With December looming, retail and hospitality businesses are now in full-swing, heading towards the festivities of Christmas. While the window displays and menu preparations are well underway, special attention needs to be paid to building an atmosphere that will exceed expectations of customers, and ensure their venue experience is a jolly one.
A key consideration for achieving this festive atmosphere is a venue’s background music. With Christmas providing the perfect opportunity to engage your customers further and bring your space to life with fun and merriment, it’s essential to get the music just right.
To help you achieve this, we’ve compiled a few important background music considerations to help venue managers out during this busy season:
1) Introduce It Gradually
While it’s likely that some retail and hospitality environments will have already started playing some of the old Christmas favourites, it’s important that this is introduced gradually. Remember that not everyone is ready to embrace Christmas music yet, and jumping from 0-100% in a matter of days could put a lot of consumers off. Last year, 90% of Startle Music customers who played Christmas music in their venues waited until December to do so. We recommend introducing festive songs at a steady rate; perhaps beginning with just a few each hour to warm up your customers, and slowly increasing this in the week leading up to Christmas.
2) Establish A Steady Balance
Similarly, even in the midst of December, it’s crucial to know that Christmas music has its limits in public spaces. If operators bombard customers with back-to-back Christmas tracks throughout their visit, it’s going to tire very quickly. Therefore, you should establish a balance between festive and regular music. A 60/40 split of regular to Christmas music works well for the start of December, with an increase to 70% festive tracks towards the big day being perfectly acceptable.
3) Schedule For Different Day Parts
Just as you should with your everyday background music, Christmas music should be scheduled around your venue’s day parts and trading patterns. For example, while blaring out ‘All I Want For Christmas’ in your bar on a Friday night may create a great sense of fun, this probably isn’t going to be suitable for your Sunday lunchtime crowd.
The key point here is to think about the different audiences that visit your venue at various times of day, and what you want to achieve with your music during these hours - whether it’s encouraging faster turnover with uptempo tracks, or relaxing customers with gentle, unintrusive music. It would be a good idea to split your week up into day parts that reflect these differing factors - also taking into consideration any special events you may be hosting - and schedule your festive music to suit these.
4) Don’t Forget Your Brand
While holidays and special occasions allow you to bend the rules, managers must remember that their background music is a ubiquitous factor that indicates their brand’s values and has a large impact on customer perceptions, therefore they should not lost sight of the messages their music implies at Christmas.
It would, for example, be confusing and inappropriate for a high-end jewellery store to intertwine sophisticated, professionally-profiled music with cheesy festive favourites (think Wizzard, Cliff Richard and the like). Instead, they should opt for Christmas-themed tunes that blend well and fit their venue’s elegant ambience. Before you select the music you play at Christmas, consider this; does it fit well with my brand?
If these four key areas are carefully considered before introducing Christmas music in a retail or hospitality venue, an enjoyable, balanced soundtrack will be achieved. The music can then be left to entertain customers, with the confidence that it is perfectly matched to their brand, considers customers’ needs, and fulfils its desired purpose.
Looking for help with your brand’s background music? Get bespoke advice and recommendations from our team of friendly experts on 020 3397 7676 today.