On the surface, hotel rooms haven’t changed much in the past 50 years or so; the main elements are still there such as a bed, a TV, and a hot shower. So while improvements in technology are changing the way guests interact with hotels, the purpose of a hotel room is still much the same: to have a comfortable, enjoyable and entertaining stay. And though most hotel rooms will still include the same essentials, technology is changing the way guests will use them.

The increased ability to bring their own entertainment with them has left guests less dependent on the traditional hotel television. Recent reports from the US-based tracking firm Nielsen have shown that the amount of time spent watching media content online or through streaming services has increased, compared to watching content via traditional TV and cable services which has declined in recent years. In fact, as much as 40% of households now subscribe to a video-on-demand streaming service such as Netflix. With traditional TV network companies introducing similar services such as “Catch-up TV”, there is more content than ever available at the guest’s fingertips.

With online streaming set to overtake broadcast TV in popularity, the appeal of pay-per-view movies and basic cable TV channels will dwindle dramatically. Instead guests will likely look for easier ways to view their own content whilst traveling. This will mean free and unlimited access to fast WiFi, plenty of charging points for their various devices, and the ability to stream content from their devices on in-room TVs. Watching their favourite Netflix show on a widescreen smart-TV will be a luxury that will quickly become expected by guests in the not-too-distant future.  Smart TV’s that are connected to the Internet will also become the accepted norm in hotel guest rooms as more and more guests now have them at home.

Of course guestroom entertainment doesn’t begin and end with a nice TV, as online services are replacing other forms of entertainment as well. Internet radio services such as Spotify and Pandora are growing in popularity, while AM/FM radio listening time has decreased. Guests will be just as likely to bring their own music collections with them as they would their own clothes, and having the option to listen to their favourite playlist while they get ready for a day of sightseeing is an important added comfort that will help make them feel at home.