FOUNDER JOURNEYS: HOW ROB WOOD TUNES IN AND TURNS OFF
Lauren Ho, travel editor of Wallpaper* magazine, chats to Rob Wood, founder of Music Concierge.
As the founder of Music Concierge, a dynamic music consultancy business that provides bespoke soundtracks to the luxury hotel, food and beverage and retail industries, Rob Wood is used to pushing boundaries. Since its establishment in 2007, the company has accrued a gold list of global clients including Mulberry, Park Hyatt and Heston Blumenthal, and with the view that music changes how people think, Wood’s enterprising attitude has seen Music Concierge expand from Europe across the world to the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australasia. Suffice to say, Wood, a former music journalist and DJ, travels extensively and says he loves learning about different cultures and that seeing the sheer geography of countries like The Maldives, Kenya, China and India is staggering.
What has been the most unexpected experience you’ve had on your business travels?
When, consulting on a luxury hotel in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, I was taken to the top of the world’s tallest building before it was complete and was surprised that I needed to be connected via a harness to the wall. When I protested, I was told that, because there were no windows yet, I could easily be blown straight out the other side by a gust of wind! I protested no more.
How has travel impacted your life and your business?
We provide our music services to clients in over 75 countries and travelling to meet stakeholders and to see their incredible projects has been essential. As an avid record collector, visiting record shops in cities all over the world is also a labour of love for myself and our team of brilliant music consultants.
What are the three things that help you achieve a good work-life balance while on the road?
Stretching, swimming, and my lovely wife and kids on the other end of the phone.
Describe your travel style in three words
In five words: cramped – not enough business class!
What travel destination has been the most important to your business and what have you learnt about it?
Before Music Concierge, I was a music journalist and, through various assignments, I spent a lot of time in New York City, where I met musicians and DJs, while writing about the history and the sounds of the city. NYC is such a cauldron of music scenes, it stood me in good stead of always having eclectic taste and open ears.
What are the most important factors in a good piece of luggage?
It must be strong, lightweight and very easy to manoeuvre.
What is the one surprising thing that is always in your carry-on luggage?
Headphones (not surprising in my line of work) and ear plugs (more surprising in my line of work).
What is the ultimate packing tip?
Have two of all essentials, so that you can have a permanently packed suitcase and wash bag.
What makes a trip a journey?
Local insight – having a friend or a client give you the inside track on a destination and to take you off the beaten path. This exposes you to the real life and the true culture of a place. Rather than simply going and seeing, you end up learning and experiencing.
Where are you off to next?
I am mid-air as write this, on route to Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, in Baden Baden, to consult on its gorgeous new restaurant and bar called Fritz & Felix.