Marriott Pilot Program Brings Netflix, Hulu To Hotel Rooms

Up until last week, Marriott had the not-so-bright idea of blocking Wi-Fi devices in order to force travelers and conference attendees to pay for its high-speed Internet services, which in some cases could run as much as $1,000. Wiser heads prevailed -- a $600,000 fine by the FCC tends to do that -- and rather than focus on Wi-Fi hotspots, the hotel chain is now reportedly piloting a service that allows guests to access Netflix and other streaming media services through their televisions.

According to Bloomberg, the Marriott is testing the service at eight of its locations. By offering guests access to Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, and so forth, Marriott is essentially modernizing its in-room entertainment options.

Marriott Room
Image Source: Flickr (Gary Bembridge)

"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," said John Wolf, a spokesman for Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott. "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."

This could be the wave of the future. While Marriott is leading the charge, other hotel chains are considering the same thing, as the allure of modern amenities like Netflix can help attract guests who want more than just standard television options.

It isn't clear if guests are charged an additional fee for streaming service or if its included the way cable TV usually is. As more hotels join the fray, it wouldn't surprise us if these streaming services came bundled into a fee-based Internet package for guests.