Hotel Room Televisions: Size Does Matter

In 2007, the hotel industry was on the upswing with a strong economy and hotel chains seeing exceptionally high occupancy rates. With the mainstreaming of flat panel televisions, facilities—especially the larger brands—were upgrading CRT model televisions to these sleek, new devices. Then the recession hit.

Sales of flat panel televisions dropped along with the economy. Those with funds already allocated made the upgrades, but those who could delay it, did.

Luckily for the hotel industry, businesses started traveling again in 2010. Hotel brands got very strict and began setting deadlines for television updates for franchisees through 2011. As is common in the industry, ownership groups usually make the decisions instead of individual hotels as they receive better pricing from the vendor and a standard brand across the group.

With these upgrades, we’ve seen a few trends. One, of course, is the continued move to flat panel televisions. Consumers are creating this demand, driven by the fact that most homes now have multiple flat panel televisions.

Size-wise, early adopters of flat panels prior to the recession opted for 32” or 37”, and sometimes 42” screens for suites. Hotels that opted to delay their television upgrades during the recession are facing competitors with bigger and brighter screens so they’ll be upgrading in 2011-2012 in order to keep up with the Jones, so to speak. We’ll continue to see a move to larger screen sizes with 37” becoming a standard size and more high-end hotels opting for 42” and beyond. Of course, the size limitations of a room will curtail the size of the television. It doesn’t make any sense to install a 60” television in a standard size room; even a 42” television could consume too much of the limited real estate available. That being said, we’ve already installed some 85” professional plasmas in suites in Las Vegas – where size is never a limitation.

In agreement, Erin Hoover, VP of design for Westin (a division of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide) recently said in an interview with Hotel Design that, “The acceptable screen size keeps growing: two years ago, 32 inches was okay; now that seems too small to some owners and 37-inch and 42-inch screens are being installed. This is all being driven by what guests have in their homes.”

One area where bigger is always better is in a hotel’s public areas. Increased size for professional displays in lobbies and bars continue to grow. 42” displays are usually the starting point for digital signage solutions that can provide guests with services such as wayfinding and event schedules. Hotels are starting to see digital signage as an advertising revenue base as part of a digital signage network where they can sell advertising. Forward thinking properties are already moving in this direction. We recommend a plasma display solution in lobbies as the technology handles moving images better and are available in larger sizes (up to 152”) than their LCD counterparts.

As you can see, depending on the application screen size can actually have some limitations in the hospitality space.

For more information, check out some hospitality applications for displays on our website.