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17.01.2024 | 7 min read.

The future of in-room entertainment for the hospitality industry

Mathias Johnson

Today's in-room environment is characterized by an intricate fusion of cutting-edge technology and tailored services, designed to cater to the varied preferences of the contemporary traveler. One could argue that hotels have never been at the forefront of adopting the latest technologies, but numerous global trends and emerging technologies are now driving change at an unprecedented pace. In this blog, we will delve into four of the important shifts in in-room guest experiences that we can anticipate in 2024.

1. In-room streaming is changing

The digital era has seen the rise of online streaming services, which gradually become an integral part of consumers’ daily lives. New viewing habits have led to an increased demand for accessibility and flexibility in viewing options, extending beyond the confines of a user’s home to other environments, like hotel rooms.

Chromecast has been utilized by the hospitality industry in recent years to adapt to this trend, serving as a straightforward solution to satiate the streaming appetites of guests. This device allowed travelers to effortlessly cast their favorite content from their devices to the hotel room TV. Over the past few years, we have overcome several obstacles to provide Chromecasting in hotels:

  • Chromecasts in the same network can be accessed by many users. This obviously isn’t feasible in hotels. Network security improvements like the Hibox CastGate protect the guest devices from eavesdropping and unintentional streaming to neighboring rooms.
  • External Chromecast dongles are vulnerable to theft, damage and wear and tear, requiring replacement or maintenance – both a cost and a hassle for service staff. This has been addressed elegantly by Philips with their built-in Chromecast in recent Android-based hotel TVs, also compatible with the Hibox CastGate.

However, the streaming landscape is changing and several recent developments have had an impact on how Chromecast is used for in-room entertainment solutions.

  • 3rd-generation Chromecasts are no longer available for purchase. The replacement for consumers is the Google TV with Chromecast, which requires end-user login for access to services like Netflix, and a management solution that ensures guest credentials and data are wiped upon checkout.
  • Google has lost a patent lawsuit on Chromecasting, which makes the future of the technology unclear for the time being. As highlighted in an article by Mark Munger, this case may have significant implications on streaming in hotels.
  • We know that LG and Samsung are working on novel ways for guests to stream content in in-room environments. Further news is expected either at the ISE show in Barcelona in February or later this year.

Several surveys already show that most consumers prefer streaming over watching linear TV. Guests will keep expecting personal streaming in hotels, but there’s no clear winner of the technical race to provide the best solution. The one thing we can state for certain is that new streaming technologies will be available in the next year or two.

2. Sustainability as a driver for business and tech

The availability of energy and its production methods have been stable for a long time, but things have changed due to climate change and, especially in Europe, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Travelers now tend to choose hotels based on their sustainability efforts to a larger degree than before. This eco-friendly preference is also driven by automated corporate travel itinerary tools. Additionally, we’re seeing the first pieces of legislation that mandates reductions in the carbon emissions in hotels in the UK, along with a net zero plan from the country’s hospitality industry organization. The legislation in countries that follow the UK’s example will influence purchasing decisions and drive businesses towards sustainable operations.

In-room technology vendors can support the green initiatives in many ways:

  • Heating and cooling of guest rooms is the main driver of carbon emissions in hotels, so the clever application of temperature and power management can have a significant impact. This can be achieved by integrating with room automation and power management systems, ideally driven by room reservation data from the PMS.
  • Centralizing the management of in-room equipment reduces the need for local servers. By also moving from local TV channel headends to streaming content, entire racks of local servers and appliances can be replaced by cloud-hosted platforms and services.
  • In-room equipment can be chosen not only based on their feature set, but also with consideration for their lifecycle emissions. The EU already updated their energy label classifications for electronics in 2021 and we’re going to see several similar initiatives to reduce emissions going forward.
  • EV charging stations must be made available to guests for European hotels in order for them to stay relevant. To compensate for the investment, the charging stations can be equipped with smart digital signage displays for marketing purposes. Also, the charging status can be made available to guests on digital surfaces in the room or on their phone, for maximum convenience.

3. Cutting the phone cord with in-room tablets

Another great application we expect to see more hotels adopt is in-room tablets. Mandated by quality rating requirements, many hotels have had to keep their cord phone subscriptions, essentially just for the mandatory emergency calls as well as to facilitate calls to the reception. In-room tablets are now replacing the traditional corded phones, offering a more interactive and versatile solution for guest communication and services. More than just a technological upgrade, such tablets can be used as strategic tools that enhance guest engagement while providing hotels with new avenues for service enhancement and revenue generation.

Versatility and branding opportunities

One of the key advantages of in-room tablets is their versatility. These devices can serve as a digital, brandable surface that hotels can use to promote their brand identity and services at little to no extra cost. With customizable interfaces, hotels can tailor the content and appearance of these tablets to reflect their unique branding, ensuring a consistent and immersive brand experience for guests. Supporting the full range of apps and web content, they can be tailored for each location to make the guest feel at home and provide links to the best local services.

Guest communication and service delivery

One highlight of in-room tablets is their capability to support various functions, including emergency calls, audio and video calls. This feature not only adds a personal touch to guest interactions but also enhances convenience, allowing guests to communicate with hotel staff from the comfort of their rooms. They can be used for everything from providing essential information about the hotel to sending personalized messages and alerts. This helps in creating a more personalized guest experience, making customers feel valued and well-informed throughout their stay.

Upselling and promotions

In-room tablets open up new opportunities for upselling and promotions. By presenting guests with tailored recommendations and offers directly on the tablet, hotels can effectively promote their in-house services, such as dining, spa treatments, or special events. This approach is not only more engaging but also allows for real-time updates and personalized promotions based on guest preferences and behavior.

4. More integration of XR and AI technology

These days, no trend report is complete without discussing the impact of Extended Reality (XR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) - regardless of the industry. The hospitality realm is naturally affected by these new emerging technologies.

The immersive experiences brought about by Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) can give a new spark to hotel services, offering unprecedented levels of personalization and interactivity. Some examples include AR-guided tours - which provide guests with an engaging way to explore the property and its surroundings; VR-based room previews that allow potential guests to virtually experience accommodations before booking; or AR-powered menus that can visualize dishes in an interactive and visually appealing way. Following the launch of technologies like Apple's Vision Pro, XR and spatial computing may also be set to offer new entertainment avenues. Guests in high-end locations might soon enjoy gaming, live events, shopping experiences, or virtual tours of local attractions, all from the comfort of their hotel room. This technology not only enhances the in-room experience but also adds value to the guest's stay.

Advances in AI could see in-room TVs act as personal concierge, augmenting hotel staff capabilities and efficiently handling guest inquiries, check-ins, and reservations. Imagine asking your TV to book a restaurant reservation or plan a day of sightseeing - this level of personalization is becoming a reality, with some hotels in English-speaking countries integrating devices like Alexa, or sophisticated AI-powered smart room systems, for voice control of room features, including curtains, lights, and air conditioning. Although the results of ChatGPT queries can seem overly confident and still contain errors, chatbot answers can be useful to broaden the perspective of travelers and hotel professionals.

Many of the extended reality use cases may feel too futuristic and distant, but the point is that AI and XR technologies are available and it’s up to the developers and providers to figure out how to use them in ways that are beneficial to hotels and their guests.


We believe these recent changes have the potential to reshape the way we think of hospitality technology in 2024, demonstrated by how these innovations are enhancing guest engagement and redefining the standards of luxury and convenience. Please follow our blog and come back to enjoy our latest perspectives on the industry.

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