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Saturday , September 23 2017

Guests demand a better-than-home TV experience

There has been a massive transformation in the world of home entertainment due to the quantity of content accessible via the internet.

Consumers now absorb an enormous amount of film and TV by downloading and streaming via handheld devices or their smart TVs. Affordable, and now commonplace, in many homes smart TVs offer internet-connected activities like apps, media streaming and games. This convergence of multimedia supply, means that many of your guests arrive with up-to-the-minute tech-xpectations.

Guests want to customise their TV entertainment experience and access entertainment in new ways. They want to stream their own media, mirror content, play their own games, use social media apps and stay connected to their personal devices. They expect to be able to access a range of good quality movies and their favourite shows via a screen with high definition (HD) or even 3D capabilities. As the domestic TV market changes beyond recognition, the accommodation industry can only try to stay ahead of the game.

If your in-room guest entertainment package isn’t currently up to scratch, you are not alone. A recent hotel management survey commissioned by Samsung Business revealed that “when it comes to hotel TVs, many are failing to provide the in-room entertainment experience that guests expect.” Out of a sample size of 200 hoteliers, more than one-in-five had not replaced guestroom TVs in over six years.

Budget limitations can limit the technological innovations you can provide but this might not be optimal if guests have better televisions at home and arrive for their stay expecting to be wowed. The survey also revealed that “hoteliers do have plans for future upgrades” with plans for access to streaming video application, mobile device integration and ultra-high definition all priorities. The study stated: “Thirty-six percent of hoteliers also indicated they would make the resolution upgrade within three years.” So, what should you consider when you decide to revamp your guests’ in-room entertainment experience?

Size does matter.  A perfectly proportioned TV in the guest room is crucial to guest satisfaction and although size is partly dependent on the dimensions of the room and the distance from where the TV is positioned, there is a trend toward larger screens.

Ensure quality. A top quality TV will provide excellent sound and picture quality, important when guests are sharing their own content. From your point of you, the less calls you receive about malfunctioning remote controls or glitch-y smart TVs, the better. For better or worse, guests might be judgemental about what brands they would personally choose for their own homes so it is always a good idea to shop around and think carefully before making purchases.

Be industry specific. Ideally, technology that is designed for commercial, or hospitality, use is manufactured with industry needs in mind. Smart hospitality TVs not only provide privacy safeguards but can have many other useful abilities. For instance, they can collect industry information, room billing, flight information, branded user interface, room service ordering, personal video recording, on-demand content, etc.

Offer choice.  Guests now rely on their hand-held devices and expect a wide choice of in-room entertainment viewing options. If you can offer an HD screen, support streaming applications and allow them to utilise their own content, you are certainly on the right track. Embrace a progressive attitude, particularly if you want to appeal to millennials and the even younger iGen (Generation Z) market.

Move towards mobility. BYOD allows guests to bring a device into the hotel, access hotel content and view their own content via an in-room TV. Companies like Netflix provide media and entertainment options that guests can assess for a private fee but there is also free content anyone can access online via Catch Up TV.

Easy connectivity. Do you have HDMI cables you could lend to guests? The growth of the ‘second screen’, or built-in screen sharing systems, has increased demand for easy and user-friendly mirroring and content sharing between TVs and other smart devices. Guests and conference delegates want simple and secure connections not just for charging their devices but projecting their content to a big screen, whether for personal enjoyment or rehearsing business presentations. Business guests will love being able to connect to their in-room monitor while working, rather than having to hunch over a small laptop screen.

Compatibility. Confirm that your TV package is compatible with all your property’s protocols and that there is a fully automated time saving process to control each TV.

Offer a bespoke entertainment package. Impress your guests by offering high quality, flexible in-room entertainment, that goes a little beyond the bare minimum free-to-air TV, whether it’s with a cable package or streaming-based service (or both).

Not every accommodation provider can offer the highest tech entertainment options available but it is important to keep an eye on hotel entertainment trends. Do whatever you can to help your establishment rise above the competition; in-room entertainment is just one way to help make this happen, after all. Improving guest experiences will always help you to succeed in your market.

About Mandy Clarke, Industry Reporter

Mandy Clarke, is an industry reporter for accomnews.com.au.

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