Digital Displays
On the way to New Orleans I had the chance to listen to a podcast with Randy Dearborn, MGMs VP for Multimedia & Guest Technology.  He runs the whole screen network for MGM (about 65.000!) and that’s what he says:

I have a huge network of TVs in the guestrooms at my disposal. Since IP technology enables it, why should I not use such an opportunity for information and promotions?
Only the promotion of a late check-out option at the last day of guests stay almost pays for the whole system. We run easy to order late-night snack promotions for room service, we adapt promotions based on the utilization of our restaurants, we promote shows where we get the biggest bang for the buck. Having all the data available, it is now so easy to see how well this all works and how much additional revenue we generate.
Digital Signage is an almost historical wording and much too restrictive. It is about each and every digital display – Signage, TVs, mobile devices, you name it.

Not only this is exactly what at-visions is preaching (and doing) since years, but what now everybody can see when wandering the HITEC floor. Signage from impressive video walls to interactive signs, in-room TVs used for various ways to inform and promote to the guest and apps in all flavours (native or HTML5 based, with or without a tablet in the room) are all over.

Technology got much cheaper and less complex, but still it has to be used, and in the right way. It needs the combined skills of IT and Marketing and this two (now still kinda diverse) fields working together we will see more and more in the years to come.

The example of MGM has nothing to do with unique technology, big budget or advertising artists, it is using existing tools with common sense and learning and improving on the flight according to data gained. The principle works, just do it.

Over the Top TV (OTT)
Streaming online content to the TV got also into HITEC mainstream this year. The reason of course is the huge success of providers like Netflix in the consumer space, especially in the US, but latest since 2016 also on an international level. It still has some complexity to replicate this feature from the home environment to the hotel room.

I couldn’t check out all vendors, but the general line seems to be that only some of the smaller and newer entrants in the market are using a kind of a reverse engineered airplay protocol while all the bigger players (at least if they already offer this option) use either Apple TV or – even more often – Chromecast.

However, how they use it is still quite different and although all claim to be user friendly I wouldn’t agree in all cases ;-) Although quite rarely, but in some cases also TV apps are used which requires guests to insert their credentials to get access to their existing (Netflix-)Accounts.

For more info about the pro & cons of different options to provide online streaming in the guest room just get in contact with us and I’m more than happy to discuss.

Johnny Cupcakes
One thing (among many) I like about HITEC is the educational program. This year the final keynote was both entertaining and impressive. If you – like me – never heard about it, Johnny cupcakes is a T-Shirt brand in the US. And hell, what a brand this is! It perfectly shows that creativity and passion goes a long way when building up a brand.

People wait in line in front of his store when a limited edition is sold. You remember the lines when a new iPhone came out? Well, multiply it by 3 or 4 and you get the size of the line. People even have the logo tattooed. To get a good impression just watch this short intro.

Seems that the last thing Johnny needs to get people to buy another one of his T-shirts, is to give them some points for a loyalty program ;-)

Thumbs up HFTP & HITEC, see you in Amsterdam for HITEC Europe!