Comment: Music to a guest's ears

Creative and controlled music can make all the difference

Andrew Lytollis
Andrew Lytollis

For many of us living in the Middle East, spending time in hotels is a regular part of our working life and social calendar. On a weekly basis, many of us stay, dine, drink and relax in one of the properties across the region.

Every year there are increasing numbers of hospitality brands that seek to showcase the unique nature of their guest experience, whether this is in their service standards, interior design, F&B outlets or a luxurious spa.

However, one of the most integral but sometimes overlooked elements to creating differentiation is music.
I think it is fair to say that as people have increased their consumption and exposure to a wider spectrum of music, so too have their expectations for music as part of a hospitality experience increased.

We all know how irritating it can be when music is not controlled in a hotel or when the sound quality, content or volume is wrong.

When you can tell the music is controlled, creatively designed and presented properly, it has the power to affect you in three ways: firstly, it creates a strong emotional bond to that experience, which can result in guest loyalty. Secondly, it affects the way we perceive that particular brand and the quality of their product.

Thirdly, if we are captivated by the music being played, then it is much more likely to influence us to spend time in that hotel itself, and particularly in the F&B outlets.

So how do hotels make the right impression and keep us coming back with their music? Like any other part of their operations, a carefully considered strategy needs to be put in place. Sidestepping the traditional and soulless ‘background music supplier’, hoteliers should seek out a music agency and live acts that offer a higher level of creative calibre.

There is a whole world of incredible music out there that hotels are failing to use that could add real personality to a hotel brand and set it apart from the competition. Taking a step in this direction can increase our perceptions of a brand’s quality, resulting in a much more captivating sensory environment.

For instance, La Serre at Vida Downtown attracts Dubai’s cool and stylish crowd, with music that is strikingly chic and cutting edge. This gives the place a real buzz and destination feel, completely relating to the guests.
At Waldorf Astoria’s lavish new property on Palm Jumeirah, the lobby sounds are in line with the heritage and grandeur of the brand, but are also suited to the hotel’s wide international audience.

If hoteliers continue to evolve their offering and appreciate the importance of a well-executed music strategy, it can only be a positive step in raising the level of sophistication, and diversity of all of our hospitality experiences moving forward.

Andrew Lytollis is the regional director for Music Concierge, which opened in Dubai in June 2014. The music consultancy service counts The Savoy, Claridge’s, Mulberry, ESPA, Heston Blumenthal, and Harrods among its clients. Email: or visit:

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