For the consumer out there who has yet to jump into the smart speaker game for one reason or another, they will now have a new way of demoing one prior to ever bringing it into their home—and it doesn’t involve some gimmicky in-store kiosk or end cap. Rather, Amazon announced today that it has partnered with hospitality providers to develop Alexa for Hospitality, a “voice-first experience” driven by Amazon's digital voice assistant.
Alexa for Hospitality will essentially replace the outdated telephone on the nightstand to offer the guest a voice-activated way to order room service, request housekeeping, or call the concierge for dinner recommendations. Amazon said the services is intended to help improve the guest experience by offering them increased access to various amenities, but it could also be a tool that improves employee productivity. The company is working with major property management, ticketing, and guest engagement solutions to “make Alexa integration simple for hotels.”
Alexa for Hospitality is expected to launch this summer at select Marriott International properties.
"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," Daniel Rausch, a VP at Amazon, said in a statement. "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."
Amazon explained that the hospitality providers will be able to customize a range of voice-first features based on their guests’ needs. Using an Echo placed in the room, guests can ask Alexa for basic information like pool hours or the location o the fitness center. Functionality can also be expanded to include smart home features like controlling the lights, TV, and other connected devices in the room. And guests can also be given access to a laundry list of Alexa skills to check airport wait times, play games, set reminders, listen to music, and more.
Additionally, Amazon said that Alexa for Hospitality will soon support the ability for Amazon customers to temporarily connect their Amazon account to that in-room Alexa-enabled device. Doing so will give the guest access to their personal music and more. Alexa for Hospitality will automatically disconnect the user’s account from the in-device room at the end of the stay.
Though its press release highlights all of the ways that Alexa for Hospitality improves the lives of the hospitality worker and the guest experience, the new service from Amazon really has two untold major benefits: the ability to get its products in front of more potential customers and staying in touch with current customers (and getting more info/data about them) in a different kind of environment. It’s a smart—and obvious—play by Amazon to get into the hospitality space with Alexa. And who knows, maybe one day all of this information they collect about how the hotels and hotel guests use this service will result in a chain of Amazon-run hotels.