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Hoteliers: How Valuable Is Your TV Offering?


For too long, hotels have had little flexibility when it comes to the TV services they offer to their guests. Instead, they have been at the mercy of hefty licencing fees in return for cumbersome in-room systems. Even the electronic programme guides (EPGs) that accompany these systems leave a lot to be desired when it comes to being user friendly. The EPG is often buried three screens in before the guest can watch live TV.

Understandably, the choice of in-room entertainment that hotels offer can have a significant impact on the number of stars they are awarded, regardless of which ranking system is being used. Indeed, TV companies have traditionally pitched themselves at five-star resorts, knowing that this level of establishment has an appropriate budget put aside and will be prepared to sign a contract which ties them in for between five and seven years.

Despite this, while hotel guests may have access to hundreds of live TV channels, they are still expected to pay for movies. While, they may be offered early releases that haven’t yet hit the cinema, if the hotel happens to have a deal with a studio, do guests really want to pay for movies on top of their hotel room? Or do they even want to watch hundreds of channels?

The fact is that as more and more hotels offer high speed, secure, Internet access, guests have been downloading their movies before they leave home, and playing them when they get to the hotel. They can watch what they want, at great quality, without having to pay.  This article from Cabletime will discuss how guests use of in-room entertainment is evolving and how hotels can keep up with guest expectations.


Evolving Interactive TV

Fortunately, in-room entertainment is evolving, which means that hotels can offer something different to their guests. Today’s new solutions combine traditional live TV with over-the-top (OTT) content and TV on-demand. In addition, apps such as the weather, games, or even local maps and mood screens can be selected using easy to use EPGs. In short, in-room entertainment has become more varied, more accessible and more interactive.  

Where hotels were once obliged to charge guests to see a movie, now they can offer a wide range of services, and also enable guests to connect their laptop or tablet directly to the TV so they can stream their own choice of movie. They also benefit by being able to stream live, branded messaging into rooms and personalise this to suit the occupant. When the guest is ready to check-out, they can even access their room bill from the TV screen.

Of course, some cable companies already offer multiple channels and deliver them across hotel networks, which helps the hotel to keep costs down. But what if all of this could be offered and, in addition, an OTT system could work in tandem to meet guests’ increasing demands to watch their own content? These new solutions can augment existing RF systems, so guests can see all the RF channels being offered and access their own content via OTT seamlessly.

Understandably, hoteliers worry about the disruption and the up-front costs of any system installed into their establishments, but as long as they have high speed Internet, there is virtually nothing to install. OTT-based solutions can be accessed through a small box that sits behind the TV. There is no need to re-invest in expensive new high end equipment, everything is managed through software, and this means that there is zero risk, and minimal disruption to the hotelier.

Other considerations include in-room controls such as air conditioning, heating and lights, but they too can be connected into the interactive system if it features an interface to the building management system.

So, when it comes to considering what their current in-room TV entertainment system does for them, perhaps hoteliers should consider whether they can manage in-room signage, offer games, connect with the billing system, or brand the interface and EPG. These days, the delivery of TV and movies should come as standard, but all of the other features could make the difference between and three, a four, or even a five-star rating.

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