The Art of Ambience
It might sound far-fetched to say creating ambience in restaurants and hospitality spaces is an art form. But it does require a flair for understanding of human emotions, empathetic listening, and creativity that not all of us possess. Creativity in ambience challenges the status quo of dining experiences, and captivates customers with surprise and delight moments, leaving them wanting more. The way ambience makes us feel is no fluke, it’s carefully constructed for our pleasure.
Investing time, effort and money into getting your ambience right, has been proven to reap the rewards too. There is a clear correlation between high levels of customer satisfaction and high spend per customer. Even pre-pandemic, your guests’ valued customer experience as a high factor in spending their money with your brand, and now their expectations have skyrocketed. Delivering the right ambience touches guests on a personal level. Which is why it still surprises us how little investment customer experience receives within corporate budgets. Having said that, we are seeing a shift in the strategic priorities of many brands towards customer experience. With more evidence of higher returns, we will see more investment into artistic ambience in hospitality spaces.
How do I produce ambience in my hospitality spaces?
There are several things that hospitality spaces with great ambience have in common, and that they all rely on. The 3 main pillars are; guest experience; brand design; and employee motivation. As they say, you’re only as good as the people you hire. So to make your spaces sing like a symphony for our senses, these areas should be aligned across your hospitality brand. Remember standing out is good, but it has to be for the right reasons.
There’s a lot of ground to cover within these pillars, from interior design, lighting, scent, menu, music etc. I recommend checking out our Handbook on Hospitality Design for a more detailed breakdown.
How do I keep my ambience current?
Nothing is static in the hospitality industry, and if it is, it’s bound to go stale. That’s why ambience is a constant process, that will change and adapt everytime you try and deliver it to guests in your space. Music is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to ensure the ambience of your space stays fresh, and keeps your repeat customers coming back. Regularly updated music has benefits that can transform spaces. It can lift your staff through the day, and if curated in the right way for your brand, can put your spaces ahead of the competition.
See our article, “Music for Business, Increases Sales” for more information.
To close the book on the art of ambience, all I can say is, know your customer. Because they are the ones who determine what the right atmosphere is for your spaces. Conduct customer surveys, collect guest feedback, allow for suggestions, and be open and responsive, because it will get you far. Experience has always been a difficult sell, as there’s so many variables outside of your control to determine what sort of evening a guest is going to have. But your main mission with ambience should always be for your guest to leave smiling, so they become your biggest brand advocate.