Maximizing Revenues Through In-Room Connectivity Options for Your Property
By Thomas W. Storey President of Hospitality, SONIFI Solutions | September 29, 2013
As the hospitality industry enters the Connect-Everywhere era, in-room connectivity and entertainment guest options like Wi-Fi, Video On Demand (VOD), broadband Internet access and HDTV in hotel rooms have rapidly become a key factor in the level of satisfaction experienced by business and leisure guests alike. Hotel guests are traveling with multiple mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. They need connectivity for these devices, whether they are using them for work-related activities or for entertainment purposes, as guests tend to multitask with these devices. The notion of the "connected guest" is leading hospitality solution providers to diversify their offerings to in turn enable hotels to satisfy travelers' ever-changing needs.
By working as a partner with hotel companies, connectivity and in-room entertainment providers have developed customizable solutions that maximize incremental revenue for hotel owners. But in order to approach this in the right way, hotels need to understand the price points at which guests will find a value proposition.
While connectivity and broadband are needed for all property types, there are distinctions to be made between different kinds of properties and the specific needs of their guests. If hotels can cater to guests' specific needs on a targeted basis, they can create more opportunities to generate incremental revenue that will add to their profit margins on an ongoing basis.
As you move up the chain scale of hotels, guests have different expectations. In the limited service economy and mid-priced segments of the lodging industry, there are fewer options that guests would be willing to pay for. At these types of properties, free-to-guest services generally include high-speed Internet access and high-definition televisions with a moderate selection of channels; however, the in-room entertainment offerings are usually limited. Again, guests are not necessarily expecting the plethora of options that they would have in a full-service hotel.
To see if there were any new trends appearing in guest entertainment expectations, SONIFI recently conducted a study detailing the in-room television viewing habits of more than 4,000 frequent travelers. This study, conducted in partnership with top hotel brands, has afforded SONIFI and our partners in the hospitality industry valuable insight into what guests really want from their in-room experience.
The study found that a total of 75 percent of respondents said that quality of picture, an interactive channel guide and easy-to-use menus were very important or important to a quality in-room television experience. And surprisingly, that the optimal number of channels was far less than the previously perceived "requirement" of 150 channels or more; however, the ability to choose niche or specialty channels "a la carte" in addition to a base of around 30 channels was preferred. Additionally, a key insight revealed in the responses was that guests are willing to pay for the ability to customize their in-room television channel lineup.