The cable companies that have cornered the market in hospitality and hotel in-room TV entertainment solutions are onto a good thing. It’s unlikely, however, that from the hotel or hospitality manager’s perspective the picture looks quite so rosy. Sure, you get content, you can keep guests entertained, but is it what they are actually looking for?
In the vast majority of cases, today’s key hospitality solutions providers are offering only ‘stovepipe’ options to the hotel trade. The content available is what the cable companies decide to push down their particular pipe, with little choice in how to customize the interface, alter the range of content or mix it with content from other sources e.g. OTT. Once the hotel signs a contract, which can be lengthy, there is little wriggle-room to alter or adapt the services on offer until the contract period is terminated. What this means is that they are unable to modify the in-room TV entertainment offering to suit promotions or to assist with revenue generation for the hotel.
Many hotel chains have found that they need to invest in expensive ‘hotel-specific’ TVs in order to meet protected or premium content standards. This often means TVs fitted with pro-idiom decryption functionality which can increase the cost of the hardware and impact on their ability to select alternative or additional content sources.
The irony of this is that content changes constantly, and any hotel group that is serious about offering high quality in-room TV entertainment will understand that keeping up with these changes is a vital part of the experience that it offers to its guests. What hotel operator would choose to wait until their current package or contract has expired before being able to tune the content offering to remain relevant within a highly competitive market?
There are alternatives, and the hotel and hospitality industry does have a choice. You don’t have to look too far to find TV content solutions that work with existing RF and IPTV installations and support delivery across these networks, even to the extent that they can be managed and operated together within the same Electronic Programme Guide.
Managers can demand more flexible options with the ability to promote the hotel’s guest folio, support the display of special promotions and broadcast advertising for the hotel’s services. What is more, to enhance the guest experience, these solutions will also provide the facility to see the room bill and facilitate checkout.
Integrators who have been restricted by the market dominance of one or two big players and who are looking for a viable, but reliable alternative to offer their hotel clients now have a choice. It might be that they want to add to existing cable TV services with OTT options, and there are solutions available that can do this seamlessly. This represents a revenue raising opportunity for integrators but also for hotel operators who can generate additional income from the ability to customize the services and promotions on offer to guests. This is regardless of whether the hotel has a legacy RF infrastructure or a modern high-speed internet facility.
These new solutions are ideal for franchise and privately-owned hotels with between 50 and 200 rooms. There is no risk to the hotel operator because they will get everything they would expect from a more traditional supplier, including features such as a wide choice of popular shows, access to favorite apps including Netflix, YouTube and Crackle and game apps for children.
And as for integrators, the most obvious route to market is alongside their provision of high-speed Internet and WiFi solutions, where the new breed of in-room TV entertainment can be supplied as a profitable addition to their infrastructure offerings to hotels. They are already doing the vast majority of the legwork, but by adding flexible IPTV into their portfolio, they no longer have to leave additional profits on the table for the legacy TV distribution and solutions companies.