New research has found the majority of UK hotels choose a middle-aged female voice for their audio branding.
A study conducted by PH Media Group to discover what hotels are using in their audio branding found the most popular voice is female and aged between 45 and 55. It is also relaxed, corporate and friendly in tone.
The female voice is generally perceived by customers as soothing and warm, reinforcing the sense of welcome desired by hotels, while the corporate tone exudes professionalism.
But audio branding specialist PH Media Group advises hotels to choose branding that suits their specific company values and claims a male voice may be equally as effective.
“A feminine voice offers a soft, soothing presence, especially when combined with relaxed music, so can help to present a firm as caring and understanding,” said Dan Lafferty, Head of Voice and Music at PH Media Group.
“This is crucial given in an industry where companies must portray a helpful, welcoming image to customers.
“But that doesn’t mean it will necessarily be the best fit across the board and companies should use a voice which best reflects their products, customer base and service proposition. An older, deeper masculine voice, for example, can convey a sense of authority and professionalism, providing customers with a different type of reassurance.”
The research audited hotels’ on-hold marketing – the messages heard by callers when they are put on hold or transferred – to reveal which voice and music is most widely used.
The most popular music tracks were relaxed, confident and friendly in style, enhancing the sense of friendly welcoming communicated through the tone of voice.
Many firms opt to use popular music tracks but, due to existing emotional associations, these tracks are often unsuitable in convincing a customer to buy.
“Sound is a powerful emotional sense,” added Dan. “People will often attach feelings, both positive and negative, to a piece of commercial music, which will be recalled upon hearing it.
“Placing a piece of commercial music in an on-hold situation, no matter how cheery and upbeat it may seem, is a lottery of the individual’s previous experience of the track. Using commercial music is also a square peg, round hole scenario, taking a piece of music and trying to make it fit a new purpose to convey a message it was never intended to.
“A bespoke music track starts from the ground up, with each element forming or reflecting the brand proposition, and with there being no previous exposure among the client base. The physical attributes of the track – whether major, minor, fast, slow, loud or quiet – are used to communicate emotional meaning, rather than the personal experience of the individual.”