TEMPE, AZ—With Major League Baseball underway, and the NBA and NHL playoffs soon to begin, your hotel is likely facing an age-old problem: Guests are sitting at the bar to watch the games, but they can’t hear the TV over the loud music. How do you keep patrons in the seats? HearTV has launched a live-streaming audio app that could be the solution.
“The genesis of this started at airports, where travelers were not able to see and hear the TVs. The same issue falls into the hospitality industry, as there is a huge need [at hotels]and they are nicely positioned to resolve it. Their focus is customer service, and it can be frustrating to say no to guests when they want to hear the TVs. We see a bright future in this segment,” said George Dennis, CEO, hearTV, a maker of listening products based here.
To launch the service, hotels connect a transmitter to their TVs enabling patrons to stream live audio via a free app available on Apple and Android mobile devices. HearTV’s tagline—get the app, find the zone, hear TV on your phone—clearly explains how the solution works and its simplicity.
“We did our first beta-testing site a couple years ago. There was a long testing and trial phase to see how they were functioning. We focused on making it affordable and easier to install; the technology is good, and now we have a product that is scalable and ready for any hospitality location,” Dennis said.
In a city known for its music as well as the love of a good game, the Nashville Omni has found success implementing hearTV’s solution at its honky-tonk bar and outdoor patio.
“We’ve had it since we opened in 2013. It’s in Barlines, our 290-seat entertainment and live music venue, and we have 60 seats on the outdoor patio on Sixth Ave. Our live music venue has one giant 8 ft. x 8 ft. TV, 30 60-in. TVs and live music is played from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Being in the Southeast, locals take their sports seriously, and hearTV has been a wonderful addition. Guests want to see the game, but we don’t turn the volume up because of the music. With the app, we have a great option for guests to hear their favorite games,” shared Tod Roadarmel, area director of sales and marketing, Omni Hotels & Resorts. “As an added value for guests, we give out free earbuds behind the bar, and we’ve been through cases of them. From our side, it’s affordable, there is low maintenance and low overhead.”
Here’s how it works: Guests download the hearTV app onto their Apple or Android mobile devices; log onto the hotel’s WiFi signal; and then launch the app. Depending on how many streams there are, little TV icons are displayed and guests pick what they’d like to hear. The service aims to take the friction out of the guest experience.
“There’s no stress at all; we give guests the WiFi signal and they download the app in seconds. The app asks which venue and then you pick the game,” Roadarmel said. Chiming in on the benefits of the company’s live audio-streaming solution, Dennis added, “It also makes people stick around longer.”
For guests traveling in groups or with family, the hearTV app offers the choice of allowing the user to toggle between TV and music options, according to Roadarmel.
“I’m a big sports fan. If I were coming to Omni Nashville to eat a burger and watch the game while the music is playing, the hearTV app allows me to have the best of both worlds as I switch between sports and music. Each person can listen to whatever TV they’d like to listen to…mom can listen to the news, dad can watch the game and there’s just that flexibility.” Roadarmel said.
Identifying ways to expand the streaming service, Dennis explained there are additional opportunities to increase the hotel’s return on investment.
“For an affordable amount of money, you can set it up and help your guests. It will scale all the way to many TV screens, whether it’s a small or large venue, we’ve got you covered. You can put them in your guestrooms, too. It’s scalable from one to 100, from a room to a full lobby,” Dennis said.
“There’s a solution to keep guests in your establishment no matter who they are,” Roadarmel concluded.