EMMAs

Amazon’s Alexa becomes a digital butler at Marriott hotels

Tim Maytom

Amazon has announced that it has partnered with hotel chain Marriott International to provide its Alexa digital assistant to guests at a number of locations. Amazon Echo devices will be installed in select properties including Marriott Hotels, West Hotels & Resorts and Autograph Collection Hotels, as the tech giant expands into the world of hospitality.

To power this new deployment, Amazon has developed Alexa for Hospitality, a new variant on its digital assistant software designed specifically to be installed in hotels, vacation rentals and other hospitality locations.

"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," said Jennifer Hsieh, vice president for customer experience innovation at Marriott International. "So many of our guests use voice technology in their home, and we want to extend that convenience to their travel experience."

Alexa for Hospitality enables users to ask for hotel information, contact the hotel to request guest services, play music in their room and more. It can be configured to control and adjust in-room devices like lights, thermostats, blinds and TVs, as well as accessing the usual selection of Alexa skills.

Guests will also have the ability to temporarily log in to their own Amazon account, providing them with access to their own personal music streaming services including Amazon Music, Spotify and Pandora. Alexa for Hospitality then automatically logs them out when they check out from the room.

"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," said Daniel Rausch, vice president at 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."

For hospitality operators, the software is built to work with existing hotel technologies, with firms like DigiValet, Intelity, Nuvola and Volara having built skills that connect with their own software. When guests make requests, they are routed to the appropriate hotel property management systems, reducing or eliminating the need to retrofit or upgrade existing software.

Marriott has reportedly been in the process of trialling various digital assistant technologies in its rooms, including Apple's Siri, but the deal with Amazon suggests that the global brand has made a firm decision. Alexa for Hospitality will be deployed in a small number of locations initially, including Charlotte Mariott City Centre and Marriott Irvine Spectrum, and Marriott will be evaluating guest feedback and adoption to inform how it expands both the deployment and the features offered through Alexa.