When most people travel, they imagine watching TV in the restaurant, bar or guestroom, not on the pool deck or in other outdoor locations. So when the technology for outdoor TVs began to emerge, hoteliers had to ask themselves whether or not guests would even be interested in using the devices in exterior spaces. The short answer is: Absolutely.
When Michael Sloan, president of SkyVue Outdoor TV, started developing all-weather TVs he expected interest in the devices to be limited strictly to the commercial market, but recent years he has seen the hospitality industry take a liking to the displays.
“These TVs are big in the luxury and high-end segments, but by the same token they can be for anybody who wants to be outdoors, even in residential,” Sloan said. While it is tempting to imagine hotels simply dropping a TV outside for guests to look at, Sloan said the durability of all-weather TVs allows them to moonlight as maps, signage and menus for guest use.
According to Julian Miller, GM of the Eventi hotel in New York City, improvements to high-definition technology have made outdoor TVs more viable due to increased clarity. The Eventi is equipped with a 30-foot-by-16-foot HD light-emitting diode jumbotron customized for outdoor use. The TV primarily broadcasts live entertainment such as sports and award shows, but it can also be used to showcase the work of local artists.
"The 'Big Screen'... is also frequently used for social and corporate events, and the sound can be piped into the hotel's meeting and event spaces on the third and fourth floors," Miller said.
"A growing trend among hotels located in high-traffic metropolis areas is the interest in installing high-brightness commercial displays to help extend and reinforce their branding beyond the walls of their hotel," said Dan Smith, senior director of sales for LG Electronics USA.
Sloan said that the biggest thing keeping TVs indoors until the creation of this new industry about a decade ago is that the demand for outdoor TVs simply wasn't prevalent.
"Outdoor displays are not things people have searched for in the past,” Sloan said. “This is evolution on behalf of the consumer, as opposed to on the product side."