Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant can already be found in a few hotel chains around the world, but the online retail giant is striving to make it easier for hotels to leverage the Alexa AI. Alexa for Hospitality should be the catalyst Amazon needs to persuade hotels to purchase an Amazon Echo to allow guests to control all their lighting and entertainment needs.
Major hotel brands including Marriott Hotels and the Wynn in Las Vegas have been trialling voice control in their hotel rooms for some time. These initial trial periods involved controlling basic functions of the room through a pairing with control systems like Crestron. Alexa for Hospitality will allow hotels to offer their guests even more voice control features, however. That includes the ability to contract the hotel to request guest services and even find out hotel information from the Alexa voice assistant.
Unsurprisingly, Alexa for Hospitality is launching with Marriott International, with Amazon Echo devices set to be installed in a range of properties from the company’s brands. That includes Marriott Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, Aloft Hotels, and Autograph Collection Hotels. Guests can expect to start seeing the new devices as early as this summer.
“Customers tell us they love how easy it is to get information, enjoy entertainment, and control connected devices by simply asking Alexa, and we want to offer those experiences everywhere customers want them,” says Daniel Rausch, Vice President, Amazon.
“Alexa for Hospitality makes your hotel stay a little more like being at home and gives hospitality providers new ways to create memorable stays for their guests.”
With Alexa for Hospitality, hospitality providers can enable and customise a range of voice-first features based on their guests’ needs. Using an Amazon Echo in their room, guests can ask Alexa for information like pool hours or fitness centre location, request hotel services like room service or housekeeping, call the concierge, and more. Alexa can also be configured by hospitality providers to allow guests to control and adjust in-room devices like lights, thermostats, blinds, and TVs to their individual preferences or ask Alexa to play music from popular services including iHeartRadio and TuneIn. Guests can also be given access to thousands of Alexa skills to check airport wait times, play games, get in a quick guided workout, play white noise to help them fall asleep, and more.
A Smart Hotel Room
The wider adoption of Alexa for Hospitality could lead to hotel rooms getting smarter, which can only mean one thing – integrators being asked to install smart control devices. This could be a new and incredibly lucrative opportunity for integrators, with hotels now likely to go further than just installing a TV in their rooms, but also include things such as smart lighting and smart blind control.
There are hotel chains that already utilise smart technology in many of their rooms. Hilton is one example, with the chain using smart locks that guests can unlock with their smartphones, as well as a whole range of other technologies in their ‘connected rooms’. Marriott’s adoption of Alexa for Hospitality is set to go further, however.
“Marriott has a long track record of innovating for our guests, and we’re thrilled to be among the first to offer Alexa for Hospitality,” says Jennifer Hsieh, Vice President Customer Experience Innovation, Marriott International.
“So many of our guests use voice technology in their home, and we want to extend that convenience to their travel experience. Guests of Charlotte Marriott City Center and Marriott Irvine Spectrum will be among the first to experience a curated list of Alexa for Hospitality features. We will be evaluating guest feedback and adoption to inform how we expand the skills, features, and functionality offered through Alexa in our hotels.”
Hospitality providers will have the option to allow their guests to personalise their Alexa in-room experience. Soon, Alexa for Hospitality will support the ability for Amazon customers to temporarily connect their Amazon account to the Alexa-enabled device in their room. Once connected, guests will be able to play their personal music from services including Amazon Music, Spotify, and Pandora; and listen to audiobooks with Audible. When a guest checks out, Alexa for Hospitality automatically disconnects their Amazon account from the in-room device.
Hotels can also customize the deployment by selecting default music stations from iHeartRadio stations that match their brand, adding property contacts to order room service or booking a spa treatment, and connecting to custom skills that only their guests can access. For example, Marriott Hotels guests, at properties where Alexa for Hospitality is deployed, can take advantage of the brand’s partnership with TED by requesting Alexa play a TED Talk on mindfulness, creativity or leadership.
Alexa for Hospitality is built to work with existing hotel technologies, reducing or eliminating the need to retrofit or upgrade existing investments, and works with a range of trusted hospitality solution providers. Features developed by DigiValet, Intelity, Nuvola, and Volara allow guests to make requests like “Alexa, order wine,” or “Alexa, book a spa appointment,” with requests routed to hotel property management systems. Alexa for Hospitality also works with popular guest room entertainment providers including World Cinema and GuestTek for voice control of TV experiences, and in-room control of connected devices using Crestron and Inncom by Honeywell.