Hotels need to put the ‘guest’ back at the forefront of guestroom entertainment

6 November, 2018

A new survey from Hotel Internet Services (HIS) highlights that mainstream technology, such as online streaming and voice-activated assistants, are having a profound effect on guest behaviour and their evolving hotel stay expectations. While hoteliers are amending their content offering the provider of internet services and solutions for the hospitality industry says the findings show guests are no longer interested in traditional hotel amenities, such as video-on-demand (VOD) or guestroom telephones.

The report, 'Putting the Guest Back into Guestroom Entertainment', based on a survey of both hoteliers and their guests, reveals that more than half of today's guests prefer to stream their own content from subscriptions such as Hulu or Netflix, with many hoteliers already having eliminated their VOD services entirely.

Also of note is the fact that a majority of guests would now seek out a property with a guestroom entertainment platform that allows them to wirelessly cast content from personal devices onto larger guestroom television screens. To adept hospitality professionals, such a wide-ranging preference could serve to open up a valuable personalised hotel-to-guest communications channel that is more aligned with contemporary demands for instant service and access to information.

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The findings include an impressive amount of guest feedback that demonstrates the desire for an entertainment device that, in addition to casting, also allows access to details on available hotel amenities, along with the ability to connect with hotel departments and make requests for services such as in-room dining.

While enhancing room revenue, hoteliers surveyed also indicated an ability for such features to streamline operations and reduce service wait times. Of priority to guests, however, is the need for such platforms to also be equipped with security and privacy features that safeguard personal information, such as usernames, passwords and browsing history.

"Impressive advancements in mainstream entertainment and communications technology have taken place during just the last decade, and as an industry that caters to mainstream consumers, the hospitality market must adapt in order to continue meeting guest expectations and earning their business," says Gary Patrick, CEO of Hotel Internet Services.

While many hoteliers are aware that innovations such as content streaming and voice control are gaining in popularity, a sizeable number are still unaware of how such technology fits into the hospitality space, especially in a way that is affordable and that ultimately serves to enhance profitability.

Although still a relatively new technology, virtual assistants and the ability to manage amenities using voice control have already gained considerable traction among guests, according to HIS research. For example, the report notes that almost two in three (60%) guests would be likely to use such a functionality, if made available.

With guests again indicating a desire for a multifunctional solution, various features were ranked highly that should be included as a voice-activated service, including the ability to control in-room amenities, such as televisions, thermostats and lighting. Further strengthening the potential to increase in-room amenities is the fact that many respondents also stressed the convenience-enhancing ability of virtual assistants when requesting additional hotel services.