Smart TVs are quickly becoming the new standard to enhance guest experience in the hospitality industry. They are transforming the in-room hospitality TV experience into a rich, interactive media and communications center. Hoteliers are looking at Smart TVs as the next big revenue generating opportunity in the hospitality industry, and many hotels are willing to incorporate these solutions to differentiate themselves from their competition.
Smart TV is a television set integrated with internet or web technology features which allows end-users to stream video services on the television. Television services are delivered using the Internet Protocol suite over a packet-switched network such as a LAN or the Internet, instead of being delivered through traditional terrestrial, satellite signal, and cable television formats.
Smart TVs can allow hotel designers and hotel technology professionals to personalize the guest experience and in room guest service. They can enable services like ordering food via an interactive menu, make a reservation, book an event or tickets, provide local area maps, and other services. Hotels can promote their own brand and services to increase brand awareness among guests. Smart TVs have also become an additional source of revenue by selling the advertising space to local restaurants, spas or car rental companies by replacing flyers, brochures and other promotional materials commonly found in hotel lobbies with digital alternatives. In the event of emergency, Smart TVs can also benefit guests by allowing the front desk to send instant messages directly to in-room hotel TVs.
The current adoption of Smart TVs among hoteliers has been further spurred by the money and space savings it has enabled. Many content providers offer flexible solutions with no start-up costs and no long-term contracts. Some solution providers eliminate the requirement for a separate set-top box and additional cabling, thereby bringing the capex and opex down.
Today’s travellers are equipped with multiple electronic devices packed with personal media content and hotels are trying to address guests’ communication and entertainment needs by providing an interactive digital experience. Guest perception of a particular hotel can be enhanced by the ability to interact with Smart TV and access their own content on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu or personal device on the hotel room TV.
According to the latest release of the Signage and Professional Displays Market Tracker, the worldwide in-room hospitality TV market recorded 177.8K shipments in the first half of 2014. IHS examines the future demand for in-room hospitality TVs, and the share of Smart TVs is expected to increase across all the regions. Smart TV adoption rate is high in luxury and upper scale hotel segments; however, penetration in mid-scale and independent hotels is on the rise due to the increased availability of affordable solutions.
Geographically, North America, Western Europe, China and Asia Pacific together represent a large portion of the Smart TV market for total hospitality TV shipments. North America traditionally is an early adopter of new technologies. In North America, Smart TVs are fast replacing older generation of LCD TVs in luxury hotel segment. Recently, Quadriga Americas deployed fully system-integrated Smart TVs into thousands of hotel rooms in the US. Earlier this year, Otrum installed thousands of Smart TVs in Sochi before the Winter Olympics. Western Europe has the potential to be a lucrative market for in-room hotel Smart TVs due to the large base of luxury and upper scale hotel rooms, which are prime candidates to replace the older generation of LCD TV sets. Furthermore, the Gulf States offer exceptional opportunities for Smart TVs where the solution comes by default in luxury hotels.
As the transition to Smart TVs continues to advance, there are several factors that hoteliers will need to consider in order to capitalize on the installation of Smart TVs in their hotels. Hoteliers will need to upgrade their wireless networks to support streaming video content. Streaming services often have access to a smaller content library than satellite and cable. They will have to factor in the additional cost required to upgrade their current network infrastructure to support Smart TV solutions. Hotels need to be aware of privacy concerns or authentication of mobile devices and have a solution to display content from the guests’ mobile device to only Smart TV in their own room.