TALK: The future of in-room entertainment

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The potential rewards to a hotel that ‘gets it right’ for its guests are significant. As hotels try to set themselves apart from their competitors and provide guests with a memorable experience, one theme Sky has identified is the gap between what guests want and would value from in-room entertainment, and what many hotels are providing today. Entertainment is becoming fundamental to a guest’s view of their hotel’s offering.

To explore the opportunities, and challenges, of in-room entertainment, we spoke with Alison Dolan, Deputy MD at Sky Business.

How have guests’ expectations of in-room media and entertainment changed over the last few years?

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Our recent in-room entertainment survey showed that over 75% of business travellers and over 70% of holidaymakers aged between 18 and 34 want premium TV-content in their room. Basic Freeview is no longer sufficient – the majority of hotel guests now have some form of pay-TV at home.

Hoteliers need to listen to these messages. We are seeing that entertainment is one feature of a hotel’s offering that guests are increasingly vocal about online – it has be a source of real advocacy where a hotel gets it right, and can generate strong, positive online reviews. Equally however, it can be a real source of dissatisfaction where guests feel that they are being offered a sub-standing entertainment system in their rooms. Hospitality is a very competitive space, and in-room media and entertainment can set you apart.

Are hotels responding to this?

Some hotels are taking notice and are thinking about the profile of their customers, what they need and want and how to provide that. However, our study also brought out that – despite 65% of guests saying clearly that a bespoke in-room entertainment service is important – 36% of hoteliers said their reason for not providing that service was lack of customer demand. This disconnect needs to be resolved.

How has mobile made an impact?

The average UK adult spends almost four hours a day online, or on non-voice mobile and tablet activities. Explaining to them that there’s no WiFi is no longer an option. Part of the Sky Business offering is fast WiFi provided by The Cloud. This allows guests to check and send emails, access social media and all other online services. We’d encourage hoteliers to offer this to their guests. WiFi is vital to the modern guest – particularly business travellers.

When it comes to watching media, our study showed that 97% of hotel guests prefer to watch premium content on a TV, rather than a tablet. That’s something to consider. Despite the mobile boom – people clearly aren’t yet ready to switch fully to handheld devices.

Is it worth the investment?

The research speaks for itself – hotel guests expect access to high quality content tailored to them. This can be the difference between filling a room and losing out to a rival venue.

 

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