The pretty young woman in a miniskirt on my TV screen had an interesting sales pitch that caught my attention.
“Access your in-room adult movie selections,” she purred. “Where there’s no spyware, no malware and no viruses!”
Here, on my television screen at an inn in Oregon, was proof positive that purveyors of in-room hotel porn are getting desperate. Given the choice between accessing porn for free on their computers or paying through the nose for it on pay-per-view, most randy hotel patrons are voting with their pocketbooks.
Indeed, LodgeNet, one of the companies that provides in-room entertainment options to a variety of major hotel chains, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year; and, according to The New York Times, some of their competitors are also struggling. Meanwhile, some hotel chains, like Omni and Marriott, have gotten rid of in-room porn altogether.An industry expert cited by NBC News estimated that adult movies comprise 85 percent of the in-room entertainment revenues hotels collect, so the option to either market in-room porn more effectively or declare defeat and stake out the high moral ground, like Omni and Marriott, is clear.
I’m way too frugal to buy in-room movies, adult or otherwise, when I travel. If I want to watch a movie, I’ll stream something on Netflix, but that can be frustrating if the hotel has sketchy Wi-Fi. A story in the Times a few weeks ago speculated that hotels may move toward offering free low-speed Internet (thought it obviously won’t be called that) that will allow guests to send and receive e-mail but charge them for higher bandwidth access that will allow them to stream videos. One way or another, hotels will find a way to make money off of the guest’s desire to be entertained while on their premises.
What I would like from my in-room TV is the following: TV! When I hit the power button on the remote, I’m doing so because I want to watch TV. You know, the stuff that appears on the screen for free. But at many hotel chains, the default setting is the pay-per-view system and you have to figure out how to navigate out of it without accidentally authorizing something you’ll have to pay for. Often times, you just need to hit the channel up button, but sometimes you have to use the arrow buttons to navigate to the normal channel lineup. It’s not rocket science, but it is annoying.
Some hotels don’t have a pay-per-view system on default but they bring you directly to the hotel channel, which is normally used to tell you all about their overpriced steaks and massages and what not. I’d rather watch an infomercial for the Ab Lounge, thank you very much.
When I encountered the sultry vixen who promised me some adult fun with no spyware, malware or viruses, I was actually trying to find some cartoons for my kids. Really, I swear.