June 3, 2020
Darren King

From Broadway to Bedroom

What is the future of live performances?


Guest Room Entertainment, Live!

COVID19 has been impacting the world for almost 6 months now, and certain parts of our day to day life have been changed beyond all doubt. Now though, certain industries are beginning to wake back up. Global governments are persuading sectors to reopen or to plan for reopening, all while observing the hygiene measures we have learned to live with. The post COVID19 world will look different for sure. One of the most notable impacts of COVID19, and the lockdown measures implemented, is the requirement for social distancing. Social distancing is an integral part of preventing the spread of any virus, especially one with the devastating effects of COVID19. The downside of social distancing though, is the obvious reduction in capacity of our favourite venues. This has left many across the hospitality industry questioning the value of opening back up, especially in the performing arts sector. Right now, the world needs theatre, live music, poetry and performance. Passion for a craft can help bring people together, and provide that much needed escapism, yet it looks like this may not be possible due to social distancing. However, there could be another way.

Recently I have spent some time working as an integral part of a team which is spearheading the standards for guest room entertainment in the hotel industry. We have discussed many ideas, some of which we have championed for many years, others which are driven by the current COVID19 pandemic. One interesting point we touched on though, was the future of live performances. I can’t claim this idea to be all my own, it was actually the brainchild of Scott Hansen, Senior Director of Guest Technology with Marriott International. I would like to share some of my thoughts with you, but first, I’d like to take you back almost 20 years or so. That time I want to take you back to, was a time when the average guest was wowed by what their hotel room offered them in terms of technology. I’d like to think that the average guest is still blown away by ROOMNET’s innovative Apple TV solution, but that’s not what I’m focussing on right now. Companies such as LodgeNet offered services that meant the latest Hollywood movies could be watched, on your Hotel Room TV. People actually booked rooms because they knew they could watch a movie. It was like you had your own private premiere! Fast forward 20+ years and the landscape is a little different. With blockbuster releases at our fingertips through the myriad of content providers, on demand Hollywood content is more readily available than ever. The point I want you to remember though, is people used those rooms to get access to something they couldn’t get at home.

Socially Distanced Entertainment

Social distancing has made attendance at theatres and live music venues close to impossible. As venues begin to reopen it is clear that they can only operate at 25%-30% capacity. This provides four particular challenges:
Reducing attendance at an event by 75% means a 75% drop in both primary and secondary revenue. 75% less on tickets, but logically 75% less on food & Beverage, programmes and merchandise. Most businesses could not survive this kind of catastrophic hit, so it’s likely many will not attempt to open while social distancing measures exist.
If the venues do open, ticket prices will have to skyrocket in order for the venue to cover its expenses, let alone make a much needed profit.
3. After over 3 months of lockdown there are a huge number of people eager to get out and watch their favourite or new performances. With a quarter of existing capacity and a keen audience, it is likely that the demand cannot be serviced. 4. Point 4 follows on from point 3, in that there are people who are desperate to see live entertainment, however, perhaps due to their own health, or concerns do not wish to be in an open public place, let alone an enclosed theatre.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

It is likely that the great demand will be for more than just The Sound of Music! Shows such as Hamilton, which has been selling out for the last 5 years, and also the revamped West Side Story which was hotly anticipated, have all been on ice for the last 3 months. So, we have demand to watch shows and we have social distancing measures in place, meaning attendance is reduced. The obvious answer could be to increase ticket prices by 3-400%. While this may work for some, $600 per ticket is pretty hard to swallow for a family for 4. The solution could be much more of an experience. We show the performances in Hotel rooms. Remember what I said earlier? People used to visit hotel rooms because they could watch a first run of a movie? Well now maybe they could see content from Broadway, or the West End, ‘live’ in a hotel room. This is content that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. It’s not on Disney+, or Netflix, but it could be in your hotel rooms. Imagine the package, a beautiful room, a private screening of the latest Broadway show, and a quality room service order. That really is something you cannot get anywhere else!

Are you Ready to Go Live?

So, I ask you, the producer, the director, the owner of a show. Would you like to make this happen? Here at ROOMNET,  we use Apple TV 4k Set Top Boxes which means we are ready to make this happen. Our open platform allows us to get your show or concert into hotel rooms, creating a whole new revenue stream for your event, and creating a greater reach than ever before. Let us know how we can help you! What about your hotel? ROOMNET could be ready to give your hotel that live experience. The joy of theatre in each guest’s safe space. If you want to take your guest room entertainment to the next level by going live, reach out to us using the buttons below. Maybe you are a traveller who loves this idea. Please let us know by commenting on LinkedIn, we would love to hear your thoughts. We can make this happen, if enough of you want it to happen! For now though, take care and stay safe!

A Hospitality technology blog by ROOMNET. Every week we cover topics such as IPTV, Apple TV, content casting, Mirroring, OTT apps, smart devices and of course content. We aim to give you all the information you need on giving your guest the ultimate experience through innovative technology.

About the Author

Darren King
Co-founder & Chief Mischief Maker Not one to shy away from a challenge, Darren has built the ROOMNET brand and business through a relentless drive to always look for the better way, by putting the guest experience at the front of everything he does. Now Darren is sharing his thoughts, week in week out, on how ROOMNET are disrupting the Hospitality technology space, showing you how to bring the ultimate guest experience to your hotel, Apartment or shared space through technology.

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