Not long ago, hotel chains would offer free HBO in guest rooms as a selling point. But times have changed, and now Marriott is boasting about Netflix access instead.
Starting today, guests at a handful of Marriott hotels can tap into their Netflix accounts directly from the televisions in their rooms. While Netflix is only available at six hotels for now, with another six coming soon, Marriott plans to offer access in 100 properties by year's end. Nearly all of its 300 U.S. hotels should be on board by the end of 2016.
To be clear, you still need to bring your own Netflix account. The good news, however, is that you won't need to pay for hotel Internet access. As long as you're a Netflix member, you can binge-watch Daredevil from your hotel room at no extra charge.
Marriott also has a smart system in place for dealing with guest turnover. Guests will need to log into their Netflix accounts only once per stay. After they check out, Marriott automatically wipes their account information.
Marriott began testing Netflix access earlier this year, along with other Internet services such as Hulu, Crackle, and Pandora. Some properties saw as much as 26 percent of guests take advantage, with a "significant majority" of usage going to Netflix. A report last month by Cord Cutters News noted that Marriott was still testing this wider range of services, though it's unclear whether they'll be part of the full rollout that brings Netflix to most Marriott properties.
Why this matters: Hotel video options are looking increasingly antiquated as more people turn to streaming services for their nightly entertainment. But until now, all we've had are workarounds. Sure, you can throw an Amazon Fire TV Stick into your suitcase, but then you're still stuck paying for hotel Wi-Fi . And while you could just connect to your phone's mobile hotspot instead, that's a fine way to rack up data usage and go over your monthly cap. Hopefully the competition sees what Marriott is doing, and turns access to streaming services into the standard that free HBO once was.