27.1.2023 | 5 min read.
We all know how it feels to arrive at a hotel after a long journey. You're away from home, perhaps you don't speak the local language, and you just want to relax for a bit and watch something good on TV. However, as most frequent travelers will have already experienced, this isn't always possible. If you want to use the hotel TV, you may find yourself restricted to either watching linear content or having to pay extra to access content on demand. Hotel guests deserve more from their viewing experience than what a standard linear content offering can provide. In many cases, guests must settle for watching their personal streaming subscriptions on a tiny portable screen. This is far from ideal, and an increasing number of hotels are now searching for better ways to offer more viewing options to their valued customers.
It's hardly surprising that guests want to be able to sit back and watch their chosen content on the hotel room TV. Viewing habits have changed significantly over the last decade. Subscription video on demand (SVOD) has become increasingly popular, and is the main source of entertainment for many, often in place of linear TV. With a plethora of streaming services to choose from, consumers have grown accustomed to being able to watch their favorite shows on demand, whenever and wherever they choose. In response to this, and in a bid to make the experience as good as it can be, many hotels are looking to provide access to streaming services on the hotel room TV. Hotels recognize that the majority of guests are not satisfied with simply accessing generic streaming accounts. Instead, they want to be able to access their own highly personalized environments so that they can pick up from where they left off with their favorite content, whatever that may be.
Streaming and casting are two very different ways of giving guests access to their own video accounts. So, should hotels offer access to streaming channels to satisfy content demand? For a guest to stream from an app on a fixed device in the room, such as a smart TV or STB, they will need to sign into their account. Typically, a guest will have to enter all of their sign in details and their password via the remote control, which is a tedious process that all of us want to avoid. Especially after what may have been a long journey, guests likely want quick and easy access to the entertainment of their choice.
As well as user experience issues, there are also potential security concerns when logging onto a fixed device, and consumers are understandably protective of their personal information. Some apps, such as Netflix, are prohibited in a commercial environment to ensure that accounts cannot be accessed by third parties. The system needs to be pre-approved, or the hotel chain must have a specific license agreement with the service provider in order to optimize security.
Casting, on the other hand, works differently. The hotel TV only needs to have a casting device (such as a Chromecast) installed externally, or a built in version of the casting software. Guests open the streaming app on their personal device and then cast to the TV, with no log-in required. The risk of personal account details being accessed by others at a later date is removed. The guest has peace of mind that their details are safe, and the hotel is protected from any data protection breaches. As an added bonus, many consumers already use Chromecast at home, so the process is familiar.
While Chromecast has been widely adopted by viewers, a standard consumer version is unsuitable for commercial settings such as hotels. Purchasing these solutions from a retailer, and connecting them in every hotel room, would cause a host of technical challenges. By working with a specialist in hospitality entertainment technology, hospitality companies can avoid common mistakes and ensure that guests are only able to cast to the device inside their particular room. This means that customers can enjoy their own viewing options without having access to their neighbor's selection.
It is clear that casting offers many advantages over streaming. It provides hotel guests with a robust and secure solution for accessing personalized on-demand content. However, as hotels adapt their in-room entertainment to meet the needs of the modern-day consumer, they must not alienate more traditional guests by removing linear TV entirely. According to data from Nielsen, a significant number of adults, particularly those aged over 55, still watch linear TV. So, the linear format should certainly stay on the in-room entertainment menu for now.
Hibox has already helped many hotels revolutionize their in-room entertainment, by offering casting as a service to guests. To find more about how Hibox Systems can support your media offering, and deliver a high-quality and user friendly TV solution, please get in touch.
We are a group of TV experts and engineers who have been creating interactive entertainment solutions for over a decade. We know the ins and outs of the business and look forward to working with you.