The pay-TV function available today in many guestrooms – allowing guests to select from a list of films, television programmes and albums at a charge - will soon be obsolete, according to an expert panel speaking at the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin this month.

“The end of pay-TV is happening in front of us already. If you look at hotels, only 3-4% of occupied room guests are using it and that’s declining fast. If you had that non-use in any other area of the hotel operation it wouldn’t be there,” said Nick Price, CEO of Netsys Technology, who formerly worked as chief information officer/chief technology officer at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group for 11 years.

Price explained that today’s guests preferred to stream their own entertainment, but said the hotel did not need to necessarily rely on providing an internet connection for this.

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“We have to make it simpler rather than better. Making it simpler is when your device can talk to the TV directly. If you’ve not bought into the internet it doesn’t matter. We’re not talking about a dream a technology; it’s something that’s here today. It will be mainstream in our homes within the 2013-14 timeframe. Nothing is simpler than playing entertainment through our own television.”

Microsoft Corporation director of enterprise business architecture Bill Frizzel said the technology providers had already begun to look at in-room technology from a connectivity- rather than entertainment - point of view.

“I’m having a laptop built that has wireless video capabilities and it’s not long until we will see TV manufacturers building those devices into their sets as standard.”

The Rezidor Hotel Group chief operating officer and executive vice president Wolfgang Neumann observed that guests are not interested in listening to hotel’s music or watching its television.

“What you have at home you expect in a guestroom but we don’t necessarily provide that today, our homes are better equipped than the guest room. If my kids don’t have an opportunity to plug in they get upset. Music plays a key role; it’s not only about the business traveller. It is how we have the whole connectivity in the bedroom to make it simple.

“The pace of development is so fast I can’t keep up with my kids, as an operator the key challenge is implementing what’s available today in 70 countries consistently with the brand,” added Neumann.