In-Room Entertainment: Apps & WiFi Key to Guest Satisfaction


Move over, plain vanilla in-room TV experience, a hot-off-the-presses research study shows today’s hotel guests are looking for something way more exciting.

In days past, cable TV with the ever-present HBO might have been enough to attract guests, but today’s hotel visitors are accustomed to the many choices they have at home. Consequently, their expectations while traveling are much higher than they used to be.

In the ongoing quest to improve the guest experience, decision-makers for hotels and brands from every tier are being told the new holy grail of the in-room entertainment (IRE) experience is to create an “at-home” experience. But the new study suggests this is only partially correct.

Not surprisingly, guests still say in-room entertainment is important to them. What is surprising, however, is that guests say they actually expect the in-room experience to be as good or better than what they have at home. Better in what ways? They cite picture clarity, more channels and premium content as the areas driving their expectations. And the research shows that guest expectations for a superior in-room entertainment experience escalate as you move up the price scale.

The research was sponsored by ADB Global, a leading provider of iTV software and solutions. ADB commissioned an independent research firm to do the study. They used qualitative methodologies and a quantitative survey of 2,100 consumers, which is large enough to project the results to the universe of North American hotel guests, generally. In addition to the consumer studies, they also conducted interviews with hotel executives. The contrasts between consumer and hotelier perceptions were fascinating, with hoteliers often rating the importance of IRE services higher than guests, particularly for services such as pay-per-view and video check out.

Findings show that 44% of guests are watching streaming media on their own device, a number that grows to 52% for Generation X and 62% for millennials. The unexpected finding: A significant number would actually PREFER to watch their streaming media on the hotel room TV if they could (37% of millennials and 29% of Generation X). Especially revealing of guests’ changing behavior is many are already taking matters into their own hands with 57.4% of all guests attempting to connect their devices to the guestroom television, and this is true of 75% of millennials!

More than just enabling travelers to watch their own content on the larger screen of the in-room TV, guests would also like the in-room television to become a hub of information and communication. Guests desire interactive program guides (like they have at home), better hotel and area information, free video on demand, group messaging and the ability to pause live TV.

When travelers were asked how they would prefer hotels communicate with them regarding items like housekeeping and fulfilling other requests, more than 50% said they wanted the information texted to their mobile device and displayed on the in-room TV.

These kind of communications features were especially attractive to millennials. Nearly a third, 29%, said they would pay extra for them, with that number jumping to 47% when asked specifically about paying extra for getting conference messages, schedules and other group related communication unique to them. As more travelers from younger generations grow up, in their jobs and in their leisure pursuits, they will be the influential group, the influencers our industry should be looking to for cues. This younger group is both discerning and demanding, and the hotel industry needs to take note when designing their IRE systems.

While not every hotel may be able to offer every type of entertainment feature guests want, it is important for decision makers to understand guest desires and trends in the IRE space. The bar is forever being raised, and with our industry typically linking IRE upgrades to the typical 5 to 7-year property renovation cycle, an IRE can quickly become old and obsolete in the guests’ eyes. However, the growth of cloud-based systems and new solutions promise the opportunity to meet and even exceed guests’ IRE expectations in the future.

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Founded by two travel and technology professionals with years of experience in Asia, Representasia specialises in sales & marketing representation throughout Southeast Asia for travel/hospitality technology providers and travel-related startups, as well as providing marketing consultancy services for hotels and travel businesses in the region.

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