Demand for next-generation services high in EMEA

|Feb 23|magazine5 min read

Information released today by iBAHN, the worldwide leader in digital entertainment and internet solutions for the hospitality and meeting industries, shows phenomenal demand for next-generation services in European Middle East and Africa in 2009.

ETVi delivers digital services direct to the guest room, combining digital TV entertainment with superb HD picture quality, which is vastly superior to analogue systems, on widescreen displays.

Strong growth in take-up of ETVi in the region was mirrored by the exceptional increase in internet use by both business and leisure guests at leading hotels, as measured by number of data packets per guest session on iBAHN’s proprietary network, which rose by 134 percent in the past year in the EMEA region.

The usage growth confirms predictions from a 2009 study of frequent business travellers conducted by Ypartnership. This indicates the rapidly growing need for hotels to provide guests with high-speed internet access to meet demand for online content such as video and music, as well as conferencing requirements.

YPartnership discovered that more than two-thirds of frequent business travellers have downloaded music onto their computers (67 percent) while nearly 60 percent have downloaded video. Additionally, more than a half have downloaded news (54 percent) or entertainment (52 percent) onto their computers. Downloads of video and music consume considerably higher bandwidth and data than the average email or browsing session.

Moreover, this trend has profound implications for hoteliers as it clearly points to the conclusion that the “free to guest” model of providing free access in all locations of the hotel at all times, and to all guests, is economically unrealistic given guests’ differing bandwidth needs.

Hoteliers will see higher overall expenses related to their broadband offering, without commensurate benefits in either daily rates or occupancy. If the additional investment is not made, guest satisfaction with the internet service will decrease. Earlier studies have shown that guests will not return to hotels where they have an unsatisfactory internet experience.

By Ian Armitage