Monday, 12 June 2017

Come in, relax and make yourself at home …

Sound; the missing link in the sensory jigsaw:
Come in, relax and make yourself at home … how would you like your guests to feel when they think about visiting your venue?

In the Hospitality Industry we are all searching to make people feel as welcome and relaxed as possible.  Venues invest in exquisite decor, beautifully designed lighting schemes and specially selected staff, carefully trained to deliver outstanding customer service, but do you still find that not everyone can truly relax?  Some guests can remain on edge throughout their stay and fail to immerse themselves in the wonderful environment created around them.

Maybe sound is the missing link in the sensory jigsaw, the subconscious trigger in helping all your guests to truly relax.

Our hearing is so often the sense we take for granted.  Sound tends to just happen around us.  Familiar noises such as aeroplanes flying overhead, phones ringing, vacuum cleaners whirring, birds singing, children playing or people walking by, just become background noise.  It's often not until you stop and really listen that you can pick out each of these individual sounds.

Our bodies are in a neutral state around sounds that we are use to hearing, but if we are placed in an unfamiliar environment or situation with noises that we are not use to, our sense of hearing becomes heightened and our body becomes generally more alert.  This biological reaction links back to our inbuilt “Fight or Flight” response, which is designed to keep us safe.  As cavemen, our ancestors faced the regular question “should we stay and ward off this prehistoric predator or run as fast as we can to get away from it?”  Thankfully, we no longer generally face this kind of dilemma on a daily basis, but the inbuilt “Fight or Flight” response remains hard wired into our psyche.

Silence and sudden loud noises can often affect us in a similar way.  If we consider the natural world for a moment, predators are often met with an ‘alarm’ call to warn others in their group of impending danger and potentially scare off the intruder, in much the same way as the modern equivalent of a smoke detector, house or car alarm.  Conversely, potential prey can often remain still and silent to conceal their presence from a predator, which in turn heightens their other senses and prepares their bodies for ‘flight’.  These inbuilt behaviours remain part of us even today, so getting sound right for your guests is a crucial part in helping them to truly relax, even though they might not be able to tell you why!

Getting it right:
So how do you get it right?  This is not just about sound for sound’s sake, but about using sound in the right way to help change your guest’s opinions, from liking your venue into really loving it.

By eliminating unwanted noises, choosing a soundtrack to complement your Brand and delivering this through a well designed, expertly installed, flexible sound system, you can address the missing link in the sensory jigsaw.  This removes areas of silence, helps to reduce the inbuilt “Fight or Flight” response in us all and joins together all the other sensory messages experienced by your guests enabling them to truly relax.

Eliminating unwanted noises and reduce noise reflection:
Before you start adding sound to a space you need to consider noises which already exist or which can be heard from within that space, which might have a detrimental effect on your guests, for example noise from; traffic, open kitchens, doors slamming or phones ringing.  Ideally all these noises need to be diminished.

Stand and clap your hands in the space, think about how every noise will or will not be reflected throughout that area, if necessary add some sound absorbing surfaces to deaden these reflections so that you have as blank an acoustic canvas as possible to start painting your soundscape on.  To help, you can engage an acoustic environment consultant to measure the existing noise within the space.  They will then advise you on how to minimise noise and ‘audio bleed’ from other areas.

Choosing a soundtrack to complement your Brand:
Work with a music provider to ensure that the music you are playing complements and enhances your Brand.  Who are your guests? Does your offer change throughout the day? Indeed does your customer demographic change throughout the day? Your music content choice needs to reflect all of these variables.

A well designed, expertly installed, flexible sound system:
To generate the best sound, you need to ensure that the correct speakers and reproductive equipment are installed for your space.  Not every sound system will deliver the right sound. How you hear sound in a space changes considerably with decorative finishes and also once it is occupied.  A specialist sound system designer and installer will create the best sound system for your space, choosing and fitting the right equipment to deliver what you need it to do throughout the day, every day.

Once you have worked through the issue of unwanted noise & sound reflection and chosen the right music content, you may well find that the amount of music you have to add to a space is vastly reduced, as you are no longer competing with or trying to mask other sounds.

To find out if sound really is the missing link in your venue’s sensory jigsaw why not contact CGA Integration today and arrange a full AV review.  Help your guests to immerse themselves in your hospitality experience and truly relax.

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