Major U.S. Hotels Ramp up HD for 'Wow Factor'

As more and more business travelers connect to HD sets and services in their homes, they’re apparently starting to demand similar television services on the road, according to hotel industry consultants. As a result, what was once the trend for the privileged few in only the most luxurious hotels and priciest suites is now becoming the norm in hundreds of thousands of rooms among the major hotel chains.

As business and personal travel slowly but steadily recovered since Sept. 11, 2001, hotels have seen increasing occupancy rates amid higher room rates, resulting in more capital in which to invest in new in-room DTV services, according to hotel industry consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers in USA Today.

Marriott Corp. says about one-quarter of its rooms now boast HD sets, offering an average of 15 HD channels. Not too far behind are Hilton and Sheraton properties. The biggest supplier of TV programming to hotel chains in North America is LodgeNet, which said HD services cannot grow soon enough for itself and the hotel industry.

Proving to be among the more popular pay-per-view options at hotels right now is calling up local coverage of a room guest’s sports teams. But the services do not come cheap, compared to a consumer’s home price menu. Typical is an option of watching one or more NFL games on any given Sunday for a fee of $20.