Amazon targets hotels with new ‘Alexa for Hospitality’ voice service, inks Marriott deal

Lounging in a suite at the Wynn Las Vegas, which has installed Amazon’s Echo device in hundreds of rooms earlier this year. (GeekWire photo / Kevin Lisota)

Amazon is making a big push to get its Alexa voice technology inside hotel rooms.

Related:Testing Alexa in a hotel room: We used Amazon’s voice assistant inside a swanky Las Vegas suite

The Seattle tech giant today announced “Alexa for Hospitality,” an expansion of initial tests using Alexa and Amazon’s Echo device as a way to let hotel guests order room service, call the front desk, control the lights, change the TV channel, play music, and more — all with their voice.

Amazon inked a deal with Marriott to roll out the technology this summer at select properties in Marriott Hotels; Westin Hotels Resorts; St. Regis Hotels Resorts; Aloft Hotels; and Autograph Collection Hotels. Alexa will also be available at boutique properties including Thompson Hotels; Joie de Vivre; Destination Hotels; and Alila, in addition to vacation rental properties from RedAwning.

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

GeekWire got a first look at initial tests of Amazon’s hotel integration earlier this year when we visited the Wynn hotel on The Las Vegas Strip during the big Consumer Electronics Show. In December 2016, Amazon announced that it was equipping 4,748 hotel rooms at the Wynn Las Vegas with an Echo.

Amazon said today that Amazon customers will soon be able to temporarily connect a personal Amazon account to the device in the room, allowing them to play their own music or audiobooks. Amazon will disconnect the account when a guest checks out.

Hotels will be able to create custom Alexa skills, set default radio stations and add property contacts, among other features.

The integration might spook some folks who were put off by the unusual case of Alexa eavesdropping on a Portland family last month. But The Verge noted that recordings of Alexa commands are deleted daily, and hotels are not given access to the voice interactions.

Last year, Amazon announced Alexa for Business, a platform that gives companies a back-end dashboard to manage a fleet of Echos and build custom Alexa skills catered to their particular needs through Amazon Web Services.

This is another example of Amazon’s attempt to get its Alexa voice platform everywhere as it battles rivals like Google, Apple, and Microsoft in the voice technology market.  Apple and Google have also been working to get their voice technology inside hotel rooms.

In the hotel market, Amazon has additional competition, including Roxy, a Seattle startup led by former Amazon and Microsoft employees that makes a smart speaker for the hotel industry. Roxy announced new customizations and increased security on Monday.

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