Imagine walking into what was advertised as a “cozy and relaxing retreat” only to be welcomed with upbeat music blaring from the speakers in the lobby. The wrong music choices send a mixed signal to guests, leaving them questioning their choice of stay.

Music is an undeniable mood-setter with companies such as Apple, Coca-Cola and Molson leveraging music consistently in their brand-building efforts. But, you don’t need to be a big brand to connect with customers through music. You simply need to make it a priority.

Music is an emotionally rooted medium that draws on nostalgia and sentiment to build connections with customers by creating a comfortable ambiance. The hospitality industry can reap similar benefits by incorporating music into the guest experience — whether it’s during the check-in process, inside the guestrooms, at the restaurant, or in the bar, the music you play is integral to the overall experience of your customer.

Although it’s difficult to quantify the benefits that music brings to business, it has incredible value and plays a vital role in making customer experiences more enjoyable and memorable.

In an effort to quantify the value of music for Canadian businesses, SOCAN asked Canadian proprietors to weigh in on how the music being played in their establishments impacted their patrons: 74 per cent said music is important to the customer experience and 72 per cent said music is important to the ambiance of their business. In addition to this, late last year, half of the businesses surveyed said that they would never stop playing music in their establishment, believing that their customers would complain if they did.

So, how are you using music to build rapport with your guests? Here are five ways to integrate music into the guest experience, and create greater customer loyalty as a result:

1. Evaluate the music you are playing and ensure it aligns with your brand as well as the needs and expectations of your customers. Music needs to fit the brand you want present, and it’s an important ingredient in the marketing mix. Ask yourself: is the music too upbeat for a brand that is synonymous with rest and relaxation? Is the music too mainstream for a hip and trendy brand?

2. Play music that creates an appropriate ambiance for your guests. Is the music in the dining room too distracting to encourage conversations, or too loud for the lounge area, or even too mellow to encourage dancing in the bar?

3. Consider new areas where music could amplify the customer experience. Is music playing in the lobby while patrons wait to check-in or meet a friend?

4. Take into account events or festivals that have brought visitors to the area and use them as inspiration for music choices. Is there a fall fair or holiday-themed market that your guests are attending?

5. Don’t forget about your colleagues and staff. Ask them their opinion and be open to the musical tastes of others.

This fall and winter, consider the music you’re playing and decide if it’s right for your customers. Adding music to your business mix is a win-win, and provides yet another opportunity for owners, management and guests to connect.

By Leslie Craig, Director of Licensing, Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN)

Leslie Craig is the director of Licensing with SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada), a member-based and governed organization that represents the Canadian performing rights of more than three-million Canadian and international music creators and publishers. SOCAN is proud to play a leading role in supporting the long-term success of its more than 130,000 Canadian members, and the Canadian music industry overall. SOCAN licenses more than 125,000 businesses in Canada, and distributes royalties to its members and music rights organizations around the world. SOCAN also distributes royalties to its members for the use of their music internationally in collaboration with its peer societies. Eighty-six per cent of music rights revenues coming in to SOCAN are distributed to those who created the music and their publishers.


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