In this recent series of posts we are discussing how to engage the 5 senses of our guests and how by doing so, we can improve their experiences and raise our property’s online favorability ratings.


If you recall, last week we touched on sight and how by looking at everything with the ‘fresh eyes’ of your guests can help you, and those guests, reap the benefits. If you missed it, you can read it here!

But there are other senses that our brains heavily rely on that mold our experiences and memories. This week we look at sound and the many ways you can impact your guests thoughts and feelings regarding their stays at your property.

Sound is an often overlooked element in smaller and independent hotel properties and that is a shame! Sound really is an emotional driver of our experiences. A song for instance can bring back a decades old memory and transport the hearer back to that time as well as to the experience. Using music and other sounds can help you start to build that positive experience!

Drive through Smiles

Imagine guests walking into your lobby already smiling. Can you see how it would be so much easier to facilitate a pleasant check-in experience when they are already happy? The right sound can help elicit that response!

Walk up to the front door of your property. What do you hear? Maybe some are lucky enough to have sounds from nature nearby, however; that is not typical. The usual guest ducking into your hotel from their car has probably been assaulted with a fair to moderate (if not deadening) amount of traffic noise.

We realize that most folks are only at your front door for a minute or two (if that). However, you can still help smooth the transition into your lobby with the right sounds. Adding music to your outdoor entrance can be done with a simple outdoor speaker or two. A fun looped song or two works great. (unless folks ‘hang around’ the area for extended periods in which case you will probably want a longer playlist.) Imagine their surprise when they open their car door and are greeted with the strains of “Mr. Sandman” or “All I have to do is dream”! All ages love and identify with these types of songs. Yet because it’s not something they hear every day it really has greater impact.

If your hotel is located in a bit more of a pastoral setting a simple fountain could add some soothing sounds and ambiance to your front entrance. If you want to further mask highway noise a simple amplifier to increase the water sound could be the ticket!


Be sure you check the volume of your music in all adjacent rooms to ensure you won’t be bothering guests that have checked in. Especially after hours! The music does not have to be loud, only loud enough to hear at the entrance. For example a small set of speakers mounted under your porte co·chère should do the trick!


Lobby, check in area. Believe it or not, walking into a hotel lobby can be rather intimidating to a lot of folks. Whether it’s due to the fear of the unknown or prior bad experiences you should try to do all you can to alleviate their angst.

Avoid the uncomfortable silence that sometimes greets guest in your check-in area by adding some low level, soothing music. The music should not draw attention to itself. It also should fall somewhere between ‘elevator music’ and relaxed pop. Too soothing or antiquated will backfire. The opposite end of the spectrum like hip-hop or rap, unless you are a trendy hipster motel, should be avoided.

A relaxed or slightly upbeat playlist of looped tracks should do the trick. The owner/manager should be the one deciding what will and will not play in your public areas. Do not leave this decision to your front desk associates as their tastes may not match those of your incoming guests.

Have the coolest pool

We once owned a hotel just off of I-70 in Denver. It suffered from definite noise pollution. Our pool was tucked in the back of the property but the highway noise was still front and center. We decided to make our outdoor pool a little bit of an escape from reality. As we discussed last week, we added color and visual appeal to surround our pool. We then went one step further, we piped fun, upbeat and not too quiet music to surround the pool area. We ‘billed” it online and in advertising as a “music infused pool”…and it was fun! Guests “got it” and raved about it online.

If you have ever been to Cancun or even a large Vegas hotel pool area you’ve probably noticed that they try to immerse you in the experience. They want you to ‘feel’ as if you have left the world behind when you step into that pool area! You don’t have to be a 5 star hotel to reap the benefits of giving your pool area a feel of it’s own! Inside or out, your pool should have sounds that help your guests truly “escape”!

Your music around the pool should be fun and summery. You can have a bit more leeway here with the genre of music you choose, but certainly keep your main clientele and their tastes in mind as you make your selections.

In some places, extra sound is not considered a plus. The guest room is one of those places!

The sound of silence

In some places, extra sound is not considered a plus. The guest room is one of those places! Try to do all you can to keep sounds from outside the room, outside. Tight seals on windows and doors are a must. If mounting your TV’s on walls, be sure to do whatever is needed to dampen any sound transfer between the walls.

While you are contemplating your guest rooms, and if you haven’t done so already, consider the addition of blue tooth alarm clock radios. Guest’s can listen to their own music and will appreciate this amenity.


A final note regarding copyrights and licensing. Be sure you are careful about the music you are using to ensure it doesn’t fall under any copyright violations. We have never had a problem with any of our music use, but you should make yourself aware of the guidelines for public areas. There are also license-free music services that you can buy the right to use. Just a word to the wise and a caution to make yourself knowledgeable about what and how you are using music at your business.


Paying attention to the sounds (or the lack thereof) that your guests interact with during their stay will enhance their experience at your property and will give you one more opportunity to impact those all important guest reviews.

We would love to hear any ideas or solutions that have worked for you! Drop us a line to share your experiences!