I get very absorbed in speakers; choosing the right speakers, in the right number, placing them in the right location and even making them the right colour. Speakers are important.
But let’s go back a step further and consider; what’s the point of fitting sound systems in hospitality venues?
Long before the written word was widespread, communication was aural as well as oral. Our prehistoric ancestors used sound and rhythm to communicate and over time this communication evolved into songs and stories. Although there has been a shift towards written communication, (albeit more recently via email, text and social media), aural communication is still an intrinsic part of our everyday soundscape. Research has even shown that music is a huge influence on both our mood and our mental state. Sound is important.
We humans make noise. Sometimes we want music to disguise the sound of the other humans around us, to help us to feel that our experience is more pleasant or personal to us; reducing the impact or presence of others. Just look at the number of people wearing headphones as they move around in crowded areas or sit on a busy bus or train. We often choose sound to relax, and in a Spa environment for example, music can be utilised to replace the everyday noise of life, giving guests a completely contrasting soundscape to create relaxation and escapism.
Conversely if you have no background music at all, eating or functioning in silence or with just ambient human noise around you can feel quite unnatural, especially for the generations who have grown up with continuous music and noise as the backdrop to their lives. Silence can create a ‘library effect,’ which can make individuals feel ill at ease, scared to make a noise, and as such failing to relax or express themselves. So fitting a quality flexible sound system can enable you to create the right audio background, helping your guests to feel how you want them to feel in your hospitality spaces.
Creating the right playlist for your Brand and playing this in the right format through a well designed and installed quality sound system, reinforces a venue’s Brand and its Brand values. From relaxed to energised to engaged, different hospitality spaces may require a different soundscape; sound and especially music have an important part to play in creating the right environment for restaurants, lobbys, spas, meeting rooms and bars alike. Like a well crafted marketing campaign, creative interior design or superior customer service, quality sound can work together with the other elements of your venue to help you to stand out for all the right reasons.
Now more than ever getting sound right is key. Guests are now exposed to good quality sound in many aspects of their everyday lives; surround sound, THX & Dolby cinemas, great sounding car stereos and certain mobile devices. They will notice if the sound systems in your venue do not come up to the standards they now take for granted. To create a great sound in your venue you need to consider all aspects of audio; volume, hardware and music quality, what you are playing where and when (as this may vary by time of day), coverage (and ensuring that this is even as guests move throughout a space and between spaces) and balance between sound frequencies (bass & treble).
Considering our prehistoric ancestors again, audio is a sense that very much wired into our body’s ‘fight or flight’ response. Get the sound in a venue wrong and your customers will not be able to relax. They might not be able to tell you that sound is the issue, but they will not stay for long or return very quickly. Get it right and all the elements of your venue will fit together like a well crafted sensory jigsaw, helping your guests to immerse themselves in your hospitality experience and truly relax.