Do you love hotels rooms but hate the idea of having to leave said hotel room for anything? Do you wish you could just scream “MORE TINY SHAMPOOS” at the hotel room walls and more tiny shampoos would appear? Enter Alexa for Hospitality. It’s the height of luxury or perhaps laziness ... which admittedly is a form of luxury in itself.
Amazon is partnering with Marriott International to put Echo devices in select hotel rooms across the country. According to Select All, Alexa for Hospitality essentially functions like an in-room concierge. Using Alexa, guests will be able to adjust things in their room like temperature and lighting with voice commands. You can turn all the room lights off from the comfort of your cozy hotel bed! You can change the room temperature without spending thirty minutes hunched over and cursing at a thermostat! Luxury!!!
Guests will also be able to do things like play music, watch TV, order room service, call the front desk, even extend their stay all with the help of Alexa. You’ll be living your full Kevin from Home Alone 2 life in 2018-style: ordering room service pizza just by uttering the words “room service pizza," lounging on a bed bigger than your bedroom at home while turning the lights on and off with the sound of your voice. I repeat, LUXURY.
According to Amazon’s Alexa for Hospitality page, guests cannot currently link their personal Amazon accounts to their hotel room Alexa. However, it is denoted as a feature “coming soon.” In the near future, when guests are able to log in to their Amazon account, they’ll also be able to utilize their hotel Alexa “to call personal contacts, play their favorite music, and listen to Audible audiobooks.”
As TechCrunch reports, Alexa for Hospitality will be able to link with the hotel’s current technology and systems. For example, guests would be able to say, “Alexa, book a spa appointment” if, of course, the hotel has a spa. Then, they would be automatically routed to the proper system in order to complete their request.
Alexa isn’t the first unexpected guest to pop up in hotel rooms. In 2016, the boutique hotel Aloft debuted voice-activated rooms on their properties. In partnership with Apple, select Aloft rooms included Siri, allowing guests to control things like room lighting and temperature. In May of this year, Google announced it’s investing in startups that use Google Assistant. The search engine giant said it would start working with early stage startups that integrated Google Assistant into their infrastructure. Technically speaking, everyone is very into the idea of yelling commands into the void and hoping a robot will fulfill them. Future luxury!
Of course, the inclusion of an in-room voice assistant raises concerns about privacy. How often is Alexa listening? Is she recording conversations and, ahem, other sounds? Daniel Rausch, Amazon’s vice-president of smart home, told Select All that Alexa for Hospitality will “have access to anonymized and aggregated data about how guests are using Alexa in the hotel room.” This aggregated data would then be used to improve Alexa for Hospitality and let the hotel know what guests are requesting the most.
However, Amazon clarified the Alexa for Hospitality does not record specific voice data from rooms, adding that all voice data is deleted daily. On FAQ page for Alexa for Hospitality, it also clarifies that the in-room device “can’t listen to what you said to Alexa or what she said back.” The feature can also be turned off if guests are concerned about sacrificing privacy for ~*luxury*~.
There is not, however, any word on whether hotel room Alexa will laugh maniacally, for no particular reason, like her homebound sisters.