Marriott Partners with Amazon to put Alexa in its Guest Rooms

Don’t feel like talking to a human to order room service? Simply ask Alexa, your favorite smart home automation center. The Charlotte Marriott City Centre in North Carolina has integrated Amazon Echo devices into its hotel rooms, the first Marriott hotel to do so. Soon, L.A’s Marriott Irvine Spectrum will follow suit. In June, Amazon announced that it had partnered with Marriott to test its Alexa for Hospitality tool, specifically suited for hotels. Through Alexa, guests can order room service, change the lighting and TV, set alarms, get weather updates, and more.

marriott-amazon-alexa
Marriott Testing out Alexa in its Guest Rooms

Marriott is not the first hotel to try Alexa for Hospitality. In 2016, Steve Wynne, CEO of Las Vegas’ Wynn Resorts, installed Amazon Echo in about 5,000 suites. He was thrilled with the results, saying,

“If I have ever seen anything in my 49 years of developing resorts that has made our job of delivering a perfect experience to our guests easier and help us get to another level, it is Alexa.”

Not everyone matches Wynne’s enthusiasm. Many hotel workers are concerned that Alexa will take their jobs. While machines have effectively destroyed most of the U.S’s manufacturing industry, they fear that the service industry might be next. Earlier this month, over 7,7000 Marriott workers went on strike for a variety of reasons, including the fear of being replaced by automated machines. Their concerns are not unfounded. Two Marriott hotels in China have already tested out facial recognition technology, which allows guests to check into the hotel without having to speak to a human.

As many have privacy concerns regarding Alexa, it’s important to note that Marriott guests can disable Alexa and have the Echo speaker removed from their rooms if they prefer. Amazon claims that hotels cannot access voice recordings, and that Alexa does not require any personal information from the visitor.

That being said, Alexa has had some recent blunders regarding security. Last May, Alexa secretly recorded a Portland family’s conversation and sent it to a random person in their contacts. Amazon explained that this was an unlikely accident and that they have taken steps to improve Alexa’s communication. Together, Alexa and Marriott are bringing an entirely new meaning to room service.

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza is a journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her career, her work has spanned many intersections within the tech industry. At SquareFoot, a New York-based real estate technology company, she wrote about the ways in which technology has changed the real estate industry, as well as the challenges that business owners face when they want to invest in property. At Degreed.com, an education technology website, Aliza created digital content for lifelong learners, exploring the ways in which technology has democratized education. Additionally, she has written articles for The Huffington Post as well as her own content on Medium, the online publishing platform. Aliza’s love of journalism and research stems from the excellent Journalism program at Brandeis University. At Brandeis, Aliza interned as a research assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit “news room without walls”. There, Aliza was paired with an investigative journalist and used academic databases to obtain data on everything from the suicide rates in Bhutan to local Boston court cases. Her last position was as an account executive at Yelp, educating business owners on the power of technology to increase revenue. Throughout, however, her heart remained with tech journalism, and she’s thrilled to be writing for Security Baron. When she’s not keeping afloat of the latest tech trends, Aliza likes to cook, read, and write. A former high school “Class Clown,” Aliza has completed two feature-length screenplays, a pilot, and countless comedic sketches. On her days off you can find her relaxing in Prospect Park, trying the latest flavors at Ample Hills Ice Cream, and spending time with friends and family.

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