Q&A: How to maximize the value you get out of your hospitality technology in 2022 and beyond
AAHOA is proud to partner with some of our industry’s very best, from the biggest players to the small independent operators, and we are thankful for the support we consistently receive from them all. AAHOA and Today’s Hotelier would not exist without the support of AAHOA Members and Industry Partners alike, so we always like to take time whenever we can to give a bit of insight into how AAHOA and its partners work hand in hand to improve the industry for everyone. A rising tide lifts all boats, and when the industry prospers, AAHOA and its members are better off.
What follows here is a conversation with DISH Senior Vice President of Sales Amir Ahmed, an industry veteran who has held progressive sales roles in both DISH Business and sister company Echostar since joining in 1993. He was instrumental in building DISH’s indirect sales channels, including its nationwide independent retailer network, and his lengthy tenure with the company is a steady presence in an often-challenging industry.
Tell us about your relationship with AAHOA
DISH Business has been a longtime partner of AAHOA, and the association truly is the gold standard of hospitality associations and a model for facilitating important connections between vendors and hoteliers. Furthermore, we recognize and appreciate the efforts AAHOA has made to support our industry through some of the toughest challenges we have faced. It has been a focus of the DISH Business team throughout the COVID and COVID-recovery eras to lighten the load placed on hoteliers, and we’re proud to work with organizations like AAHOA that are doing such important work.
Tell us a little bit about your business.
DISH Business delivers premium hotel entertainment experiences informed by years of innovation in the industry. Our future-forward technology is designed to evolve with guest needs while providing the best value to hoteliers. In addition to our personal efforts, our business is a collaborative one, and we would not be able to offer the level of service we do without the hard work of our excellent integrator partners – including MVM, PureHD, Enseo, World Cinema, and so many more. The value and added services our partners are able to add are unmatched in the industry, and we couldn’t be more proud of what they each bring to the table.
Living in this era of continued recovery from COVID-19, what are your expectations related to amenities, technology, and how guest expectations are evolving?
The COVID era has been a period of high engagement with the in-room entertainment experience as guests spent more time than ever in their rooms. We feel the lasting effects of this phenomenon will be an increased level of guest focus and expectation surrounding in-room entertainment. It’s more important than ever to provide an in-room experience that will leave guests with a lasting positive impression.
In your opinion, what are the most significant changes to in-room technologies currently taking place in hospitality?
Guests want to bring the combination of linear TV and streaming they have become accustomed to in their own homes on the road with them. DISH Business is proud of its future-forward products that allow hotels to offer their guests the wide range of entertainment options they desire.
What is the future of guest entertainment?
The future of guest entertainment is not actually limited to in-room. We see the future of hospitality entertainment as being a comprehensive entertainment experience accessible on any device throughout the property. From televisions to tablets to mobile devices, guests want access to entertainment through all avenues at all times, and we are working to provide them just that.
As an organization, how are you best positioned to help hoteliers meet ever-evolving guest expectations?
We are well positioned to help hoteliers meet and exceed guest expectations because we’re listening to them. We’re listening to their needs, evaluating market trends, and then responding with innovative solutions. This is in the DNA of DISH, and we’re always seeking to identify and address the everyday pain points for consumers at home or in the hotel. We know the entertainment experience is important and want to lead the industry by delivering the best experience possible.
Can you tell us about some of your hospitality solutions?
DISH Business has an unmatched portfolio of technology products designed to meet the needs of hoteliers today and in the future.
SMARTBOX2 is our game-changing headend solution that can put up to 192 HD channels in all of your rooms, all while saving on energy and requiring less space than a standard microwave. Gone are the days of technology closets jammed full of server walls. SMARTBOX2 is an affordable and versatile solution for hotels of all shapes and sizes. We know not all hotels are large enough to justify the development and deployment of custom solutions and that concern was top of mind while we designed the SMARTBOX2.
EVOLVE is our set-top box solution that provides guests with an intuitive user experience. Guests can easily navigate the EVOLVE platform to access television guides, casting, and all of their favorite streaming services and apps. EVOLVE, like SMARTBOX2, was designed with the intention of making a premium experience available to hotels of all sizes.
OnStream allows guests to watch live TV anywhere on the property on their personal devices. Guests can enjoy the finest in entertainment from the gym or the pool without being limited to where hotels have installed televisions.
Anything else you’d like AAHOA Members to know about?
We would like to reiterate that we are listening. We want to engage with AAHOA Members and understand what they see as important issues that need to be addressed. We are excited to expand our relationship with AAHOA in 2022 and are looking forward to seeing everyone at the regional events and AAHOACON22!