Unlocking Innovation 

How to ensure your hotels offer the latest guestroom entertainment technology

When it comes to in-room entertainment technology, the guest experience is driven by guest expectations. Hoteliers looking to foster loyalty often feel pressure to meet these preferences, which tend to be generational. “As Millennial and Gen Z travelers represent an increasing share of bookings, they’re bringing their technology expectations with them,” observed Peter Feeney, vice president, DISH Business. “These generations enjoy watching content creators who operate outside traditional broadcast channels, which is why integrating your in-room entertainment experience to include both live TV and streaming services is critical.” 

However, providing guests a state-of-the-art tech experience can be challenging for two reasons. First, busy hotel operators often find it difficult to stay abreast of the ongoing evolution of digital entertainment. “Hoteliers focused on running their businesses simply don’t have the bandwidth to stay on top of every new application, program, channel, and device that’s shaping expectations,” Feeney said. “One example: There are hundreds of streaming applications in the world today. Keeping track of those alone could be a full-time job, and it’s just one small part of the evolution that’s driving change in hospitality technology.” Second, the cost of technology upgrades can be a factor, particularly for midscale and economy hotels. “We work with hotels of all shapes and sizes who share a common set of challenges: shrinking margins, increased competition, and balancing the pressure to modernize against the associated costs,” he noted.

If you’ve been concerned about keeping pace with technological advancements and guest expectations while ensuring your hotel operations stay on budget, you’ll be excited to discover that an innovative solution can meet this challenge. Here are three features to look for in an entertainment technology platform that positions you for success in this key area of hospitality:

1. Integrates with existing infrastructure.

According to a recent Hospitality Technology study, 69 percent of hoteliers say that integrating a new solution with legacy systems is their biggest technology challenge. Thus, finding solutions that don’t require infrastructure upgrades is advantageous and can save money in the long run. DISH Business’ OnStream guest entertainment platform allows hoteliers to deliver live and streaming content to TVs, displays, and mobile devices across the property. “[OnStream] was designed as an affordable solution for all—from small family businesses and boutique hotels to national brands across all price points,” said Feeney. Supporting that affordability is a series of set-back solutions that work with a hotel’s existing infrastructure and TVs—a capability that’s particularly valuable for older properties with only cable/coaxial outlets. “This year, we look forward to sharing the newest evolution of our OnStream technology, including a brand-new set-back-box that makes this future-forward technology even more accessible to historic hotels and properties with dated infrastructure,” said Feeney.

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2. Creates opportunities for guests to choose.

With 83 percent of U.S. consumers subscribing to at least one streaming service (Statista, 2023), guests will expect that type of service in their room along with live TV. Today, there’s no need for hotel operators to manually research, download, and subscribe to the latest and greatest apps—OnStream’s Google Play Store integration puts guests in control of their in-room entertainment by giving them access to a variety of applications. Through an easy-to-use interface, guests can search for, download, and log into their accounts to access popular streaming services. Whether they’re looking for an established favorite like Netflix or a future streaming service that has yet to be debuted, guests will always be able to find the programs they love.

3. Accommodates new innovations and updates.

Entertainment technology solutions that are designed to adapt to evolutions in guest expectations and technology deliver the greatest ROI, as the system need not be replaced with these changes. “OnStream’s powerful combination of live TV, streaming services, and casting capabilities means that guests can enjoy essentially any entertainment they choose on in-room TVs. So, as guest demographics and preferences change, the same entertainment solution will still deliver for the hotelier,” Feeney explained. “Our direct integration with Google Play also ensures that streaming apps on guest TVs are always current, so as soon as the newest service launches your hotel is prepared.” On occasion, new corporate developments, such as a flag change, will require an update to the entertainment system. “OnStream’s unique customization tool allows hoteliers (and their staff) to easily update their TV platform branding and incorporate information about new services and amenities that they may not have previously offered,” he added.

Proving that future-readiness and cost-effectiveness are not mutually exclusive, a solution like OnStream can enable any hotel—from boutique to big brand, from economy to high-end—to deliver a progressive entertainment experience. At this year’s HITEC exhibition, “we will be giving live demos of our new customization tool, which allows hoteliers to custom brand their onscreen experience, promote onsite amenities and services, create new revenue streams with advertising units, and so much more,” said Feeney. 

Owners and operators attending HITEC 2024 are encouraged to visit DISH Business at Booth 3047 to experience these engaging presentations. For an overview of OnStream’s innovative solution to your entertainment technology challenges, visit info.dishbusiness.com/hotels.

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