‘Guest Entertainment – Bring Your Own Content (BYOC)’

Accom Management Guide Summer 2018

GUEST ENTERTAINMENT – EVERYTHING A GUEST NEEDS TO ENTERTAIN THEM IS IN THE PALM OF THEIR HAND BUT THEY NEED YOUR GUEST WIFI.

There is been a huge move for accommodation providers to start looking at Guest Entertainment.  BYOC – Bring your own content- everyone’s doing it!  Guests have access to absolutely anything they want by connecting to the internet on their devices through your guest wifi.

For some time now, guests have been able to access their own entertainment subscriptions and purchase videos on demand from every site imaginable online and watch it on their device.  But the times are changing.  They want to watch it on a larger screen – the TV in their hotel room.   We have been getting calls for guests wanting to hook up their AppleTV that they have brought on holidays with them and we easily connect it for them.  The AppleTV enables them to turn your TV into a SmartTV so they can access and stream their own content.  Other portable devices guests are starting to bring are Telstra TV’s, Roku’s, Google Chrome cast’s and Amazon is soon to release their Amazon Fire TV in Australia.

The whole family generally has subscriptions for services on the devices and their favourite shows are saved exactly where they left off watching them at home.  Guests can simply sign into their streaming services for customised programming during their stay with you and carry on their binge watching.  This is how they now want to watch television.

We can’t predict what’s coming up in technology in the next few years and how that will affect you and your guests.  But be wary of being locked into a lengthy contract on video on demand services for in room entertainment.  The guest is not going to pay for something they can bring with them and already pay for and quite often cheaper than your pay per view prices.  If they won’t pay, you are going to have to and honour your contract.

Gimmicks get old fast and focusing on giving your guests fast reliable wifi connections so they can do what they want at your site is important.  Enhance the guest experience.

What guests do in their house they want to do in the hotel room and investment into wifi and bandwidth is crucial.

Unlimited data is a must for any type of guest entertainment therefore a fast and reliable internet connection is imperative and an in room guest wifi system is a must – a wireless access point or wireless modem in each unit to ensure the signal is strong enough for streaming and to supply the bandwidth required for streaming.

A lot of accommodation providers are getting rid of Foxtel and PABX’s and using those funds to update their guest wifi and internet connections.  Guests can bring their Foxtel subscriptions with them and “nearly” everyone has a mobile phone.

When investing in an In Room Guest Wifi System and an Internet Management System, some key areas to consider:

  • Can you/your guest easily connect SmartTV’s, gaming and casting devices for streaming?  Guests, particularly millennials really do want to stream and view their own content on the hotel room TV.
  • When your guests use a casting device eg: Chromecast ensure that your guest wifi system can isolate it on the network to each specific unit so only guests in that unit can cast to the TV.    This is very important as you do not want someone in another unit being able to cast unwanted/undesirable shows onto your guests TV in a different unit.
  • How often does the guest have to login through a portal?
  • Can the wifi be set up the same as a home network – each device logs in once while they are at the site and receives unlimited data?   Guests want a home-like TV experience in their hotel room.
  • Can you throttle the speed of the connection by room to ensure you are sharing your bandwidth around fairly (remember one Ultra High Definition Stream can take 25Mbps of your bandwidth)?
  • Can numerous devices be connected in each hotel room as they are at home? Families are now travelling with on average 3 devices per person that they want to connect to your wifi.

Your guests will start demanding this connectivity and service soon if they have not done so already.

Invest in the technology and infrastructure and get your site Guest Entertainment ready!

Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet