Casting Shapes In-Room Entertainment Strategy

It’s no secret streaming has dramatically changed how people, especially younger generations, consume entertainment. In 2018, a larger percentage of households subscribed to a streaming service (69 percent) than to traditional TV (65 percent) for the first time, according to research from Deloitte Insights. As consumers shift to these services, they increasingly expect to be able to use them as they travel.

Right now, there are two main ways for hotel guests to watch streaming content on their in-room televisions: through apps on the TV or by casting from a personal device. Shane Pierce, VP of business development at Allbridge, leans toward casting being the easier of the two options.

“If you’re in a guestroom and you walk in and you want to watch Netflix, would you rather open up Netflix on your phone and hit the cast button or would you rather use the remote control and type in your username and password and spend the time typing in without a keyboard and then after that making sure that your credentials, which is your user name and password, are wiped out after you leave?” Pierce asked.

Pierce said Allbridge is seeing an equal demand for streaming apps and casting. Early adopters of Netflix drove the initial demand for the apps at first, he said, but as people have begun using Chromecast and Apple TV at home, casting has become increasingly prevalent.

When asked what features they would prefer on their guestroom televisions, 54 percent expressed interest in casting content from a personal device to the television. When asked to choose between casting content from their own device versus directly inputting login details into apps on the television, 82 percent of respondents opted for casting.

Interestingly, despite only 29 percent of hoteliers saying they believe guests are still interested in using video-on-demand, 39 percent of guest respondents said they were still interested in VOD. This number only drops to 36 percent asked to choose between watching VOD movies versus casting content from their device (only 11 percent of hoteliers believed guests would choose VOD).

One of casting’s key benefits, according to Pierce, is security. Since guests access all their content on their personal device, they never need to log in to an app on the television. In doing so, they take the burden of wiping that information off of the hotel.

As technology evolves, in-room entertainment and guest expectations are sure to evolve as well. How they will change remains to be seen though, said Pierce. Specifically, he pointed to the television companies currently releasing products with casting already built in. “If that works successfully, then that will basically eliminate the need for any hardware behind the television and I think casting will become even more prevalent.”

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