Today’s hotel guests want to bring their own content and preferences, streamed to their own devices. Here’s how hotels can prepare for a future defined by personalization and powered by connectivity.
The share of Americans who subscribe to a traditional cable package has dropped to just 56 percent. Those cord-cutters are streaming their entertainment, and they want that ability wherever they go in the world, and especially in their hotel rooms. A recent study found that 72 percent of hotel guests are more likely to return if the room offers them the technology they want.
Typically, someone’s home experience represents their ideal experience,” says Amir Ahmed, senior vice president of sales at DISH. “In the hotel room, too often guests have to choose between watching the hotel-provided channels on the TV or their favorite over-the-top (OTT) services on their phone or tablet.”
Personalization is crucial
The key to this changing paradigm isn’t the entertainment that guests want to watch, but rather the level of personal control new technologies offer. “The reliable, ‘fast enough’ internet that guests have come to take for granted in most hotels will be dramatically upgraded in the near future,” notes Ahmed. “This will improve guest internet access but more importantly empower personalization of their overall experience.”
Robert Firpo-Cappiello, editor-in-chief of Hospitality Technology, thinks that personalization is crucial. “From contactless transactions to the seamless integration of artificial intelligence,” he says, “technology is putting hotel guests in control of their journeys, delivering a new level of hyper-personalization.”
To achieve that personalization in their entertainment experiences while simultaneously planning for the connected experience of the future, properties are turning to companies like DISH Business. Products like SMARTBOX 2, OnStream, and EVOLVE maximize entertainment freedom by allowing guests to enjoy whatever content they wish on the large in-room TV, watch live TV or streamed content on their personal devices, and bring it all anywhere in the hotel — the room, the pool, the gym, or the hotel bar. “Letting guests make their stay a little more comfortable based on their personal tastes is a key driver of guest satisfaction and loyalty,” notes Ahmed.
“The premise is simple and easily appreciated as a way to increase guest engagement — but requires the deployment of adaptive technologies (software, hardware, and cloud resources) that work together to make the process intuitive and accessible,” notes Ahmed. “As people are increasingly using connected technologies in almost every aspect of their lives it will be companies like DISH Business that help create those experiences in hotels.”
The future is loyalty
The global pandemic inspired a focus on guest safety and contactless engagements in the hotel industry, but guest needs are always changing. That makes having the right partner who can adapt with guests and properties to serve both today’s and tomorrow’s needs a crucial consideration.
“Hoteliers need to start with an understanding of their guests; what experiences will be most important to them, to build loyalty and drive repeat stays.” explains Ahmed.
Firpo-Cappiello agrees. “As guests return to properties, hotels are poised to leverage emerging technologies such as voice activation, interactive smart TVs, and robotics to streamline operations and allow guests to drive their own experiences at their own pace,” he notes. “These solutions also allow hotels to think beyond their four walls by interacting with guests to provide food, retail, and entertainment opportunities, from ordering dinner or theater tickets from a voice assistant to browsing for new clothes on a smart TV.”
That interaction can determine whether a guest returns. “A recent study by Lodging Technology revealed that 94 percent of Operators saw improving guest loyalty as a key driver of technology investments,” notes Ahmed. “Developing a technology-dependent guest experience roadmap can be an overwhelming task for some hoteliers who may not even have a good understanding of what is possible — but that is the value of strong partners who can help collaboratively create a plan that meets guest needs and optimizes revenue.”
The ongoing rollout of 5G networks will only speed up the role that Internet-of-Things (IoT) connected devices play in the hotel space. This will be the case both inside and outside the room — and will impact the connectivity for hotel staff as well. This connected mobile reality also offers opportunities to reduce operational expenses and gain access to rich data that will provide valuable insights into guest behavior.
For Ahmed, the future is an exciting place to be. “Today DISH is focused on powering the best in-room entertainment experiences in the industry,” he says. “But we’re also building the nation’s first virtualized, O-RAN 5G broadband network with endless possibilities to deliver the connected hotel experience of the future throughout the property and across a guest’s end-to-end travel experience.”
To learn how you can be a part of the future of the hotel experience, visit dish.com/hotels/.