Social TV and The Hotel Industry - Natural Synergy

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Richard Kastelein imageThe hotel sector is beginning to emerge from the slump of recent years and many businesses are looking for new ways to attract the web and media savvy 25-45 year old and these Gen X and Y generations are a lucrative target group in many hotel and chain’s marketing strategies.

Social TV in a hotel would certainly be a simple yet effective move. Connected TV or IPTV distribution system in hotels is pretty straight forward… providing high quality, full screen digital TV over an Ethernet network using an existing IP network.

Not only can digital satellite and terrestrial channels can be broadcast directly to TV’s anywhere in a hotel – but now there’s the opportunity to implement Social TV as well.

We live in a networked society, and our contact list, for most of us who will never see a cradle to grave job, is paramount. Imagine if you could not only sleep in a hotel, but also create a profile in the social TV network and then find others in similar business paths, or potential new partners right in the hotel… whom you could have lunch with or meet up in a pub.

Or imagine you could organize short seminars, get people to sign up and do mini ‘unconferences’ or conferences with others whose businesses can converge with you own.

This is great, not only for the guests, but also for the hotel. They will not only be able to offer better service to their clients, but also be able to come to understand their own demographics more… with a Social TV Facebook social media scenario or clone, there’s plenty of data to be shared to everyone, including the hotel… giving them more opportunity to build better services.

Want to book a restaurant? Do it on the TV. Add it to your bill in the hotel’s Property Management Software (PMS) program and don’t worry about pulling out a credit card. Feel like going to a concert or sporting event while you are in town? Click or type and buy.

Want to download an iPhone or mobile map application with directions from anywhere back to the hotel and listings of all the offerings of the city you are visiting?

Plug your PDA or mobile phone into a USB port and suck it down. Need to book the conference room? Do it on the TV. Need to order some food? Pick up the TV remote and choose from room service or an array of restaurants that deliver in the area.

I could even see, in the foreseeable future, a Wii or Xbox network for gaming and sports in hotels. Why not? Feel like a bit of tennis but can’t book a court? Play your neighbor in room 602. Or shoot at the guys in rooms 562 and 788.

It’s only a matter of time before television becomes social in Hotels because it’s a perfect space for rolling out this technology.

I’d be intrigued by a system that automatically feeds me information about what is the most popular Video on Demand flick in the hotel… what others are watching and even reviews of the movies from other guests.

A good recommendation engine built into a social TV hotel network could take care of a lot of things… including which restaurants are hot, bars are not, and where are the cool places that tourists don’t normally go.

Based on demographic data built up by the hotels social TV network, hotels could easily build up relationships with local strategic partners that are popular with their guests – offering discounts and other deals.

Want a taxi? Francois, the friendly, is the best in Brussels. Everyone raves about him on the network.

Or imagine you could reach out externally vis a vis the Hotel’s social TV network with Skype (VOIP and chat application) or Facebook and share with you family at home.

Watching television or listening to music together is often a shared activity with co-located family members and it is something to gather around. But can technology support this kind of experience while apart?

Yes. It’s possible. But I am not sure anyone in the industry is going in this direction yet.

When turning your social TV presence on in the hotel, you could also expose you current status on media usage to those at home and in the hotel (what music you are listening to, what program you are watching or game you are playing).

Others could join in on the media session that you are currently running and can then scale to other levels of connection.

If the hotel industry manages to adhere to one or two IPTV system which includes social TV, preferably open source, or finds another way to standardize the product, then your social profile can even be ported to multiple hotels, saving you time and work plugging your details into every hotel you stay in.

Putting it in hotels will be simple. Whether it be Google TV, Apple TV, Connected TV in the future, or a deal with one of the plethora of IPTV Set Top Box manufacturers currently vying for market space.

Richard Kastelein, the co-founder of,  is a Canadian expatriate living in The Netherlands. He was the winner of the 2010 Deloitte Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions for Entrepreneurs in the Netherlands for futurist views on Social TV and Media Convergence (Tech Visionary).  Email him at richard @ agoramedia DOT co DOT uk - More at Wikipedia and Linkedin.

This article was originally published at Tnooz and covered by Industry Insiders

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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