Marriott International, one of the nation's leading hotel groups, says it's pulling access to adult movies from new hotel rooms it will open in the next several years.
Marriott says its decision coincides with a pending shift to new in-room entertainment technology for its new hotels. Traditional video systems, which included access to adult content displayed in the menu selection, will be replaced by Internet-based video-on-demand systems.
But the decision also comes after years of discussing whether the availability of lucrative adult films in guest rooms is appropriate and whether safeguards exist to prevent children from seeing it.
Hotels have seen revenue from providing pay-per-view movies in rooms shrink. Business travelers have been increasingly checking into hotels with their own entertainment, whether Netflix DVDs, iPod Touch, laptop or Slingbox.
"Changing technology and how guests access entertainment has reduced the revenue hotels and their owners derive from in-room movies, including adult content," Marriott says.
According to Colliers PKF Hospitality Research, hotels now collect about 39% fewer dollars from all pay-per-view movie rentals than they did a decade ago. The average hotel collects about $175 per available room per year, down from $288 in 2000, says Robert Mandelbaum, the firm's research director. He estimates that industrywide, movie-rental revenue in 2009 was roughly $380 million.
"It's becoming a declining source of revenue," he said of pay-per-view movies.
As movies of all kinds become less of a moneymaker for hotels, more hotels may make similar decisions, says Joe McInerney, CEO of industry group American Hotel and Lodging Association.
"It is a hotel's prerogative, as well as a business decision, regarding what services it provides to its guests, including those striving to enhance their family-friendly image," he says.
Omni, with 50 hotels, is the biggest chain that doesn't offer adult entertainment on TVs. Omni went porn-free in 1999, says spokeswoman Caryn Kboudi. "The ownership decided that it was not a way that we wanted to make money," she says.