"Alexa for Hospitality" Makes Hotels Feel More Like Home
I have a short follow-up from my last post about spotting an Amazon Echo device on a hotel front desk!
Apparently, Amazon’s been reading this blog to get ideas because last month it announced a new “Alexa for Hospitality” system:
Amazon this morning is announcing a new program called Alexa for Hospitality, designed to bring its voice assistant technology to everything from chain hotels to vacation rentals. Via the Echo, guests will be able to ask Alexa for information about the hotel itself – like where the fitness center is located, when the pool is open, and other general information. But they’ll also be able to contact services like in-room dining, the concierge, the front desk, housekeeping, the spa, and so on, just by speaking to Alexa.
The main interesting feature that makes this initiative different from the home-grown version I described in May is the opportunity for personalization:
Though not available at launch, the platform will be updated in the future to allow guests to personalize their in-room Echo further by temporarily connecting their own Amazon account for the length of their stay. With the ability to turn your hotel room Alexa into “your” Alexa, you’d be able to play your own personal music from services like Amazon Music, Spotify and Pandora or continue to listen to your audiobooks from Audible, Amazon says.
Now, it remains to be seen whether people will feel comfortable signing into their personal accounts on a public device — I for one probably wouldn’t jump at the chance to give a random hotel access to my Amazon account! But the idea of bringing one’s own media and preferences into a shared space like a hotel room is intriguing. More than just the convenience of speaking to a robot, now we’re talking about ways to make an unfamiliar setting feel more like home — perhaps not unlike the desire of a long-time theatre or orchestra subscriber to renew their same seats year after year.
I’ll be watching with interest to see how this plays out! If you encounter an Alexa-like device in a hotel or other public place this year, leave us a comment below and let us know how you reacted.