The changing landscape of Entertainment on Demand

Entertainment on Demand has been a fixture in the hotel guestroom for nearly as long as TVs. But in the face of streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, which guests can carry with them in their laptops or phones, how is Entertainment and Video on Demand faring?

For Scott Hansen, the director of guest technology for Marriott International, Entertainment on Demand is still a necessary service for hotel guests—but not in the traditional sense of buying through the TV and paying upon check out. Hotels view the option to offer in-room movies as necessary, however, improvements could be made to the experience, Hansen said.

“We are moving toward content access that guests would find in their own home,” Hansen said. “Inclusive basic features, such as an interactive program guide, are in the future.”

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Hansen also said there is potential for opportunities to use digitized content through Video on Demand, such as cloud-based services that are hosted off property. As it stands, however, Hansen is focused on expanding Entertainment and Video on Demand as a service for hotel guests and not a main revenue driver. 

“Could we work it out to where we get a good cut for every purchase or signup? Absolutely, but we still don’t see it as a significant opportunity,” Hansen said. 

Oz Eleonora, chief revenue officer for interactive content and connectivity provider Sonifi Solutions, also said that Entertainment on Demand is trending toward increased interactivity in hotels. For Eleonora, this is part of a greater movement in hospitality to combine entertainment, information and service to create new scenarios for digital interaction between hotels and guests. That means more opportunities for hotels to connect with guests via technology, with one facet of that consisting of Entertainment on Demand.

“Entertainment is an element of this evolution, but is not necessarily the key driver,” Eleonora said. “Digital communication technology in hospitality, between the guest and hotel, is in a definition phase. Nobody knows what the final picture will be, but phones as room keys is one example, but designers are all experimenting and nobody knows what the final picture will look like.”