In an announcement made by Amazon, the company has made a deal with Marriott hotels to put Echo devices in rooms to act as a “virtual concierge.” A new service has been in testing by Marriott that they call “Alexa for Hospitality.” This service lets hotel customers order room service, contact housekeeping for additional towels, check out or talk to the concierge. The general idea behind this new service is to replace the in-room telephone.
According to Reuters, Marriott will begin the rollout this summer at “select” properties. For Amazon, the company would like to place more of their devices in more hotel chains and vacation rentals around the world.
Services and capabilities can be customized and do a broad range of things: “Alexa simplifies tasks for guests like playing music, ordering towels, controlling in-room temperature or lighting, finding local restaurants and attractions, calling, and even checking out. Alexa makes delivering a great customer experience simple.”
Although there are some hotels who implemented messaging for some of these services, a voice controlled experience would be more user-friendly and offer a broader range of capabilities. It would be interesting to have practically every system and appliance in the hotel room, such as the thermostat, television, etc, be potentially controlled by Alexa.
According to Amazon, users can even connect their own Amazon accounts in the hotel rooms, “allowing them to call personal contacts, play their favorite music, and listen to Audible audiobooks.” The company is also encouraging hotel properties to build custom skills: “Create a differentiated experience by building a skill that lets guests naturally access property information, services, and amenities.”
When a hotel gets access to their own Alexa assistant, they will get access to a dashboard with analytics about guest engagement and other data. The biggest issue that needs to be over come for both Amazon and Marriott is the potential concern over privacy for guests, or that the in-room conversations or activities are being recorded or captured.