IPTV for Hoteliers

Phil Benson explains why hoteliers should sit up and take notice of the IPTV revolution.

There has been a sharp increase in the media consumption of hotel guests, which is forcing hoteliers to invest heavily in Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) technology to ensure that they meet the needs of their clients.

An IPTV system can truly help hoteliers to make their business stand out from the competition by being able to turn TV screens in rooms and public areas into personalised entertainment centres, promoting the hotel brand, its services and offering a special welcome to its guests.

This kind of system can also allow guests to watch Freeview TV and offers them a choice of hundreds of satellite channels, pay per view channels, films and even radio stations to listen to their favourite genre of music. In addition, whilst this is entertaining them, they can use the system to check emails or surf the internet.

These additional channels for rooms can be charged through the Hospitality Management System at a rate controlled by the hotel, which provides a revenue opportunity as well as offering guests a superb service.

In public areas, the IPTV system can be controlled from the office PC to create an ambience to suit the mood and brand of the hotel. Individual and area atmospheres can also be fashioned to match the preference of varying groups of customers or depending on whether it is day or nigh time.

IPTV Products Currently on the Market

Some IPTV products currently on the market include the Locatel Eclipse MiRa, which has been designed for high-end hotels on Phillips MediaSuite TV’s. This ‘innovative new portal’ boasts a turnkey solution that specifically addresses the requirements of 3-star and 4-star hotels, to offer quality, revenue driving interactive services.

Previously, hoteliers would have to invest heavily in equipment and upgrades to their TV systems, but this multimedia solution has been based on the standard Hybrid broadcast broadband system for connected TV’s. The Eclipse MiRa portal provides online interactivity and entertainment using existing wireless local area network connections, which cut down on investments and future running costs.

LG and Swisscom have teamed up to produce ConnectedHotel TV, which they claim is the ‘first connected hotel TV to change the economics of the guest room.’ ConnectedHotel TV provides interactive HD TV, video-on-demand and complete wired and wireless internet connection through one joined network and one TV without a set-top box. This allows hoteliers to keep guest rooms and public areas free of unnecessary hardware and take advantage of having a single operator to manage the services from film server to TV screen.

Another improvement to products on the IPTV market comes from Quadriga who has added new features to their established Sensiq guest communications platform. These include new promotional tools and a TV internet with sound and streaming capability. The Sensiq platform has been installed in thousands of hotels across Europe, Russia, Africa, India and the US. Quadriga is continuing to evolve the product to meet the needs of the hotels and guests who use it.

Installing an IPTV system allows hoteliers to boost their revenue, reduce supporting costs and improve the quality of their service. Some of the products focussed on have shown that this type of entertainment can be added to a hotel without the big expense that some hotels fear.

By Phil Benson

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