Music, sound, and travel are beautifully intertwined and interconnected. They provide us with experiences of people, cultures, and geographies across the world and create emotional connections that can last a lifetime. Fundamentally, they all require one another to bring colour and theatre into the lives of their audiences.
As a specialist sonic branding agency, this is one of our favourite spaces to play in and it has traditionally been airlines who provide the perfect stage to bottle up and impart brands and stories in very powerful, sensory ways. But there are so many travel companies and providers who should be doing really impressive work in this space too.
Airlines provide us with rich examples of just how powerful shaping travel experiences through sound can be. With global airline clients to our name, we know first-hand how sonic creativity can lead to commercial success, right across the customer journey, up to 30,000 feet in the air and back down on the tarmac again.
Great travel has a bit of magic about it. It both whets our appetite for the adventure ahead and reminds us there’s no place like home. But as we can all testify, airport queues, security, delays, gate etiquette, and finding your boarding pass just to buy some toothpaste conjures feelings and memories that are far from magical. Thus, it’s the moments that airlines can own, manage, curate, and control that become imperative if you’re in the game of exemplary customer experience and service. Sound, taste, smell, touch, and sight all play a priceless role in taking an otherwise intensely bland cabin environment and turning it into a theatre of international exploration. But where some of those senses end when we pound our feet down the jet-bridge upon arrival, sound continues across a myriad of ongoing (and what any airline should regard as ever-present) touchpoints across a much broader consumer journey.
We build deep relationships with the carriers who look after us in the air. We commit to them, we trust them, and if we return to them time and time again, we end up spending a lot of money with them. Simply put, there’s an affinity that develops that is hard to break and much of this is driven by our emotion. Particularly in the travel space and even more so if we’re traveling long-haul, we want to feel something about the brand that is taking care of us. There are, of course, the brands who try to make us feel as little as possible about them; that getting us from A to B in the most economical way possible is enough. But look at what that turn of strategy has done for British Airways.
One of music and sound’s most impressive qualities is their ability to find the emotions and souls of even the hardiest of characters. They also gift us recall that is 10 times faster than the speed at which we can recognize visual stimuli. So, for any travel brand to get into people’s lives, to mean something to them and be in their consciousness from the moment anyone, anywhere is even thinking about making a journey, no matter how short or long, is a very powerful place to be.
It is important to note that sound will only become more important to travel businesses in the coming years. As sound-fuelled technologies become the norm and we undoubtedly start booking our tickets with voice alone, now is the time to begin cementing an identity that consumers know, are reassured by, and most importantly trust. My prediction is that it will be these brands, who take the attitude of a (relatively) early adopter mentality, who will win when the world catches up and the race truly begins.
Planet earth is more connected than ever before. As easily as we can journey from place to place and country to country with total ease, we can still find ourselves stumped at the last hurdle by the age-old language barrier. And that’s really where music and sound come into their own — they are ubiquitous and the world’s universal language.
With that in mind, tell me a brand, and particularly a travel brand, who wouldn’t want to hit the sonic runway straight away.
Image source: Mika Baumeister