Hotel TV – Stop Paying & Start Growing

Hotel Technology Entertainment System
23rd March 2020

It’s March 2020 and the world is on lockdown. The hospitality industry that I love is in turmoil, caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Staff are laid off or furloughed, and everyone is looking at ways to cut costs.

It’s easy in these times to make knee-jerk reactions, and sometimes, it really feels like they are the only ones you can make. Things are moving so quickly, that often there is very little choice in how we all react to situations.

Here’s one of the ideas that I had.

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Count the Cost of Hotel TV

I’ve talked many times before about the value of a correctly designed TV system. I’ve also talked at length about why there is still value in having a correctly architected channel line up, and why the idea that people don’t watch channels anymore is somewhat of a fallacy.

Retro Television System

The thing is, we are in the most unexpected of times right now (March 24th 2020), and this calls for some serious measures. Those measures should not be a total switch off, or even removal of systems. No, for those hotels still open, a more granular approach is required.

As I’ve discussed many times before there are multiple components to Hotel TV systems. I don’t necessarily mean the technical and physical hardware components such as network switches and set-top boxes. I mean the actual parts the guest will use, modules is a common term or even features.

Hotel TV Modules

As I said above the normal Hotel TV systems is made up of a number of modules, software features, that provide functions to the guest. Some of these bring more benefit to the guest, some of these cost the average hotelier a lot of money.

Here’s a quick recap of some of the standard features you might find

Content Casting – Something we’ve looked at before. The ability to cast content from a guest device to the in-room Hotel TV.

OTT (Over The Top) Apps – Hotel TV Applications that a guest can access by logging in on the TV. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, you get the idea.

TV Channel Line up – Channels or programmes broadcast in linear format, like we have always had! Often with subscriptions or licensing costs, to be paid by the hotel.

VoD (Video on Demand) – A hotel’s own on-demand service where they can sell the latest Hollywood Movies to guests. Often a service the hotel may be tied into paying a monthly subscription for, whether the movies are watched or not.

Obviously there are many more components, but I’m sure the above examples are the most familiar.

Technology Design Covers TV Systems

Shifting the Cost of Hotel TV

Avoiding that knee-jerk reaction, when it feels like the time for action is hard.

So, I’m here to suggest a sort of halfway measure. With occupancy rates at all-time low’s, revenues are significantly reduced, so expenditure must be reduced.

In parts of the world where hotels and outlets can still operate, the answer to reducing expenditure is not to remove the cost, it is to shift the cost.

Let’s focus on the 4 modules above to explain. Of those 4 modules, there are 2 clear groups, these are the group that costs the hotel, and the group that costs the guest. The thing is people’s perception of which service falls into which group is often blurred.

Costs the Guest – Content Casting & OTT

Costs the Hotel – Hotel TV Channel Line Up & Video on Demand

I know, you’re screaming at me now that guests pay for VoD. Except, so does the hotel. Whether the guests pay or not.

You’re also saying that your hotel doesn’t charge for access to OTT apps or content casting, well, of course, that’s normal. That doesn’t mean the guest doesn’t pay for it though. Through their subscription. The subscription to the service that they cast to the Hotel TV or login to.

As for the TV channel licenses and contracts? Could this be the end? I’m not sure, but right now they, like many staff should be furloughed.

This is what I mean by shifting the cost. Now is the time to investigate how you shift the cost of your TV system from the hotel, to the guest. The answer for now at least, is to switch off services that fall in the costs the hotel group.

Let the hotel guest pay for what they want to watch without committing the hotel to future costs.

A Hotel TV remote

The Future

Here at HotelTCS, we are experts in Hotel Technology and brand standards. If you are involved in hotels and hotel technology and want to know how we can help you use technology to get through these times, get in touch.

In these times I have done my best to seek out people who could help you, exactly as I suggested above. One partner I found, ready to go with a TV solution that delivers to the guest without the need for linear channels is RoomNet.

Using their innovative AppleTV solution, they give guests access to all the OTT apps they wish for, with that familiar Apple Experience. I accidentally road-tested their solution recently at The East London Hotel, so feel confident to recommend it here.

I also discovered they provided services to one of my favourite hotel chains, those who pioneered affordable luxury.

Reducing the costs of TV Channels and Video on Demand and still enabling guests to access huge volumes of content, could be just the strategy you need to win the game. Then who knows, maybe those channels could return from their furlough after all!

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