Sound and Vision: How Audio is Becoming the New Visual for Hoteliers

By Daniel Lafferty Director of Music & Voice, PHMG | January 20, 2019

Hotel owners are usually experts in the importance of marketing, recognizing how much their business image can impact on their bottom line. If website photography isn't suitably aspirational, it can put customers off before they have even booked a room and poor social media branding, non-mobile optimized websites or negative reviews on TripAdvisor can be equally damaging.

As a result, owners will invest heavily in visual marketing to ensure their hotel looks as good as it possibly can. But while visual imagery is clearly a core element of a hotel's brand, audio – in our multimedia world – is rapidly becoming another powerful influencer.

The Science of Sound

Our hearing is one of our most emotive senses, as sound elicits intense emotion in humans. A song can instantly transport a listener back to a certain moment, triggering a vivid recollection of smells, visuals and emotions.

Research into the science of sound has unearthed some interesting truths. We have been found to trust our sense of hearing more than our sight. The Hearing Body project at University College London discovered people can have perceptions of their own body image distorted by changes in sound, with one test altering the pitch of a person's footsteps to trick them into believing they were lighter or heavier than they actually were.

Another study found that playing chilled out, slow-tempo, stress-busting music (for example in a hotel spa) increases retail sales by 10% in a low crowd density, but had the opposite effect in busy environments (such as a hotel bar) where loud, lively music got people drinking more beer, faster.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.