White paper reveals how hoteliers, guests value in-room entertainment

ADB white paper (ADB white paper reveals hoteliers, guests value IRE services differently)

A new white paper reveals critical research about what hoteliers and guests deem important in a hotel's in-room entertainment offerings, specifically relating to the guestroom TV experience. The "2016 In-Room Entertainment Preference Study," commissioned by ADB and conducted by The Consultancy at Pointer's Ridge, reveals hoteliers consider several IRE services to be more important than guests do.

“We wanted to learn how closely the hotel TV experience should mirror what guests have at home; whether they prefer to view their own content in the hotel (bring your own content, BYOC); how guests prefer to watch BYOC (do they connect to the TV and how, or use their own device, BYOD); and what they expect to find in the guest room of tomorrow,” said Chris Dinallo, SVP business TV for ADB. “We asked similar questions of hoteliers, and then compared the data.”

Approximately 2,000 hotel stayers representing stays at luxury, upscale, midscale and economy tiers were surveyed for this project. The survey instrument was developed on a strong foundation of hotel industry executive interviews and consumer focus groups, where participants were asked in-depth questions about how they use the hotel in-room TV today, and what they want or foresee in the future of hotel in-room entertainment solutions. Respondents were then asked to rate the appeal of current programming and services and propose new in-room entertainment features.

What Is Important

One of the findings revealed that hoteliers and guests value IRE services differently. Hotel executives tend to weigh most services more strongly than guests. Hoteliers all rated interactive program guides, searchable IPG, over the top services (Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, Hulu, etc.) and screencasting (the ability to show OTT displays and other services from guests own devices via the TV screen) highly. Hoteliers also see video on demand and pay-per-view programming to be of high importance.

Other strong hotelier opinions included:

  • A robust property-management system interface is a must-have for many of these services.
  • Guests want a home-like TV experience in the room.
  • Guests really want to stream their own content to the hotel room TV.
  • Among guests, the in-room TV experience is important, but not important enough to drive the choice of hotel by itself. While guests also put a high value on IPG (searchable or otherwise), OTT and screencasting, they do not see it as important as hoteliers. The same holds true for VOD and PPV. On the other side, guests say that hotel and local area information channels are important, while hoteliers see less value. It's important to note that guests, particularly Millennials, really do want to view their own content on hotel room televisions.

What Millennials Consider Important

Researchers learned that age groups prioritize IRE service differently. When compared to older age groups, 73 percent of millennials consider TV “very important" vs. 54 percent of older guests.

They also discovered that millennials assign a higher priority to almost all services compared to the other groups, with boomers showing a pretty steep drop in preference compared to younger travelers. This insight shows that a hotel built to service the millennial traveller needs a robust and feature-rich IRE offering.

Finally, "guest messaging" revealed itself as an emerging technology. The survey explored guest perceptions about feedback on service requests and the ability for a meeting planner to send targeted messages to their group members only. Survey respondents overwhelmingly said they want to be contacted. The preferred contact medium, especially for millennials, was the hotel room TV and text message.

Mobile Technology

When it comes to mobile technology, guests carry an average of 1.71 smartphones and 1.49 laptops in the traveling party. Millennials, however, carry more devices than other age groups, an average of 2.48 smartphones and 2.22 laptops per travel party, pulling up the averages. They carry more tablets, too. When asked "Which, if any, of these devices do you connect to/watch over your hotel room TV?" the surprising finding was that 57.4 percent of guests are attempting to connect their own devices to the in-room TV (via a cable or streaming device).

Most guests, across all age groups, have accounts with Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime and Hulu. Currently, 62.1 percent of millennials, 52.2 percent of Gen X and 17.2 percent of boomers are using their own devices to stream media while at the hotel. Guests would prefer to watch streaming media via the hotel room TV: 37 percent of millennials would prefer to enter a passcode into the TV; 23.9 percent of millennials would prefer to use Chromecast, Roku or a similar device; 26.2 percent of millennials would prefer to use an HDMI cable or the like; and 27.6 percent percent of millennials would prefer to stream their media wirelessly to the TV.