NASHVILLE—Staying connected with guests is important, and with health worries at the forefront, technology can be a great tool to create and maintain that relationship with guests.
Uniguest, a hospitality engagement technology provider, has added its interactive Guest Room Entertainment solution to its product line, which is currently in properties ranging from 10 to 15 rooms up to more than a thousand.
It offers a branded interactive IPTV portal; guest information pages; a customizable program guide; service groups so hotels can deliver different experiences to different guests, such as premium offerings to suites or programming according to the guest’s language preferences; and PMS integration.
“The in-room TV is a communications and entertainment channel—both the hotel’s route to guests for upsell and to share promotions with guests, and a way for guests to stay entertained during their visit,” said James Keen, VP of marketing at Uniguest. “A quality hotel TV system can be a key driver for keeping a guest coming back to a property time after time, particularly for business travelers and families who tend to rely more heavily on the television during their stay.
“But what do those guests truly want? It isn’t actually that complicated, but it’s not as simple as just delivering a standard channel lineup,” he added. “They want a platform that is responsive, they want a well-populated TV guide and they want to easily cast their own content—think Netflix or Amazon Prime—to the in-room TV. Essentially, if they can do it at home then they expect to be able to do it in the hotel room. I mean, why wouldn’t a multimillion-dollar property have a better TV system than the guest?”
But like most technology these days, a TV isn’t just a TV. “There are some nuances of guest preferences, too. A resort guest, for example, might want to know more about entertainment, book restaurant tables and check their bill, while the guest of a city-center hotel is more likely to use the TV for ordering room service and watching some TV,” he said. “The key is to choose a platform that is flexible for any and every guest.”
Uniguest’s Guest Room Entertainment delivers high-quality media content across IP networks through one platform. This means hotels only have to publish content once and synchronize it to the right guestrooms or screens throughout the property.
“Uniguest’s Guest Room Entertainment solution is a full media platform,” Keen said. “Not only does it deliver in-room TV it can also deliver digital signage and live TV for public spaces, bars and restaurants. So, it has a breadth of offerings beyond what other platforms can deliver. It can also be delivered as an opex solution, allowing a hotelier to pay on a cost-per-room, per-month basis, making it much easier to actually implement in the first place.”
The IPTV solution can also function as a revenue-generation tool through its Property Management System (PMS) integration capability. For instance, hoteliers can create information pages for guests to purchase room service, act on promotions and more.
“The TV is a focal point for the guestroom. It is a non-intrusive way to engage a guest; promote and cross-sell; personalize their experience; and offer value add. Ultimately, a good TV system is a key part of guest experience, good guest experience leads to good reviews, good reviews lead to repeat visits, repeat visits leads to enhanced revenues. That engagement with a guest is huge in a world where alternative options are at the tip of your finger,” Keen said.
“We all know TV advertising helps to sell, so using an IPTV system for Guest Room Entertainment provides a property or brand with a unique opportunity to gain the unfettered attention of its customers; what do you want to tell them? Because here is your chance,” he added. “A hotel can sell movie and video content, and allow guests to upgrade their TV with enhanced content packages for sports, entertainment, foreign language to name a few. Promotion of deals for on-site restaurants, local bars, theaters and entertainment complexes all help bring in additional revenue.”
The solution is powered by an easy-to-use CMS so properties can create, manage and customize their in-room entertainment offerings in real time.
Keen noted that it’s also very secure “as it is housed on-premise; none of the broadcast or video-on-demand content is delivered via the internet. Because of the secure nature of our platform, we can deliver content from any of the major cable companies—DISH or DirecTV for example—and pull together custom content lineups for any property.”
It’s also an evolving solution. “The platform is software-based, which means as new and more advanced features are developed by our team, all our clients can get access to those updates,” he said. “Your purchase isn’t a time capsule, it’s an organic technology; it grows with you.”