I just experienced Apple AirPlay in a hotel room for the first time — and all hotels need it ASAP

Apple AirPlay
(Image credit: Future)

Have you ever thought your hotel room's TV offered great options for shows and movies to watch? Nope, me either. Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Apple have teamed up to fix that issue (and then some) for travelers, and I just experienced their solution for myself.

As of April 18, over 60 IHG properties in the U.S. have introduced Apple AirPlay for guest room TVs. Going forward guests at these locations can use their personal iPads and iPhones to stream content to the LG TVs in their room, including everything from their latest favorite shows to Taylor Swift's newest album.

This integration is available through the IHG Studio "home screen" you see on the TV's interface when you check into your room. By scanning the individualized QR code with your device's camera, you simultaneously pair to the hotel's Wi-Fi and set up the AirPlay connection. From there, you can cast pretty much anything and everything from your small screen to the TV's bigger one.

I tried out some of the use cases in an IHG property in New York City, and some are definitely obvious. Movies and shows from Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus streamed easily onto the hotel room's TV, with the connected iPad now acting as a remote. You can even control the TV's volume using the volume controls on the paired device.

Apple AirPlay

(Image credit: Future)

But you could also bring your Apple Watch into the mix by casting an Apple Fitness Plus workout to the TV with AirPlay. Given the dismal state of some hotel gyms, being able to get in a quick sweat with some of my go-to coaches on a screen — specifically, I screen that I can actually see — seems like a game-changer.

The setup felt very intuitive, with the AirPlay suggestion notifications that arrived in iOS 17 prompting me to start casting when I opened an app like Apple Music. Considering there's no limit on how many devices in one room can be paired, I can already see my friends and I fighting over who gets to DJ while get ready to go out.

When you do leave the room for good (a.k.a. check out) the QR code in the room resets and you'd no longer be able to use AirPlay with that room's TVs.

This update comes at a time when travel is at peak due to spring break. The properties currently supporting the partnership vary from IHG's high-end to budget-tier hotel brands, which include Holiday Inn, Kimpton Hotels, Avid Hotels, iberostar and more. Since AirPlay relies on modern TVs, availability in properties depends on the capabilities of existing TVs. As such, newer properties are more likely to have AirPlay support, though IHG will make AirPlay-compatible TVs standard going forward.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.