Jun 20 2018

Amazon Tailors Alexa AI Assistant for the Hospitality Industry

The company says its digital assistant will improve guests' experiences and empower staff at hotels.

First, the office. Now, your hotel room. 

On June 19, Amazon announced Alexa for Hospitality, its effort to bring its voice-based, Alexa artificial intelligence platform, via its Echo speakers, to hotel rooms around the world. The effort comes about seven months after the company unveiled Alexa for Business, which is designed to help workers easily start conference calls and videoconferences, book conference rooms, order office supplies, find open conference rooms and more

The new hospitality-focused offering is being made available to hospitality providers by invitation, with Marriott International introducing the new service at select properties in Marriott Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, Aloft Hotels, and Autograph Collection Hotels starting this summer. 

Hotel guests can use Echo devices in their rooms to ask Alexa for hotel information; contact the hotel to request guest services; play music by station, genre, and artist; control in-room devices by voice; and more. Amazon says Alexa for Hospitality will empower hospitality staff members by delivering guests' requests to the right team immediately, allowing for responsive service. By routing routine tasks, such as housekeeping or room-service requests, staff are able to “focus on the guest interactions that matter most,” Amazon says. 

Smart speakers are appearing in more settings outside of homes, but security concerns may inhibit adoption by businesses. As The Verge notes, there are some clear privacy concerns, but Amazon appears to have thought about those. Recordings of Alexa commands are deleted daily, according to the publication. “Hotels are not given access to voice recordings of Alexa interactions. Nor are they able to review Alexa’s responses to users,” The Verge reports. 

“We saw an opportunity to bring over the experience that consumers are having today in their homes — to simply use your voice to get information, to make requests, to take notes — and bring that over into a hotel environment,” Jennifer Hsieh, vice president of customer experience innovation for Marriott International, tells Mashable.