Written by Philippa Day
Business Development Director, MBC
Philippa has visited 100's of luxury hotels over the years and has always been dismayed by some GM's attitude to their music policy. It is her hope to educate and help them understand the importance of the correct background music and how it should be an integral factor in their marketing strategies and brand development.
Published September 2022
Just as high streets throughout the world have become bland and homogenised dominated by corporate mainstream brands, so has the hotel industry. It seems globalisation has led to uninspiring and ubiquitous hotels whose interiors share the same uniform design wherever in the world they are located, losing their uniqueness. Obviously international chains operate through global distribution systems which means a standardisation of their products and a standardised marketing strategy. Although they benefit from economy of scale, international consistency, and operating efficiency, the products undoubtedly lose all authenticity and will not satisfy consumers who want to experience authentic local culture.
Whilst some customers may relish the familiarity of the larger international brands, many guests are becoming more discerning and require true authenticity and experiences when they travel. In the past it was simply about finding a hotel that offered lodging and if you slept well it was perceived to be a good brand, but nowadays hotel branding is much more. Traditionally, hotel brands were simply about iconic logos and associations with certain meanings but today it goes way beyond the name and logo. Hotel guests are becoming even more astute and require true authenticity when they travel. In fact, authenticity has been identified as a modern marketing tool used to attract certain niche markets who want to experience cultural and 'off the beaten track' tourist destinations. Hotel guests in the twenty-first century are more culturally diverse, ecologically knowledgeable, health conscious and looking for new ways to relax. They demand quality and meaningful experiences from their travels.
Although it may be more costly to construct and maintain uniquely designed international hotels with a local ambience, the more experienced and seasoned travellers require more geographical references from their destinations. Hoteliers should use local designers whose design reflects the local geography of the destination and who use locally sourced building materials. Although international hotels require a certain amount of uniformity, the interior design and architectural style should provide more of a unique local flavour for their guests. The artwork and furniture need to be selected to evoke and highlight the location and history of the hotel. Many clientele want geographical references throughout their stay as this leads to a greater depth of experience. To stay unique international hotel brands should behave differently in different destinations.
One easy and simple way of doing this is through carefully chosen soundtracks that reflect the geographical location and cultural heritage of the property. Sourcing authentic music is extremely important and curators need to spend time sourcing local and regional tracks to add to their playlists. They should draw on the hotels location for inspiration, research the traditional music of the area and be able to blend local, regional, and international music styles. Perfect soundtracks should convey a strong heritage of musical knowledge whilst reinforcing the geographical location of the property.
Music is a great way to highlight the unique local culture and community of each location. Hotels could use local artists to showcase homegrown talent in their curation and when booking live acts. Today music is an integral component of how consumers interact with a brand and is one of the easiest ways to enhance brand value. It is the only universal creative expression that crosses and connects culture, country, religion, and race. The emotional connection that is created through storytelling is what leaves a lasting impression on your guests and music is the perfect way to tell a story. Indigenous music can be utilised to convey a local narrative.
Studies have shown that now more than ever, Millennials and Gen Z are influenced by 'community' and want to meet likeminded people when they travel. Travelling for them is all about meaningful experiences and creating valuable memories.
Travellers: Hospitality Trends for 2042 states, “As we move into a new era, we must begin to think of hospitality differently, luxury and price alone will not entice tomorrow’s guests. They will expect a reciprocation of their values and seek out people to travel with that have similar ideas. Hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and self-catering properties need to evolve.”
Janu, Aman's sister brand, wants to create a more connected and social experience for their guests so, the public spaces “will be designed in a way that will encourage connectedness between guests", which is very different from the Aman brand philosophy that luxury is privacy and space. Hoteliers need to be aware of the changing needs and wants of today's consumers and must be ready to accommodate these demands.
Although the world has "become smaller" through technology and is becoming a global village it is imperative for hotels to maintain a local identity and offer guests authentic experiences of local culture.
We’ve been helping luxury and aspiring hotels to develop their musical identity and bespoke music solutions for over 15 years. If you’d like see how we can help your brand, visit our website - www.mbc.eu.com.