There's the open road, your boot is packed and you're heading out to where the office WhatsApp group can't interrupt you: you may have spent a couple of hours curating a playlist with some choice road trip sounds, and as you turn onto the freeway, you can't help but tap along on the steering wheel. Music is a fantastic element of any great holiday, creating its own memories along with the spaces you see and the experiences you enjoy. Hotels have a special way of ensuring the holiday mood continues, too.

Delivering those vacation vibes

Hotel groups are fully aware of the role music plays in providing a great guest experience. According to Hugh McIntyre, music has been shown to be one of the things that 18-34-year-olds value the most, and brands of all kinds are looking for innovative ways to incorporate music into their marketing plans. Larger hotel groups have adopted systems that allow for the same music to be played across their properties to give a unified branding experience, and this approach also allows those hotel groups to refine their target marketing.

Music specialists Soundtrack Business recognize the value of music, but they also state that it's not simply about choosing a great playlist. They point out that in a hotel, for example, there are many different environments: there are the lobby and lounge, bars, the restaurant and the pool or spa areas. Besides this, you have different audiences - a conference crowd is different to an after-work drinks crowd, a lunch crowd or a dinner group. Sometimes your audience is just there to chill.

You can seldom please all of your guests with one continuous stream of music, so how can you develop a style that works? First of all, you take into account the mood and time of day. It depends on what your guest's expectations are, for a start, and it must take into account the overall image you want your property to project.

You don't expect to walk into a swanky, fine dining hotel restaurant and hear Eminem blasting over the sound system, you'd more likely want to hear something more mellow and appropriate to the occasion. Investing in the right sounds is important since you're effectively broadcasting music. Some kinds of music are timeless, but if you want to market to a younger crowd, you'll need to update what's on offer regularly.

Your hotel likely offers free Wi-Fi as a matter of course, but does it provide access to playlists on streaming services? That's a great way of tapping into your guest's musical tastes.

Tapping into the energy of live music

Part of a great holiday experience can be enjoying the flavor of local music, and having musicians playing at events staged in hotels can add great value for guests. Indeed, it also contributes to supporting local artists who need every opportunity they can get to hit the stage and reach new audiences. Recently, Marriott International launched Marriott Moments, a programme that offers members of its Marriott Rewards programme the opportunity to enjoy bespoke experiences. One of the first Marriott Moments in South Africa was the chance to enjoy local legends Mi Casa as they staged a private performance. Their global appeal has a way of creating that perfect mood.

What's your preferred holiday vibe? It could depend on who you're with - family, friends, a loved one. Some of my favorite holiday soundtracks are filled with Sun-El Musician, PartyNextDoor, Davido, SZA and DJ Maphorisa, but I am not averse to throwing on some old school jams from TKZee, Michael Jackson or The Temptations. The point is to keep stretching your musical tastes by exploring new sounds, even as you explore new places.

Scott Dunlop