Skip to main content

Casting: An Amenity Guests Now Expect to Be Standard

Unlike Wi-Fi, TV on demand has the promise of driving ancillary revenues.
phone displaying multiple streaming services
Advertisement - article continues below

Humanity has certain basic requirements to survive and, it is hoped, thrive. The United Nations has views on this.

Hotel guests take a similarly rigid stance on what they expect out of a hotel stay and this has barely evolved since properties decided that the local stable counted as decent overflow accommodation.

A comfortable bed, a shower and a lockable door is the baseline we all expect in return for our money, across the segments. The shower may be shared but should still be accessible. Even hotels in the higher echelons don’t offer food as a matter of course with the basic room rate, something where they may face strong debate with the UN.

After many happy centuries of our paid-for home-from-home, guests’ basic needs have evolved. The battle for free (and decent) Wi-Fi has spilled over from angry conference debates into angry finger jabbing at hotel reception desks. Hotels felt that, after spending out on expensive networks - often signing themselves into costly agreements for decades - they had the right to charge guests to recoup the cost.

Guests did not share this opinion. Hotels were determined to continue to see Wi-Fi as an object of value and it was used as a lure to build loyalty program membership. The battle then moved to premium Wi-Fi access.

Guests continued to insist that Wi-Fi was a basic requirement of a stay and that, as such, they shouldn’t be paying for it. It was, went the rallying cry, like water. ‘But you pay for Wi-Fi in your houses!’ went the response. ‘And for water!’ Guests were unmoved.

But before hotels could come up with a way to charge for tap water, the battle was lost. Surveys reported that guests would not stay in a hotel which didn’t offer free Wi-Fi and that was that. Even Airbnb made a point of highlighting which properties had exemplary Wi-Fi. One study found that guests favored Wi-Fi over hot water.

Hotels now have to, well, suck the cost of Wi-Fi up. They can no more charge for it than they can charge for heating, cooling or use of carpet. It has become a basic amenity.

Hotels were hoping that was it for the next few centuries, but guests have evolved away from being happy with what they are given and have become more demanding. Part of this is good old consumerism, allowing us to fill our homes with the latest technologies and comforts in a way we just couldn’t before the good old days of the 1950s. When staying away from home we expect the same if not better.

This means that hotels face a new basic amenity in the form of content, a mere few years after swallowing the cost of Wi-Fi. Being able to access your Netflix/Disney+/insert myriad other platforms on the hotel TV is rapidly becoming this season’s must have. TV on demand is the newest guest demand.

Is casting the new water? Rapid adoption across the sector suggests that it is, but before the bottom line starts to take the strain, hotels can console themselves that this need not be a repeat of the water/Wi-Fi debate.

Choosing a casting product which offers a fully-interactive  - and brandable  - TV platform means that hotels can promote additional services and facilities which can be used to build a relationship with the guest, but also drive ancillary revenues.

A guest which is sitting happily in their room is a guest which is more likely to order room service than stray away from the property and buy their dinner outside the compound. They are also more likely to order more, away from the judgmental voice of the receptionist taking an order for extra chips.

One of the restricting factors for Wi-Fi were those costly contracts, made all the most traumatic because of the banks of computers and routers required to keep networks upright. The cloud means that all of this can be now achieved offsite, so hotels need no longer have a mysterious room full of winking and humming equipment which no one in the building can fix when it goes wrong. And when it does? Issues can quickly be resolved remotely.

All of this leads to an improved guest experience, increasing the chances of that most-wanted of all hotel results: true and lifelong loyalty. It also leads to higher ratings from hotel guests, ratings which will translate directly into higher room rates.

Adding casting need not mean adding cost. At the least, it should be cost neutral. At best, revenue generating.

So, give your guests what they want: turn that water into wine.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds