Hotel Van Zandt’s Uber-Hip Director of Music Talks Tunes, Talent and Teambuilding

By Kelsey Ogletree, October 19, 2015

Though she’s a Millennial, Lauren Bucherie, director of music and social programming at Austin, Texas’ new Hotel Van Zandt, says she grew up listening to the smooth sounds of legendary artists that came decades before—think Motown Records and the Beatles, to name a few. “We were always going to shows,” she says of her family’s love of music. Starting her own music production company in her early 20s helped put her at the forefront of the music scene in Austin, where she’s lived for seven years. It’s ultimately led to her new rock star position with Hotel Van Zandt, where she’s fine-tuning the Kimpton property’s music program and is available to help with everything from playlists to teambuilding. Rejuvenate’s Kelsey Ogletree got the scoop.

What is your day-to-day like at Hotel Van Zandt?
I split my time between the hotel side and guest experience, and also with our restaurant venue, Geraldine’s, which has live music 365 days of the year. Booking bands for Geraldine’s is a monster in its own right, but what gets me really excited is the guest experience. I’m helping build our concierge team’s knowledge about weekly music hot spots in Austin. Whether guests want to see jazz or honky-tonk, we want them to be a beacon of musical knowledge so we can send guests to the right places.

What ways could you work with a group meeting in the hotel?
We’re going to offer some creative teambuilding exercises. For example, you can have a songwriter come in and work with a smallish group (50 or less) to develop a song about your organization within an hour. Icebreakers can be kind of mundane, but exercises like this help get people out of their comfort zones and really feel like they are in Austin.

We can also help book artists locally, or create customized playlists for your meeting rooms. Hotel Van Zandt has gone all out with its sound system. Each room can have its own soundtrack, and we can customize throughout the day.

What are some things planners should consider before booking a band or artist for an event?
If you reach out to an agent directly, that agent is definitely going to quote you the highest number possible. That’s the way their business works. I do have some relationships with artists, so I tend to know when an agent is throwing out a ridiculous number. Engage someone who can help do more research on that for you.

Also, be upfront about your budget. If you get a quote that seems really far off from your budget, always make that known. Often if you find someone who seems really out of your realm, but you come back and say, “We only have X amount,” they might still go for it.

Photo credit: Hotel Van Zandt

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