What do I want to watch tonight? Why does my hotel have this channel and not another one? Can I afford to make the necessary technology infrastructure upgrades to my property? Making choices is a part of daily life, and it’s no different for hoteliers and guests. Here are the top five reasons why the power of in-room entertainment choice truly matters.
Channel Choice Is Crucial
Guests crave choice for their in-room entertainment, just like they have at home – think live channels, news, sports and streaming choices – so they can adjust programming to their mood, the latest trendy programming, or whatever they like. Offering content choice speaks to the personalization that is central to hospitality’s core and can lead to high levels of customer satisfaction, repeat business, and positive word of mouth.
Making in-room entertainment a top hotelier priority is crucial because guests are actively watching in their hotel accommodations. And, as a result of the pandemic, guests may be spending more time in their rooms, meaning channel choice is becoming more vital.
According to WorldVue, World Cinema Inc.’s (WCI) in-room entertainment platform that provides free-to-guest television programming, patented secured casting, streaming applications and hotel information, guests watched television 6.6 hours per day, 4.5 hours per channel, and 1.3 hours of streaming apps in 2020. Trends were similar for the first quarter of 2021, although there was an increase to 6.4 hours per channel. The top five channels viewed in 2020 were FOX News, NBC, ABC, CNN and ESPN; in the first quarter of 2021, the only difference was that MTV joined the top five instead of ABC. Netflix was the top app, hovering around 50% of total consumed hours for both 2020 and thus far in 2021.
Casting, Just Like At Home
The viewing choice craved by consumers goes beyond the channels on a hotel room’s HDTV. Guests want to watch what they want when they want it, and this desire provides a viewing freedom that is quickly becoming an expectation. As a result, hotels are increasingly offering casting capabilities – a move towards delivering increased choice and customization – allowing guests to cast from one of the multiple devices they travel with to a large screen HDTV.
The choice of casting helps create a “home away from home” for travelers, whether they are away for leisure or business. Information and entertainment should be delivered to the guest on their schedule in a flawless, convenient and intuitive way.
Customizing Channel Line-Up
Hotels have choice, too – with the channels they offer in their line-up. There’s no single template they’re required to follow. Hotels can emphasize more news or sports channels or family programming depending on their guest profile, providing a deeper level of personalization.
Leveraging choice allows hoteliers to think strategically. Gone are the days of offering 100 channels with nothing desirable to consume; quality should trump quantity. It’s more important to deliver a core 40-channel lineup of the most popular content and give travelers access to casting and popular streaming apps than focus on promoting a high number of channels.
Managing Tech Infrastructure Costs
Going high-tech doesn’t have to mean going high-cost. In-room entertainment solutions and an increase in contactless interactions require a solid technology infrastructure, but hoteliers don’t need to incur exorbitant costs. There is exceptional choice with sophisticated, flexible in-room entertainment solutions, and vendors are willing to work with hoteliers and deliver the solution that best matches their budget.
The goal is not to install anything overly complex, which could result in diminished returns. Instead focus on implementing an in-room entertainment system that seamlessly integrates with guests’ personal devices, uses a touch-less, familiar interface, and emphasizes a reliable network connection – a cost-effective move benefiting hotels for years to come. Current solutions for creating a sophisticated in-room entertainment experience can work over an existing network and with current televisions, integrate with the PMS, and fit with brand standards.
According to Robert Grosz, EVP and Chief Commercial Officer of WCI, “Providing an excellent digital in-room experience requires a thoughtful and well-executed technology strategy. By doing this, properties can scale up their technology enhancements incrementally and extend existing business system functionality throughout every guest touch point. Having a strategic plan in place also enables properties to quickly adapt to new technology advancements and meet the ever-evolving needs of guests.”
Incorporating Choice During Construction
Build smart from the start – mapping out in-room entertainment solutions before a hotel is built provides excellent guest choice right from the beginning.
Charting out in-room entertainment takes careful planning and should be an important consideration in the design phase of a property. Hotels can save money by having the network infrastructure installed at construction, plus they will be poised to deliver the in-room entertainment travelers want from the onset. It makes the power of choice a priority, from guests choosing what to watch and hoteliers determining the optimum in-room entertainment solution at the right budget for them.