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Watching Netflix on an iPad in the hotel guest room is an increasingly popular option, but Hilton Worldwide believes the hotel TV isn’t going anywhere.
Hilton Worldwide officials readily admit that many guests arrive at the hotel these days with entertainment content accessible from their laptops, mobile phones and tablets, but these officials cite research from HBO showing that more than nine of out 10 guests prefer watching a TV show or movie on the guest-room TV.
All things being equal, that is.
HBO asked hotel guests the following question: “Given the option to watch a TV show or movie in your hotel room, would you prefer to watch on the hotel TV or your personal viewing device e.g. laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.?”
Among all hotel guests in a 2014 survey, 94% indicated they would prefer the hotel TV and 6% opted for their personal electronic device.
Among Millennial (age 18-34) survey participants, the TV preference was lower, but not by much. According to the HBO survey, the Millennial breakdown was 91% in favor of in-room TV viewing while 9% picked their laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Of course, the survey results might have been far different if pricing and content variables would have been included, but they still show that guests view the in-room TV as a convenient option.
The findings were one of the factors that led Hilton Worldwide to broaden its relationship with HBO, designating HBO as its preferred premium movie channel at the chain’s U.S. hotel and resort brands.
Many hotels within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio have had relationships with HBO over the years, but the latest announcement is the first corporate agreement between Hilton Worldwide and HBO, and the first time a premium movie channel has been designated as the chain’s preferred provider.
“This creates a corporate partnership between our companies so it will be even easier for our hotels to work with to obtain various service options, incentives, and outstanding service and support,” says Josh Weiss, vice president of brand and guest technology at Hilton Worldwide. “It also creates a platform for our two companies to work together in a corporate function to bring new features and innovations to our guests in the future.”
While the bring-your-own device trend is certainly altering guests’ viewing habits, Weiss doesn’t think the TV will go the way of the hotel phone and long-distance services.
“Even as more guests travel with their own content on mobile devices and tablets, our research shows that many guests still want access to an excellent HD channel lineup,” Weiss says. “That was a key driver in our relationship with DIRECTV launched earlier this year, and also in this relationship with HBO.”