Hotel News
BITAC® Events!
Casino Resorts Jun. 10, 2018 More Info 3 Supplier Spots Left
Purchasing & Design East Jul. 15, 2018 More Info 6 Supplier Spots Left
Building Your Hospitality Business
  Are you a member? Log In  or  Sign Up
Hotel Interactive®, Inc.
Send a summary and link to this article
To Email
Your Name
Your Email
Bot Test
To pass the Bot Test, please type the white text that you see in the gray box. This helps us prevent spammers from abusing the system.
Print Printable Version

Music, Hospitality and Holthouser

Hilton Worldwide’s EVP of Global Brands is a classically trained pianist who’s got a great ability to take that skill and apply it to motivating hospitality professionals.

Monday, April 28, 2014
bookmark this
Bookmark to: Digg Bookmark to: Del.icio.us Bookmark to: Facebook
Bookmark to: Yahoo Bookmark to: Google Bookmark to: Twitter
We are on Twitter

Music is central to the human experience because it adds meaning to pretty much everything we do and has similar meaning no matter what language you speak.

It also adds a layer of emotion to any situation, helps us connect to a specific time or place and prompts the recollection of faded details and memories otherwise forgotten. Plus, it helped ‘Potsie’ Weber on Happy Days remember all the parts and processes of the cardiovascular system so he could pass a science class, which makes music perhaps the most important thing ever.

Jim Holthouser, Hilton Worldwide’s EVP of Global Brands, loves music too; and as a classically trained concert pianist he has become the master at using music to inspire, entertain and educate folks he speaks in front of throughout the world.

And it’s made all the difference in his ability to have a deeper impact with audiences and affecting positive change for people both personally and professionally.

“Once I got into this and thought about it, I realized there are a million and one parallels between music and business. There are so many ways to tell a message and reinforce that message with a music parallel. When you do that, people get it,” said Holthouser.

Holthouser began combining hospitality message making with musical merriment about 10 years ago at the encouragement of a speech coach. And while reluctant at first, he quickly agreed combining his passions for classical music and hospitality have helped him become a more effective and dynamic speaker.
“When you put something from your soul out for public consumption it’s natural to worry that people will think it hokey and weird. But I took a risk and tried it.” he said. “I learned a lot from that first experience.”

What Holthouser learned was that with the right audience, say hotel general managers, music is the perfect gateway to create a level of impact not usually attained during a traditional speech. After all, most hospitality professionals have heard the same spiel over and over, resulting in the inability of many speeches to emotionally connect with an audience. It’s the same idea as engaging with humor, but more visceral and effective.

It’s definitely a better way to emotionally connect with an audience, especially with someone like Holthouser who has a proficiency matched by only a few nonprofessionals.

Take this great example:

“Every musician knows there are three levels of play. The first is where you play notes and there is nothing of you in it. That comes out in a robotic way. Have you ever checked into a hotel like that?

“The second level is where you play exactly the way Beethoven wrote it, but it lacks something. That’s like adhering to standards and simply bringing the brand to life [without emotion].

“But that third level is where you have dramatic flourish. It’s when you know [the composition] so well you stay true to Beethoven and put your own soul into it with variations. That becomes a better way of talking about hospitality rather than saying be nice to people. They know it and heard it all,” Holthouser concluded.

Another way he connects music and hospitality is by drawing parallels between using modulation, the changing from one key or tone to another and hospitality. In music modulation heightens emotion and eliminates repetition. He sees that as a good device to speak to how brands need to innovate in order to stay fresh and interesting to the hotel guest over time.

“Don’t get boxed in by the sounds 88 keys can make. That is the hotel product. Don’t limit yourself to the resources your management brings. Be sure to fully leverage Hilton Worldwide with the full array of sounds Hilton can make for you. There are so many new and interesting ways to say messages we have said a million times,” Holthouser said.

For Holthouser, tying in music has freed him to be a better speaker, and that is because he stepped out of his comfort zone and took a risk; a parallel to anyone’s career success.
Reaching the heights of success is a constant exercise of pushing yourself into areas of discomfort because new opportunities are typically fraught with new skills that must be learned and honed. If you’re too comfortable doing something, it’s time to learn new skills by taking on new challenges.

“As a speaker, going through this taught me to open up your kimono and expose a little bit of your soul,” Holthouser said. “But doing something new is important. I have done a zillion speeches where I have not done this approach, but on occasions I do, years later people still come up to me and to me and talk about those speeches. They may not be able to say exactly what you said but will remember how they made them feel.”
Now that is the true meaning of hospitality. Making sure guests take a positive emotional connection away with them when they stay in your hotel. So think about how you can take the next step to help redefine guest experience and make that impact for your guests. Music needn’t be the centerpiece, but your ability to deliver experiences with dramatic flourish is how you will differentiate your hotel and yourself as a rising superstar in your company.
Feedback Messaging & Feedback
We welcome your opinion! Log In to send feedback.
Already a member?
Log In
Not yet registered?
Sign Up
Need More Information?
  RSS Feed
RSS Feed
Contact Us
Mobile Version