can help define a customer's experience by making it more enjoyable and memorable. 

Getting music right, by employing it in an appropriate and unobtrusive way, is key to ensuring that it enhances, rather than detracts, from the overall customer experience. It makes business sense.