Boutique Accommodation, Boutique Playlist

Matthew Lymbury is Director of Music at Nightlife

Every venue is seeking a new way to stand out, to be different, attract customers and foster brand loyalty — without resorting to tired tactics or inauthentic advertising. Music goes a long way to creating the atmosphere and ambience of a venue and it’s such an easy lever to pull — to create a space, set the right tone and get people in the right frame of mind.

Individuality is a massive trend at the moment in the accommodation world, and music is an easily accessible tool to create another important point of difference. Music works as a catalyst to unlock the elements of the environment as a whole. When you add music, suddenly the decor looks different, the way people experience the food changes, even the way people regard the marble-finished bar or the view from the window is affected. It paints a different picture; a picture imagined by the operators of the venue, amplifying the look and feel. Music makes people understand the intended experience and also helps people understand the brand. 

I’ve been working on two standout venues recently – The Old Clare Hotel and the State Buildings.

With a music brief that was unexpected and off the charts, the owners of the Old Clare in Sydney have created a magnificent example of boutique accommodation done perfectly. The owners took a classic live venue that had a rich and colourful past, and decided to match the original ambience of the hotel. They wanted to go down what some might consider a risky road of an ‘edgy rock’ playlist but the owners were confident it was a theme that would fit brilliantly.

It was a tough brief, to mesh together a non-repetitive musical list pulled from a narrow genre. Thankfully we had the team, scope and skill to pull it off, and the Old Clare Hotel GM, Michael Gavaghan, was delighted.

In addition, by using our commercially-produced platform, Old Clare customers are enjoying their edgy rock at any volume management chooses with absolutely no degradation in sound quality. It’s basically like having a rock concert experience while sitting in a five-star restaurant.

On the other side of Australia, the State Buildings in Perth are creating a unique precinct, offering a crucial differentiation in an accommodation venue thanks to its music. Catering to a staggering 12 zones in a single venue, this has been a sensational job to work on, allowing us to flex our music curation muscles and showcase the diversity of our catalogue. Picking music for a library versus an underground nightclub versus an elegant wine bar requires a deft hand – what you leave out is as important as what makes the final cut. The focus was on mixing a blend of welcoming vibes with a high-end luxury feel but still incorporating an exciting edge.

This is the perfect demonstration of the level of detail expected of boutique accommodation. The standards the discerning traveller demands are high and relentlessly rising. Music is now no longer an optional extra but underpins the entire experience. Both examples have reaffirmed something you’ve heard from this Music Connection column every issue: it’s time to step away from leaving such a critical aspect of the accommodation experience up to amateurs and allow passionate experts to guide the way to creating the ultimate atmosphere.