As travel bookings continue to rise with summer road trips, staycations and even work travel, guests are returning with new expectations. Alongside social distancing, hand washing and contactless experiences, guests have become accustomed to choice.
At home, you want fish and chips? Just get it delivered. Need new slippers? Online shopping has it all. Want to watch your favorite Netflix series? Stream it.
This convenience and instant gratification are amplified when traveling, where guests are looking to ironically, “disconnect” and relax. With a few upgrades, guests can get the same home comforts by ordering room service and requesting service items with hotel staff (as in the examples above), but what about in-room entertainment?
Allowing your guests to watch their own content with a TV casting solution is a simple update that will drastically increase guest satisfaction.
What is it?
Casting allows video, music or other content to play on a different screen or display. Unlike traditional hotel entertainment options like premium channels, pay-per-view or even smart TVs, casting lets guests use their own devices to play their favorite content on the in-room TV. Not to be confused with screen mirroring, which just displays the same content that’s playing on the device, casting designed for hotels allows guests to multitask and use the same connected device for work or social feeds.
Why do your guests want it?
First, it’s easy. Whether it’s to watch the latest film, work out, listen to music or stream a business training video, guests want to watch what they want, when they want. With casting, they have immediate access to their preferred media and entertainment apps, without the painful process of logging-in using the remote. Use Wi-Fi to automatically pair the device to the TV, click ‘play’ and enjoy.
Second, it’s expected. Shutdowns and lockdowns made binge-watching the new norm. Streaming service subscriptions exceeded a billion subscribers worldwide last year. As more people “cut the cord” and stream their own content, staying at a hotel without this viewing option will lower satisfaction scores. As all parents know, it’s extremely stressful having to explain to a child that Spongebob or Peppa Pig isn’t on after eight hours of travel.
Third, it feels like home. When traveling to different countries and facing language barriers, getting stuck watching one news channel in your language can feel boring and isolating. Casting allows guests to choose the content and the language most comfortable to them. Additionally, many people already travel with their own tablets to stream films when premium channels let them down, and equipping guests with technology that connects to the in-room TV is mutually beneficial. Guests watch what they want, and hotels know their investment (the TV) is actually being used.
Fourth, it’s secure. Guests can securely stream their preferred media without logging onto a public device or downloading anything on their own device. For solutions built for hotels, there’s no need to worry about accidentally connecting to the room next door or being logged out upon check out. Guests don’t need to share passwords with the hotel (or even remember them.)
Fifth, it’s cost-effective. Instead of paying for hundreds of channels or apps that guests may or may not want, casting lets guests bring their own content. If adding a device and service seems cost-prohibitive, some vendors offer subscription pricing to upgrade now and pay a fee over time, eliminating any high upfront costs.
After a challenging year of drastic, continuous shifts in processes and shutdowns, we are all ready to get back out on the road. Knowing that guest expectations have changed, let’s rethink what is considered a comfortable or a deluxe offering in the room. By switching to TV casting, hotels can deliver a home-like entertainment experience to delight customers and keep them coming back.
The original post appeared in Hotel Owner.
Hauke Lenthe, Managing Director, EMEA & APAC: Brings more than 25 years of hospitality and international hotel technology experience, spanning from managed internet services to operational and guest-facing software. Previous roles include Vice President of Middle East and Africa in Dubai at iBAHN and Executive Vice President at Shiji Group supporting Hetras Cloud PMS. He also served as Partner and CCO for Neorcha, a Dubai-based hotel app startup.