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you think for a good bar system. To get the best sound, get a system that will deliver your target sound at a maximum of 70% so that you have spare capacity.” Likewise in key trading areas such as bars


you might need the speakers and audio system to be able to deliver a ‘background’ sound during the day, but a ‘foreground’ sound during peak trading times such as the evening. Make sure your AV supplier is aware if that is a requirement.


LEAVE IT TO THE EXPERTS Of course I would say it, but use a music consultant to select your content. We all eat food, but we wouldn’t dream of designing a menu. The chef should do that. Likewise we all love music, but knowing where to find great music and how each track affects people should be left to experts. Guests are unlikely to appreciate the F&B staff’s favourite dance tunes especially at tea time. The music needs to be picked to be perfect for each part of the day. The music should also be tailored to the F&B concept or zone.


DITCH THE CDS! CD players, even those with multiple CDs, won’t provide enough tracks to keep you sounding inspiring. What’s more there will be gaps between each track and a big pause as a CD finishes. It also gives staff an unwelcome opportunity to put on their own music. The best solution is to use licensed tracks stored on hard disc-based digital music


players. Streaming is not recommended as the stability of your internet connection is likely to be an issue. Use music suppliers with online access to the digital music players on site, so that they can quickly and remotely respond to staff requests, and support and update the content online. You will need regular music updates to keep the hotel sounding relevant and fresh.


CONTROL YOUR ATMOSPHERE The lighting, temperature and smell of the hotel’s public areas needs to be carefully controlled, and so does your sound and music. Therefore use a music consultant or supplier who has a digital delivery system with playlists timetabled to activate automatically without the need for staff involvement. This means staff do not need to change the music, freeing them up to do what they are good at: serving guests. It also means they cannot put their own music as it is controlled to be ‘on-brand’. Ideally there should be cross-fades between tracks to prevent the atmosphere dipping between songs. Playlists should be volume leveled as much as possible to prevent tracks suddenly jumping out at guests. Think about volume control as well. Train staff to monitor and maintain volume levels. An empty bar will need less volume, compared to a packed bar. Therefore staff need to learn to adjust the volume as each service progresses. This is critical where you use live performers. It’s a common mistake not to turn up the volume of the background music


immediately after a singer or pianist finishes their set. Without careful volume control the atmosphere crashes. I’ve seen bars lose trade because of this as people get up and leave. You could of course choose to have no


music at all! Believe it or not, there are times when I recommend this. At the COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali, the magical sound of the rainforest jungle was the only accompaniment breakfast outdoors needed so that’s what I told them. Getting the audio and music right however is key to creating a great ambience and mood. It can create inspiring or exciting areas within the hotel as music is used to enhance the experience. The effect of sound is often subliminal though. Get it wrong, people will vote with their feet. Get it right, and your hotel is all the more likely to be a hit. Atmosphere might be intangible, but don’t ignore it.


Rob Wood is Creative Director of music consultancy agency Music Concierge www.musicconcierge.co.uk


WWW.SLEEPERMAGAZINE.COM JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2013 123


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