Examining managers' theories of how atmospheric music affects perception, behaviour and financial performance

Charles S. Areni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Scales were developed to measure hospitality managers' beliefs about the effects of atmospheric music on perception, behaviour, and financial performance. Some of the scales corresponded to established theories in the marketing literature, whereas others captured emergent theories based on an earlier exploratory study of industry conventions regarding atmospheric music. These scales were included in a mail survey sent to 221 Australian hotel and pub managers. Results revealed that the more managers believed atmospheric music: (a) influences customers to interact with staff, (b) must vary according to the time of day, (c) can draw customer into an establishment or drive them away, (d) makes customers stay longer than they otherwise would, and (e) eliminates unacceptable silences, the more they agreed that it influences the revenues, gross margins, and operating profits of their establishments; but the belief that (f) music should vary according to the age of the target market was actually negatively correlated with its perceived effect on financial performance. Only one of the six emergent theories was correlated with beliefs regarding the effect of music on financial performance (i.e., varying music by the time of day). These results are discussed in terms of findings previously reported in the literature, and recommendations are made regarding how managers can better utilise music to achieve operational goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-274
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2003


  • Atmospherics
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Music


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