Entertainment on demand's next big upgrade

This is part three in a series on entertainment on demand. Click here for part two: Why guests still expect video on demand.

"The industry is in early adopter mode.”  This may seem like a strange sentiment for entertainment on demand, a service that has come to be well established in hotels. But Craig Snelgrove, VP, business development for Bulk TV & Internet, said DirecTV is launching an On Demand platform at the same time as Marriott and other brands have begun to make OTT content standard. 

“We are finally at a point where the major brands have mandated full HD lineups,” Snelgrove said. “The major brands outside of Marriott are primarily monitoring the rollout of early models for entertainment on demand. They want to know if a greater investment in the amenity is going to give a return on investment, and see what the best solution is.”

Kara Heermans, VP of product management and user experience for Sonifi Solutions, said that 2016 is expected to bring with it a rise in guest demand for OTT content. “They will want it across the board; it may even be a differentiator in deciding hotel bookings,” Heermans said. 

While OTT solutions are the next phase of guestroom entertainment investments, Fred Crespo, director of technology and business development at Samsung Electronics, said some hotels need more investment than one would think. Last year saw major industry investment when hotels traded high-definition TVs for ultra HD or 4K devices, but Crespo encountered many hotels still broadcasting analog content.

“OTT content is beginning to penetrate hospitality, and now that this has begun it is creating the expectation of content, which hotels are going to have to meet,” he said.