Before you rush to book a Marriott room, the hotel giant is offering the feature only at eight hotels on a test basis.
Marriott officials wouldn’t give any details about how the test is being conducted or how they will use the results.
“We are not getting into the nitty gritty of the test,” said Marriott spokesman John Wolf.
If Marriott guests give positive reviews of the online entertainment streaming, industry experts say, the hotel company may be able to generate new revenue in several ways.
For example, Marriott could offer the streaming access only to guests who pay an extra charge or to guests who are members of Marriott’s reward program.
Another option would be for Marriott to share in the money generated by each new Netflix, Hulu or Pandora member who signs on during a hotel stay, said Linchi Kwok, a professor at the Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona.
“It’s good to see Marriott trying to do something new and embrace the online trend,” he said.
The move would help Marriott make up for the revenue it has lost over the last few decades from a sharp decline in on-demand movie rentals and phone calls made from guest rooms. Most hotel guests now make calls on their own cellphones and watch movies on Wi-Fi-enabled laptop computers.
It’s a problem that has hurt the entire industry.
Between 2007 and 2013, revenue from in-room movie rentals dropped 42% and revenue from telephone calls sank 40%, according to PKF Hospitality Research.
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