You Might Actually Turn On Your Hotel TV Again…
Ever since the birth of the iPad, Netflix and wifi, the hotel TV has been under assault. Big, clunky, and playing that annoying welcome music on loop, even if the television starts in the on position, it’s often turned off for good within minutes of any guests arrival. For years, it’s been a wonder why hotels even bothered anymore. Apparently, IHG plans to change that, turning the big screen into the central hub for streaming, but mostly importantly – ordering.
Airlines and hotels are just now cottoning onto the idea that people don’t always like picking up the phone or interacting in person to get things done, and if there was a way to order room service, or an amenity without forced social interaction, it might make guests happy.
Think: it’s 11PM, you’ve landed off a brutally long flight and you just want room service in peace.
Furthermore, it’s never fun to enter your login details or worry you’ve left your Netflix account open on a hotel television, so IHG is directly taking a crack at that, with streaming to your hotel TV, from your own electronics device. It’s all being called “IHG Studio” and if pulled off, it could be fantastic.
Intercontinental Hotel Group says it’s rolled out the “IHG Studio” to more than 40 hotels in the US, with plans to move into the UK, China, Canada and Latin America before the end of 2019. They’d better get moving, since I’m already behind on holiday shopping and it’s fast approaching.
Aside from allowing easy streaming to a larger screen, it’s the functionality of the stay that’s really impressive here. You can order room service, make service requests – a la more pillows, late checkout and so forth – and also review elements of your stay.
IHG is also piloting a pay with points option, which allows you to use points towards an element of your stay, albeit at a yet to be seen rate. Chances are you’ll get better value via “free night” rewards, but if you never have that many points and want to use some to cover a bottle of wine sent up to the room, it’s not the worst way to spend points.
The Studio concept is expected to roll out to all IHG brands over the coming years, creating a system which people can come to expect. I think this is a great move, where loyalists will feel comfort in knowing exactly how to get what they need out of their stay, and their room, from a single, familiar point of contact. Bring it on!