Our guess is, pretty soon, this will be as standard as those in-room iHome docking stations for your iPods, only a whole lot more useful.
Soon enough, you can start streaming Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and more when you check into a Hyatt property around the world.
The hospitality company is the latest to offer personalized in-room streaming entertainment, following in the footsteps of Marriott International.
To offer this service, Hyatt teamed up with Sonifi Solutions to utilize its Staycast (previously known as Sonicast) technology, which uses Google Chromecast and integrates with the World of Hyatt mobile app.
To date, the technology is available in 14 Hyatt hotels, including the Hyatt Regency New Orleans and the Hyatt Centric French Quarter. Jeff Bzdawka, senior vice president of global hotel technology for Hyatt, said the company’s goal is to focus on outfitting all of its Park Hyatt and Hyatt Centric properties worldwide with this technology first, and then eventually expand it to other brands within the Hyatt family.
With Staycast, Hyatt guests can connect and stream their favorite entertainment channels in their guest room TVs without having to enter a code or personal credentials on the TV, as they might when using Marriott’s Enseo-powered in-room streaming, for example. Guests using the service must already have established accounts with subscription-based services like Netflix (or sign up for a trial subscription), for example, to be able to stream that content onto the guest room TV.
Sonifi CEO Ahmad Ouri and Hyatt’s Bzdawka said Hyatt, however, is the first brand to integrate this type of streaming in-room entertainment functionality through a mobile app, and guests do not necessarily have to be loyalty members to use the service.
“Instead of guests having to download multiple apps to do streaming and pair their device with the TV, once they download the app there’s a simple set up they do in the mobile app to do that pairing,” Bzdawka explained.
“Hyatt did a lot of diligence around what guest experiences should look like in this day and age and for content streaming in the guest room to the large TV set in the rooms,” said Ouri. “It continues to be a requirement and something that all the brands have been exposed to and realize. From a tech perspective, Hyatt is the first brand to integrate such an experience into the mobile app.”
While Marriott was one of the first hotel brands to pilot streaming in-room entertainment in its guest rooms, others are also doing so. Prior to its acquisition by Marriott in September, Starwood’s Aloft Hotels were piloting a technology called RoomCast. Wyndham’s Wingate by Wyndham brand has also been piloting a casting service with Sonicast.
Ouri noted that the demand for streaming in-room entertainment is only expected to grow over the next few years as well. “More than 60 percent plus of households with broadband Internet access have at least one or two of these streaming entertainment subscriptions today. The idea is that you enable the hotel guests to take all the subscriptions they already have at home and take those on the road. This is already becoming mainstream, and how it’s delivered needs to be seamless, simple, and easy.”
Bzdawka added, “Our guests expect to have the same or better experiences than what they have at home. That’s what made us want to have this streaming solution for guests. We were also hearing this from leadership and ownership groups and they wanted it to be open and not have limitations. We felt that Sonifi was the best partnership to collaborate and bring that personalized seamless experience without limitations, open to guests with Apple, Windows, or Android devices.”
Hotels working with providers like Sonicast also benefit from access to specific metrics about guest usage of these casting services, too, Ouri added. “In terms of us taking an off-the-shelf product like Google Chromecast, but offering an enterprise-grade streaming solution is really unique,” he said. “We’ve added other functionality that’s not in the consumer model to make it more robust in a commercial environment. And we can collect a lot of data on what’s cast and in what room, providing good analytics to properties with information on their guests and how they’re using this technology.”
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Photo credit: Hyatt is planning to offer in-room streaming entertainment facilitated by its World of Hyatt app via Sonifi Solutions' Staycast technology. Hyatt