It’s been an eventful few weeks for Marriott Hotels. First, after being fined $600,000 by the FCC for blocking personal WiFi device access at its Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, and then suffering the slings and arrows of a losing public relations battle, the firm issued a statement of surrender: “Marriott International listens to its customers, and we will not block guests from using their personal WiFi devices at any of our managed hotels.” However, Marriott also said they would continue to ask the FCC for clarification regarding the security measures they can take to detect and contain rogue WiFi hotspots in their meeting and conference rooms, in the interests of protecting customer data.
In more positive news, the chain also announced recently they were testing a new service that allows guests to access their personal Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora accounts in lieu of paying extra to view on-demand movies. The tests are being held at eight of Marriott’s hotels, and could expand to others. There’s been no word on the cost of the service, but if charged as an extra, the content providers would share in the revenue. Of course, Marriott guests can already access Netflix, et al, through their personal laptops and tablets. Provided, of course, that the hotel in question isn’t blocking their WiFi.