With the proliferation of streaming services, there’s plenty of options for you to meet guest expectations without shelling out for cable. Because let’s face it – cable television is expensive! Satellite TV is no exception. Even without add-ons, basic cable can run over $60 per month.
Traditional cable and its exorbitant prices are being upended by leaner subscription services. Consumer preferences vary from content creating streaming services like Netflix and Hulu to live TV options like Apple TV, Playstation Vue and Sling TV. The number and variety of options can be overwhelming, especially when your decision can affect many future guests.
So what is best for your managed properties? Before making a decision, consider these angles and MyVR's best practice for keeping costs low and still meeting guest expectations.
Strength of internet connection
If you are considering cutting the cord in favor of a streaming service, you’ll want to first consider the speed of your internet connection. If you can only get low speed dial-up, DSL, or a WiFi with low bandwidth at your vacation rental property, it's best to address that need first. Otherwise, your guests will be unhappy with the quality of any offering and it will reflect poorly on their overall experience.
One expert recommends a connection of at least 2 megabits per second – reasonable for many rural locations and easy for city dwellings as well. The higher the connection speed, the faster videos load and buffer, meaning the guest doesn’t have to wait to watch their favorite show or movie. A WiFi connection that can support multiple devices and streaming simultaneously is a necessity to deliver an optimal guest experience.
If you already have a strong connection, then the right streaming service comes down to the number of properties you manage and your growth goals.
Scale across properties
If you only own or manage a few properties, then you have your choice of options. For those managers, it may be worth investing in a service like Netflix or a live TV option to please guests. Because many options offer a number of seats with a single subscription, you only pay one low monthly rate for your entire portfolio.
On the other hand, if you operate more properties or hope to expand, investing in multiple subscriptions to cover your listings isn't viable as the cost and operations can quickly become overwhelming.
Instead give the power back to your guests by investing in Smart TVs or streaming sticks. Both types of devices allow users to access their favorite streaming apps - ranging from Netflix, to DirectTV Now, to Watch ESPN and more. While Smart TVs can access these apps directly, streaming sticks like Roku and the Amazon Fire Stick simply plug into the back of your existing television, connect to the internet, and are ready to stream!
MyVR's best practice
MyVR recommends investing in either of these two devices without adding subscriptions to individual apps. Because most guests are personally investing in at least one streaming service already, you simply need to provide them a way to watch. Many hotels are turning to this strategy as well. Instead of advertising pay-per-view programming on their welcome screen, they prompt guests to log in to their Netflix and Hulu accounts to stream content.
While these initial costs can add up - especially if your televisions need updating - the money saved from cutting cable and not paying for a streaming service will soon make up for it.
I cut my cable cord at home years ago and haven’t looked back since. I’ve never had an issue streaming my favorite television program or movie and it’s much easier to navigate. I love getting to watch shows when I want to watch them – and not just when they’re airing on cable. The one downside is that it’s harder to access live news stations, but I’m not sure how many guests want to watch the local news when they’re on vacation.