Eye on Hospitality: Virtual Assistants May Be Coming to a Hotel Near You

Eye on Hospitality: Virtual Assistants May Be Coming to a Hotel Near You https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/alexa.jpg

By Paul Schlienz

 

The hospitality industry is abuzz following this week’s announcement that Amazon is partnering with Marriott on a new program called Alexa for Hospitality. As described by TechCrunch, Voice assistants, like Alexa and Apple’s Siri, can potentially transform the hotel experience as we know it. In an age when convenience is more prized than ever, the new Alexa for Hospitality system can include key information for guests, like checkout time or pool hours, and allow guests to easily request services like housekeeping and room service. In rooms enabled with “smart” technology, Alexa for Hospitality can perform tasks like adjusting the thermostat or raising the blinds. Clearly, the future is now.

“This is about what next-generation travelers might want and how they would use their own devices at home and how that would translate to their travel experience,” Toni Stoeckl, global brand leader for Lifestyle Brands at Marriott International, told Fox News.

Although Alexa for Hospitality’s rollout has garnered tremendous publicity, the marriage of virtual assistants with the hotel experience has long been in the works. According to New York Magazine, the Aloft boutique chain began using Siri in 2016. Google, too, is actively working to integrate Google Assistant in to concierge services. And following Amazon’s 2017 announcement of its plan to pursue hotel markets, hotels, including Las Vegas’ Wynn and some Texas Best Western Hotels have already experimented with bringing Alexa into their guest’s experiences. Marriott’s partnership with Amazon, however, is a potential game changer, according to Forbes, because it gives Alexa such a boost in its battle with rival Siri for the hotel market.

Whichever company ultimately wins the battle to dominate the virtual assistant market for hotels, the train has left the station and there is no stopping it. And it’s not just the millennial generation that expects this kind of convenience.

While millennials and Gen X households are most likely to use virtual assistant technology, 18-to-24-year-olds and people 65 and older are showing increased interest, according to a recent comScore Connected Home study.

“As home automation becomes more mainstream, people will begin to expect those same comforts when they travel,” John Clancy, vice president of Residential Systems at Crestron, which builds home and building automation systems, told Fox News. “At the same time, hotels can leverage this type of innovation to gain a competitive advantage, and technology companies get a new marketing stage. It’s a win for everyone involved.”

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