How entertainment on demand is matching guest needs


The mission of the modern hotel guestroom is to match a guest’s residential experience, and much of that revolves around accommodating the technology guests bring with them. The focal point of the guestroom has yet to change, even as hotels begin to remove work desks and tubs for relaxation. The guestroom TV grows ever larger and remains uncontested at the foot of the bed. But in an age where guests bring 2.5 additional screens along with them for a trip, how can the TV continue to consistently draw guest attention?

According to Kara Heermans, VP of product management and user experience at content provider Sonifi Solutions, entertainment on demand continues to remain popular with hotel guests, specifically for new movies still in theaters. Heermans said a VOD purchase takes place every four seconds on the Sonifi system, which records as many as 5,000 purchases per hour. 

“We are frequently contacted by hotels that have recently removed video on demand, and based on guest feedback they are telling us they want it back,” Heermans said. “Examples like this show we are still seeing interest in traditional content, but there is also new interest in leveraging the TV to manage OTT content, such as Netflix and Hulu.” 

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When Heermans speaks of OTT, she is referring to “over-the-top” content that specific hotel TVs are designed to access, such as streaming services hotel guests are likely to use at home. These services are limited only by a guest’s ability to access hotel Wi-Fi because the streaming services accessed through the guestroom TV operate off guests’ personal subscriptions. 

Fred Crespo, director of technology and business development at Samsung Electronics, said that there has been a shift from traditional entertainment on demand services in hotels, to more focus on these OTT offerings. Crespo said hotels are looking for ways to augment high-definition offers with over-the-top content that solely requires access to the hotel Wi-Fi as opposed to purchasing content on a marketplace.

“We see hotels cutting back on video-on-demand systems that may take many hundreds of dollars to install,” Crespo said. “From 2013 onward we have seen a bigger emphasis on facilitating OTT content.”

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