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Television Buying for Guestrooms

In the world of guestroom technology, the television is still a central component in hotel guest satisfaction. Today as the hospitality industry continues to rebound from the last recession, more and more hotel operators are launching renovation projects that may have been on the back-burner for several years—this is no more evident than in upgrading televisions to maintain or improve the guest experience. These projects vary from the overhauling of old CRT box models for basic flat panels to installing advanced systems that offer the latest solutions in television technology. For hotel companies that are investing in television renovations, understanding the key factors to consider when buying new televisions is essential to success.

Whether your upgrades are just around the corner or forecasted in the future, here are four simple, yet strategic, tips that offer some know-how on making a confident purchasing decision.

1. Know the basics: Performance and reliability

When evaluating flat panel television systems, performance and reliability are primary features that you should weigh. The simple act of a guest turning on the television when they first enter their room can help set the tone for their stay. Depending on their initial impression of the television’s performance it could have a positive or negative impact on part of their guest experience. Ask yourself, “Will this television help enhance or potentially hinder my customer satisfaction ratings?”

As with any major renovation investment, we know that budget is heavily considered; however your buying decision should not rest solely on cost. There are many fly-by-night television brands available at enticing bargain prices, touting that they offer the same features as well-known brands. While these televisions expand your options, they may not be as reliable. Protect your investment by thinking of the long term benefits of purchasing a dependable product, thereby increasing your return on investment.

2. Know the trends: b-LAN technology to high definition

Become familiar with some of the latest television trends and technology that hotel guests have come to expect.

Central Programming and b-LAN Technology: Modernizing how televisions are programmed at a property can make
hotel operators’ lives easier and decrease guest disruptions. Utilizing a head-end server through b-LAN technology to push out updates versus updating each television on a room by room basis improves efficiency and reduces labor costs. Add channels, modify welcome screens, set volume controls and more – all from one central location.

Complete HD Experience and Energy Efficiency: Like their home television, guests expect the same high definition (HD) picture quality from their in-room hotel television. At the same time, operators are increasingly aware of the benefits of energy efficient LED HD televisions. However, the LED television is only part of the HD package. To successfully offer the full HD experience, operators must also factor in the costs to establish an HD signal through a cable, satellite or pay-perview provider. The lack of an HD signal on an HD television results in limited HD content and disappointed guests.

Built-in Safety and Security: Due to the value of flat panels, protecting against damage and theft is a vital measure for hotels. Swivel stands are now available and ready to securely lock on room furniture. This convenient feature helps reduce installation costs for added security hardware. In addition, the locked-in television lessens liability against tipping over and potentially injuring guests.

3. Know your guests: Customer preferences

In today’s competitive hospitality market, hotel operators most likely have some way of collecting information on guests’ preferences and their overall profile. This data can be used to determine the best television and features that will satisfy their wants and needs.

Your objective may be to offer a home-like experience with interactive channel guides or provide advanced service options enabling them to make restaurant reservations, request room or concierge services, and conduct inroom
check out. Two-way communication allowing a smartphone or tablet computer to be used as the remote control is another feature that your tech-savvy guests might appreciate. There are a myriad of options to help customize your guest room televisions for your unique customer base.

4. Know your suppliers: Proven hospitality experience

Purchasing a reliable television product depends on the supplier you choose. Look for suppliers with a proven track record, good customer service and an exceptional service policy. A willingness to extend your warranty in the event of any manufacturing issues demonstrates the level of service that a responsible supplier will offer. Also keep in mind that buying guest room televisions from a retail store is not recommended. They may not explain that a residential warranty would not apply in the hospitality industry or that certain features like central programming are not available on residential televisions. Suppliers with extensive experience in selling televisions to the hotel market are best
equipped to meet your needs.

Mike Grossman, Senior Director of the Avendra Replenishment Group (ARG), and his team of experienced consultants have sold more than 100,000 televisions to hotels over the past five years. www.avendra.com

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