Music for Hotels: Your Guide to the Perfect Hotel Playlist
Your guest’s experience begins the moment they step foot into the hotel. Good, carefully curated background music can instantly signal what they can expect during their stay. Whether it’s a modern sound for business travellers on the move, a laid-back soundtrack for vacations by the beach or something sophisticated for high-end luxury, music shapes a guest’s entire experience during their stay in a hotel
As any hotel owner or general manager knows, creating the right atmosphere is crucial. Your interiors have been carefully designed, your staff provide impeccable service and your food & beverage outlets are the best in the city. But what about your hotel music? Is it really as good as it could be?
When done properly, good hotel music can provide a soundtrack to your guest’s experience that sticks with them long after their stay. Like a good suit is tailored to fit each individual perfectly, your background music should be designed to fit your hotel.
Why is music in hotels so important?
The perfect music fit begins with the interiors. Is the design of your space sleek and modern or more classic and timeless? Do you need music for a bright airy cafe or a candle-lit bar? The music in your hotel should provide a soundtrack that reflects every aspect of your guest’s environment.
Timings are crucial for that perfect fit too. Thinking about key periods throughout the day, when do guests normally arrive for check in? When are the busiest service times in your food and beverage outlets? At what point do most people begin winding down for bed in the evenings? If correct, the tempo, vibrancy and energy of your hotel’s background music will ensure the best guest experience throughout each of these key times.
It’s also important to consider your customer demographics. Does your hotel cater mostly to business travellers, families or romantic couples? Your hotel music needs to create an atmosphere that will suit the needs of your typical guest, be that an energising start to the day before meetings or a laid-back breakfast by the beach.
What Does Your Hotel’s Perfect Playlist Sound Like?
Let’s take a look at the most important spaces within any hotel and consider what you should think about in order to create the perfect background music playlist.
Music for Hotel Lobbies
At the very heart of your hotel is the lobby. The lobby is the first place guests arrive for check-in and the last place they’ll see before they leave. They may access the hotel’s F&B outlets via the lobby throughout their stay, pass through on their way out each day or stop for a drink at the lobby bar in the evenings. It’s therefore essential that the lobby music effectively matches the concept and objectives of the hotel.
For a brand like Best Western, which uses tailored playlists provided by Soundsuit, a simple, modern and universally appealing sound is essential for their lobby spaces. With a client base that includes business travellers, families and younger groups, the popular music in their lobbies appeals to all tastes. The bright, modern interiors are paired with bubbly, contemporary sounds, while the energy levels are generally more upbeat than guests would expect at a romantic resort or a luxury hotel.
With the Design Hotels group, which owns and manages a collection of boutique properties, the hotel lobby music needs to emphasise the design-focused interiors. The music provided by Soundsuit helps create a breezy, relaxed and reflective environment when guests enter the space. The natural, sculptural architecture and interiors are paired with light, organic sounding music selections. In these properties, the energy of the lobby music remains soft throughout the day, becoming more intimate and romantic in the evenings.
If you’re thinking about the music requirements in your own hotel lobby, how can this be adapted to better fit your clientele and the interiors? If you need a simple, one-size-fits-all soundtrack, opt for something contemporary and recognisable. If you’re looking to create a feeling of elegance and sophistication, then genres like classical or jazz could work. This could be traditional, like a rich, warm Chet Baker track, or something more airy and contemporary like the music of Nils Frahm.
Music for Hotel Restaurants
Whether it’s a family breakfast at an “all day dining” buffet or a romantic meal in a hotel’s destination restaurant, music has the power to impact the mood of your dining space, as well as the ways in which your customers spend. It’s essential that you understand what the perfect playlist for your restaurant sounds like.
At Hotel Clostermanns, Soundsuit provides a music solution for two very different F&B spaces. In the mornings, a buffet breakfast is available to hotel guests in their main restaurant. At this time, the dining space feels light, airy and convivial, with families, couples and business travellers all making use of the dining facilities.
In such a setting, the best hotel restaurant music will feel subtly upbeat, bubbly and positive. Often welcoming a varied mix of diners, any all day dining restaurant should use background music that feels eclectic and universal, perhaps also with occasional international vocals to reflect guest demographics.
Taking this as a guide, a track like Madeleine Peyroux’s Don’t Wait Too Long works well. Notice how it has a lighthearted and positive feel, it’s also subtly elegant but not formal and has enough of an international feel that it will give a sense of place to guests travelling on vacation.
This dining space is contemporary in design, with a modern menu to match. Here, electronic music with elements of jazz, pop and bossa nova like the tracks below, help to create a modern, sophisticated environment:
For a more classic Restaurant 1865 at The Queens Hotel, jazz is a good fit, but be careful to choose a sound with some toe-tapping energy and playfulness. Avoid the common mistake of using music that feels too stuffy or old-fashioned. Music by present-day artists always works well:
Do you want or need to learn more about how to license music for your restaurant? We dedicated a full article about the key things to know for an owner here: Music licensing tips for restaurants in 2021.
Music for Hotel Bars
Hotel bars come in many styles and serve many purposes. There are beach bars, where afternoons can be spent sipping cold beers beneath palm trees, lobby bars, where friends, colleagues or couples can wrap up the day with drinks, and cocktail bars, where classic cocktails are served up in velvet-draped surrounds. Whatever your hotel bar looks like, getting the music right is vital.
When selecting the music for your hotel bar, setting the perfect atmosphere is key. Try not to let the personal music tastes of your staff influence what’s right for the clientele, the time of day and the setting. Pay attention to the tempo of the music, a busier bar generally allows for a more energetic playlist. It’s also important to think about the style, tone and mood of your hotel bar music.
Let’s imagine a beach bar at a hotel resort, it’s mid afternoon and your guests are enjoying drinks. The two tracks below are both great pieces of electronic music in their own right, but the first creates a more appropriate atmosphere for lounging by the beach.
Always be mindful of your clientele too. In a lobby bar, you can expect a mixed crowd and so you should try and select music that will appeal to everyone. Of the two tracks below, both have a modern disco-meets-pop feel, but the first has a more universal appeal while the second feels a little too “out there”.
Lastly, think about the interiors of your hotel bar. If it’s an intimate, candle-lit setting with a classic sophisticated design, then you need a playlist to match. Opt for music with a timeless cool and elegance rather than something contemporary. The two tracks below are both soulful, but the first has that perfect late night feel, while the second is too bright and modern.
Music for Hotel Spas
As the place where your guests come to tune out and unwind, it’s vitally important that you pay careful attention to your hotel spa music. Any track that doesn’t have the right energy or stands out in some way from the rest of the playlist is going to interrupt your guest’s sense of calm and relaxation.
Always avoid the cliches and stick to instrumental music where possible. That means no cheesy whale sounds, no off-the-shelf spa cds and no buddhist chanting. Working with Weleda Spas, Soundsuit were able to provide a background sound for their spa that fitted their brand philosophy perfectly.
For them, the most important thing was to use music that felt current and intriguing but still worked in a spa setting. Their hotel spa music needed a selection of tracks like the one below, which weren’t designed specifically for spas but that still provided that all important sense of calm and relaxation.
Music for Hotel Gyms
When selecting the music for your hotel gym, the most important factor to consider is how uptempo and energetic to make your background sound. Some people like to get their sweat on to extremely high energy music but, more often than not, they’ll have headphones in and be listening to their own music. This means that the best option is to choose something that feels universally appealing for your clientele.
Try to select workout music that feels upbeat but not so much that people might find exercising stressful or even intimidating. Take the tracks below as examples, they provide a steady pace for exercise but also have a simplicity that allows them to remain in the background.
How Can Soundsuit Help You Create and Manage Your Perfect Hotel Music Playlist
There’s a lot to consider when creating the perfect music playlist for your hotel but, with the right tool, you can ensure the process is quick and streamlined. Soundsuit is a simple, user-friendly app that uses smart technology to help guide you through the music curation process.
Soundsuit selects the right music for your hotel based on the information you provide about your average customer. You can pick your favourite music genres or use the app’s SmartGenres feature to intelligently select the best sounds for your hotel. Soundsuit also allows you to effortlessly switch up the mood and energy of the music at the click of a button.
It also gives you the option of leaving your playlist on autopilot using SmartMood. This feature uses smart data to automatically change the energy of the music throughout the day, allowing you to concentrate on the perfect customer experience.
Working with any sound system, the affordable Soundsuit solution is as simple as downloading the app and pressing play. It provides a fully legal alternative to using streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music, which many hotel owners don’t realise is illegal. All you need to do is cover the cost of a simple, yearly music license.
Create your perfect hotel playlist today. Begin a month’s free trial and see what your new personal music assistant can do for your hotel.