Vacancy. Indoor Pool. Free ... Netflix?
The Marriott hotel chain is testing new video offerings in a handful of locations. The new TV service apparently allows guests to stream Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora in their rooms.
“We have invited leading technology companies and content providers to work with us to design the next wave in in-room entertainment focusing on on-demand programming,” Marriott spokesman John Wolf told Bloomberg. “We are currently offering guests in eight test hotels the opportunity to stream their content through our high-definition TVs whether it is Netflix, Hulu or Pandora.”
According to some Twitter users who have seen the new system in action, it looks like you have to log in with your own Netflix or Hulu account. Marriott just provides the interface on its in-room TVs.
Wow. I’m impressed. The Marriott TV system they have here allows you to log into Netflix, Hulu, etc for free with your own account.
— Brophey Wolf (@brophey) January 16, 2015
Marriott has Netflix so guess who's watching some Breaking Bad
— Bleats By Bre @ FC!! (@BreBleats) January 16, 2015
Of course, as long as you have your laptop/iPad and Wi-Fi, you could just stream Netflix yourself - without Marriott's help. But this new system allows you to stream Netflix in all its HD, big-screen glory. Plus, access to reliable Wi-Fi is not a guarantee – especially when we're talking about Marriott.
This is just a test and it's possible that the structure of the service could shift. Instead of letting people log-in to their own Netflix accounts, hotels could provide generic access. It could be built into the cost of the room, or Netflix access could be a separate add-on. Netflix could get a piece of that action.
It's easy to imagine a future where hotels tout Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime as premium offerings to attract guests. And if you're Netflix, why wouldn't you want to be inside millions of hotel rooms across the world?
It'll be interesting to see how quickly Marriott expands this "test" and if other hotel chains jump on board. I'm guessing the answers to those questions are very, and you bet.
Image via Greg Turner, Flickr Creative Commons