Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) and 5G are changing the way we can connect and receive real-time information from almost anywhere. Data is no longer stored in distant data centers but at the edge of the network – bringing it closer to the access center and 5G end-user devices. These new technologies enable hotels to leverage cloud computing capabilities and IT service environments to reduce costs and dramatically improve in-room entertainment for guests.
COVID has cost the hotel industry billions of dollars and also revealed a number of gaps in technology and fee structures that no longer serve hoteliers or their business. Among the critical mistakes in budgeting for a major disaster: Failure to account for the cost of in-room entertainment has been a serious problem for hotel properties around the world. The current costs of inflexible fee structures to lure real estate into expensive commitments for mid-range content are outrageous today given the emerging streaming content platforms and offerings.
Rather than buying a cable package for a 40-room lodge, a smaller property manager can deploy smart TVs with the capacity for individual Netflix logins that require low recurring fees. Additionally, there are more ways than ever to customize premium streaming content packs that can be delivered with custom hotel branding via interactive displays that can be managed, optimized and monetized. These interactive displays create new revenue streams for hoteliers and reduce overcall costs. They can also act as a 24/7 virtual concierge service.
Say goodbye to cable complications
Cable is expensive, especially when property managers face the same costs regardless of usage. For operators, the first step to saving on in-room entertainment is to let go of the wire. New out-of-home digital content management (DOOH) systems are enabling hotels to cut the cord and still provide guests with the content they want. Best of all, package prices are flexible to adjust with bookings, and properties can commit to paying only when guests have booked rooms with streaming content. These guest-centric systems provide the entertainment options guests demand – from streaming premium movies or sports and music to concierge-like services – at the right price point for the facility. There are different tiers of in-room entertainment models – consumption-based or premium – that an operator can choose from depending on the needs of their guests.
Cable contracts often run for many years, and even when rooms remain vacant, hotels continue to pay exorbitant fees. DOOH entertainment systems reduce costs by using flexible fee plans. Thanks to consumption-based tariffs, hotel operators do not pay if rooms are not occupied. Properties can choose which streaming services to offer their guests – within a budget they are happy with. No longer do guests have to tolerate basic cable and pay-per-view options, they can stream live and on-demand TV shows, news, music and even box office movies.
Generate revenue from advertising
Leveraging a DOOH network, hoteliers can generate revenue from advertising customized based on guest preferences and local offerings. Hotels can provide direct advertising for on-site restaurants and activities through the cloud content management system, or partner with local and regional businesses and attractions. Not only do properties save money by going cable-free, but they can also increase revenue with ads delivered directly to their guests. Hotel management can gain deep customer insights through real-time data analytics – essentially, getting to know customers better, which enables more thoughtful and targeted content selection for advertising. This hyper-personalized customer experience is constantly updated as new data is received and analyzed. This can also increase brand loyalty – the better you know your customers, the more likely they are to book with you again later.
Enhance the internet and infotainment experience with 5G
Does your hotel internet services need a general update? That is an enormous effort. However, there are now companies that can reinvent a hotel’s entire internet and infotainment system by installing a 5G network right on premises to deliver ultra-fast internet speeds, increasing the speed and capacity of streaming content and content package offerings that Improve broadband coverage and support thousands of devices that improve accessibility and provide better security. Customers need secure and fast Internet and want convenient entertainment; This can all come in one package.
Use the interactive customer experience technology
Personalized greetings and content options ensure a better guest experience and ultimately increase hotel profits. By offloading staff-intensive tasks to an online self-service concierge system, hotels can also leverage a DOOH network to limit staff costs by using the distributed network to interact with customers via their personal screens (phones, tablets) or televisions to interact in the room or screens at selected locations. Imagine making reservations with in-room remote controls, offering concert tickets to passers-by as they approach a local venue, and browsing the events calendar on digital displays. These critical touchpoints, which often cost staff and concierge phone time, can be redistributed across the new entertainment network in an all-in-one service platform.
Conclusion: cable packages in hotels will soon be a thing of the past. In order to make a significant gain in guest experience and have a better budget for future events, every hotel provider should consider shifting from traditional in-room entertainment and adopting a more modern approach.
Jeremy Ostermiller is co-founder and CEO of Edison Interactive, a cloud content management system (CMS) for connected devices.
Dana Sullivan Kilroy
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