Hotel TVs – what guests want to watch

Hotel Room TVIn a world where Wi-Fi is king, and mobile devices accompany travelers wherever they go, how relevant is a hotel TV in giving guests what they want during their stay? Turns out that it’s still pretty important. However the way that guests use hotel TVs is changing, and hotels will need to adapt the type of TV services they provide in order to keep their guests happy and stay profitable.

When it comes to what guests want from their in-room TV experience, some items have dropped so far down on the list of guest expectations that they now appear on another list, the list of things that guests don’t want from their hotel tv.

What guests DON’T want from their hotel TV

Pay per view
With Netflix, Hulu and HBO available to guests via their mobile devices and laptops (along with their entire movie library via personal cloud storage), there is very little benefit to them for paying $12.99 to watch a movie once on their in-room TV. Instead guests will want/need/demand a strong Wi-Fi connection that will allow them access to their own personal services.

Old/small/standard definition TVs

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80% of homes in the US have high definition TVs and the average size of TVs sold in 2013 was 50’ or wider. A standard definition TV, a small TV or an old-fashioned TV is not likely to fill your guests with nostalgic charm, but give the impression that your hotel is cheap.

What guests DO want from their hotel TV

In addition to not the things mentioned above, the demands of guests from their hotel TVs is changing to include more than just box-sets of the Walking Dead (although that is still a popular favourite).

High-quality TV

A TV is one of the main focal points of most people’s home, and as such helps travelers feel more at home when they stay in a hotel. Surveys conducted by Hilton Worldwide show that hotel guests much prefer a hotel room with a high-quality TV in it.

“It needs to be a modern, nice TV set of a certain size or bigger,” says Josh Weiss, the company’s Vice President of Brand and Guest Technology. “Flat-panel is a plus.”

Interactive services on hotel TVs

Guests have often looked to their hotel TV as a source of information, reaming off lists of hotel amenities, instructions on how to order rooms service and nearby local attractions. Now guests look for more interaction from their hotel tvs with in-room messaging with hotel staff, concierge services, maps and social media apps being among the most requested services in hotels.

BYOD entertainment

In the past, pay-per-view and HBO were the big appeal of hotel TVs, giving guest access to entertainment they may not typically have at home. Nowadays we all have access to all the entertainment we could ever need through our own mobile devices; what hotel TVs therefore need to capitalise on is how we view them in their hotel.

Peter Chambers, Vice President of Information Technology for Viceroy Hotel Group claims that pay-per-view systems often don’t make enough money to cover the cost of running them and, instead, Viceroy is among an increasing number of brands investing in hotel TVs that let guests stream the programming that they already pay for through services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime.

So far, Viceroy has installed Samsung Hospitality Smart TVs in five of its 16 properties, including a New York location that opened in October. To get their “The Walking Dead” marathon (for example) on the big screen, guests use a unique code that pairs their gadget with the TV. They can also take advantage of the set’s built-in apps, which include YouTube and Facebook.

Future viewing

It’s doubtful that an in-room TV will ever disappear from the list of guest requirements, however the earning potential of modern and interactive TV services is significant. Don’t just think of what a guest uses their TV for, this what they could use their TV for. Whether guests actively watch the TV during their stay or have it on in the background, their eyes are likely to fall upon it more than once during their stay. Therefore, be sure to make the most of it with updated and relevant information and services that make their stay more enjoyable and your RevPOR more impressive.

About the author

Nick BakerNick Baker is the community manager for Appy Hotel, a hotel digital marketing startup based in SE Asia, that provides mobile applications and digital marketing technology solutions to hundreds of hotels across Asia and around the world. Reach him at or
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