Gone are the days of watching foreign-language soap operas on your hotel room TV. Today, Marriott Hotels unveiled a partnership with Netflix that allows guests to stream their own content simply by logging into their account on a Wi-Fi enabled widescreen HDTV.
The program debuts this summer at six Marriott hotels (all domestic, ranging from New York to Dallas), with expansion to 100 properties earmarked for completion this year. Nearly all of its 300-plus properties under the Marriott flagship brand will have Netflix streaming capacities by the end of 2016; Netflix will also come to Marriott’s other brands (such as JW Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Edition) going forward.
Why haven’t other brands been able to do the same? Information security is the biggest obstacle—hotels have considered Bluetooth-connectivity but worried that those signals could accidentally cross walls into another guest room, and signing in directly on the TV introduces the possibility that guests will remain logged-on after checkout. Marriott’s approach: allow guests to sign onto their accounts straight from the TV, and embed a feature that automatically wipes the TV clean of any personal data between guest stays.
Of course, the challenge of in-room streaming also requires hotels to pick an industry leader. Starwood has alternately experimented with AppleTV and Amazon services, but Marriott is going a different route altogether. “Our collaboration with Netflix responds to changing consumer preferences in the way our guests access and watch content, while recognizing the leading role Netflix is playing in driving this transformation,“ said Matthew Carroll, vice president brand management, Marriott Hotels.
Nikki Ekstein is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
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