While the onset of the COVID-19 health crisis has propelled the hospitality industry into a period of unmatched unpredictability as to when and how markets will begin to improve, it has also reinforced the fact that guest needs and expectations are never set in stone, and that hoteliers must always keep an eye on ever evolving market trend shifts to remain successful. With guests now increasingly seeking to remain safe within their guestrooms for the foreseeable future, ensuring that in-room environments are able to offer a fulfilling, secure and enjoyable stay experience has never been as important to ensuring their satisfaction, comfort and continued business. Key to these abilities will be technologies that can provide each guest with both immediate and contactless-compatible access to hotel information and services, along with the opportunity to still personalize their experience as they see fit.

The first thing for hotels to consider as they begin to implement more guestroom-oriented amenities and services, is that many of today's in-room offerings are IoT-based platforms that require a reliable and fast internet connection in order to function as expected. Combine that with the fact that more guests opting to stay in guestrooms will mean more devices simultaneously attempting to use a property's Wi-Fi service, and hoteliers can quickly find that existing networks may become overburdened with the result being a severe drop in internet performance. Since the widespread rise of personal devices, guests have repeatedly voiced the availability of high-speed Wi-Fi as one of the top priorities that they expect hotels to always deliver on. Now with more consumers also accustomed to the multiple advantages of an IoT environment and expecting the same convenience from their guestroom, it is critical that hoteliers work immediately to ensure that their internet infrastructure is capable of fully accommodating increasing connectivity expectations as they begin to welcome back guests.

When referencing the mainstream adoption of IoT, many different services no doubt come to mind as the category covers a diverse array of platforms with varying features. But what are those services that are most important to guests as they seek to be able to get the most out of their hotel experience from the comfort and safety of their rooms post-COVID? As within homes, a central component of the guestroom has long been the television as it has served as the main source of access to content and entertainment for generations. Yet with guests now finding an increased need to preoccupy themselves within the guestroom environment, many more are seeking out the more advanced personalized IoT entertainment abilities that consumer-based television solutions offer and that have accustomed guests to expect the same sort of functionality wherever they go. No longer content with being offered more traditional offerings such as a limited range of video-on-demand or channel options, today's guests more than ever want to be able to access their own streamed content to be able to pick up where they left off on favorite shows or be presented with content selections based on previous viewing preferences.

For hoteliers striving to ensure complete satisfaction during the New Normal era, this means needing to provide guests who are isolating within their guestrooms with a seamless ability to control their own entertainment experience using guestroom televisions which unlike personal devices, can provide a much larger screen. However, with hotels serving as public locations where issues of privacy can frequently surface, hospitality professionals should realize that solutions designed for consumer homes such as smart televisions, are not ideal for a guestroom environment. This is because such platforms require guests to directly input sensitive information such as usernames and passwords, creating the risk that personal guest data can be stolen and misused by others. As a result, the market has in recent years seen the launch of solutions such as BeyondTV GuestCast that provide guests with the ability to effortlessly cast content from personal devices without ever jeopardizing their data, and that are specifically designed for the needs of the hospitality industry. With BeyondTV GuestCast for example, advanced device isolation capabilities ensure that guest viewing preferences remain private and are not inadvertently transmitted to televisions located in other guestrooms. With 50 percent of guests already stating that the availability of in-room casting features are likely to affect their hotel booking decision while another 62 percent are highly concerned over issues of security when required to input personal information into guestroom televisions, majorities of guests now seeking to limit themselves to staying within the guestroom means that such statistics and preferences will surely rise and will play an essential role in a hotel's ability to meet market recovery expectations.

In being engineered specifically for the needs of the hospitality industry, more advanced guestroom entertainment solutions such as BeyondTV can not only accommodate modern content viewing preferences while enhancing contactless abilities by limiting exposure to shared remote surfaces via a web based downloadable contactless remote, but are also engineered to address a wider range of guest in-room needs which are all the more vital in today's socially distanced world. Capable of serving as comprehensive guest-to-hotel communication portals, BeyondTV can allow guests to instantly locate hotel information such as available promotions or make requests for amenities such as room service without ever having to leave the guestroom or come into direct contact with hotel staff and other guests. Using the in-room television, guests can further check-out from their guestroom without having to risk potential exposure to germs by visiting the front desk. Likewise allowing hotels to remotely communicate with their guests, comprehensive television-based entertainment platforms can provide hotels with the opportunity to visually demonstrate guestroom cleanliness protocols as well as other onsite procedures that are designed to enhance guest peace-of-mind using videos that can automatically begin to play when a guest enters the room.

With the mass consumer adoption of voice-activated and virtual technology continuing to increase at a rapid pace, advanced in-room entertainment systems have also begun to integrate such functionalities in order to further maximize guest convenience and personalization abilities. More recently, voice-activated features such as those provided by BeyondTV have been identified as a means of further minimizing germ exposure risks via contact with shared surfaces. Able to integrate with either Amazon's Alexa or Google Nest Hub, BeyondTV not only provides guests with the option of seeking out hotel information or requesting services without having to pick up the guestroom telephone, but can also offer contactless control over an array of in-room amenities. In addition to virtually all of the services traditionally available via BeyondTV using a remote control, this includes complete voice-activated control over guestroom televisions, thermostats, lighting, drapes and much more.

The hospitality industry had already begun to realize the tremendous value of implementing technology that could meet today's guest connectivity, in-room convenience and entertainment needs prior to the onset of COVID-19. Vast majorities of guests in fact have long expected seamless access to a hotel's Wi-Fi while being provided with the opportunity to personalize their in-room entertainment experience in addition to gaining the effortless ability to request and interact with hotel services. Yet in today's market where guests are likely to remain within their guestroom, such solutions are proving critical in not only continuing to ensure guest satisfaction, but are providing hoteliers with the opportunity to create safer environments where guest exposure to viruses is significantly reduced. By beginning to prioritize the implementation of technologies such as advanced Wi-Fi networks and comprehensive entertainment solutions equipped with voice-activated abilities, properties can ensure that they are ready for a future where guests simultaneously expect to find a hotel experience that is seamless, highly personalized and germ-free.

About Hotel Internet Services, Inc.

Serving hospitality's connectivity needs since 2003, Hotel Internet Services, Inc. (HIS) is a leading provider of next generation communications technology, including high-speed internet access, network security and guestroom entertainment. Backed by 24/7 guest service, monitoring and support, HIS innovations include cutting-edge network technology, as well as GuestCast, the industry's most user-friendly and advanced streaming platform proven to provide the ultimate in-room entertainment experience. GuestCast guarantees user-friendly interaction with QR code-based device-pairing capabilities, and ensures optimal performance with the GuestCast Dashboard. Hoteliers can leverage data-rich analytics and the GuestCast Dashboard to monitor the health and usage of individual casting devices, and to gain insight into the Wi-Fi signal quality of each network access point.

In addition to hotels and resorts, HIS also provides equipment and services to hospitals, casinos, military and student housing, senior living, timeshares, condos, conference centers, apartments, fitness centers and many other commercial venues. Headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, HIS empowers countless hotels and resorts across the U.S, and its services are offered throughout North America, Australia, Latin America and Europe. For more information, please visit www.hotelwifi.com.

Gary Patrick
Hotel Internet Services

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