BOCA RATON, FL—Guests are hyper-connected more than ever before and expect the same experience once they enter a guestroom. In-room streaming was once an enticement to get travelers to stay at a particular hotel, but it’s gradually becoming the norm and evolving into a standard amenity at major hotels as more travelers just want to relax with their favorite TV shows or movies.
Enabling guests to stream their personal content via accounts such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and others from a mobile device to the hotel room TV should be a priority, according to Chris Dinallo, CTO for business TV division, Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB), a global hardware and software solutions company.
“With so many solutions on the market, it’s critical that the solution hoteliers select for their guests meets four specific goals. It has to be cost-effective, easily deployable, user-friendly and future proof,” said Dinallo. “Screen-casting is hands down the trend because of its scalability, application and platform independence. Alternatives, such as native apps—specially built applications that execute on specific hardware platforms—have long development cycles and are unique for each given streaming application, and these don’t scale.”
Dinallo noted that hoteliers should be cognizant that guests have myriad apps they want to stream from. “Sure, there are one or two prevalent ones like Netflix, but wouldn’t it be better to have an iTV system that can stream from hundreds of apps and not just a couple? It must be easy for the guest to stream.”
To meet guests’ in-room streaming demands, Dinallo offered these tips to hoteliers:
Build the bandwidth. The most obvious, yet often underestimated, is having sufficient bandwidth. Without it, the hotelier is guaranteed to get poor guest satisfaction ratings, which becomes the downward spiral of declining bookings.
Make it secure. The second most important attribute of streaming is the security the network provides to guests as well as to internal hotel systems. Fortunately, awareness of this has been ever-increasing, yet unfortunately, this is largely because hotel systems and guests’ personal information are being compromised almost daily. A robust security plan with fail-safe measures must be conceived from the start. It’s not a one-and-done type of mechanism as it must continually be reviewed and enhanced to keep up with the latest threats.
Keep it simple. Let guests access the content they want on their accounts without intervening in the process. There are a few ways to do this today, but for me the clear winning approach is screen-casting via ADB’s vuCaster. It is not only easy to use with hundreds of apps, but it does not require the guest’s credentials; plus, it offloads the needed streaming bandwidth away from the hotel’s WiFi network that is dedicated for guest internet data needs. In other words, it separates the video traffic from the WiFi data traffic and, therefore, keeps the WiFi data network running at an optimal efficiency.