June 2018 –This article from Luxury Daily discusses Marriott International introducing Amazon’s new Alexa for Hospitality artificial intelligence platform in select luxury hotels. ( https://www.luxurydaily.com/marriott-voice-technology/)

By Sarah Ramirez

Global hospitality group Marriott International is harnessing voice technology partnering to provide a more interactive guest experience at properties including St. Regis Hotels, as luxury travel offerings become more advanced.

Marriott International is introducing Amazon’s new Alexa for Hospitality artificial intelligence platform to a limited number of hotels starting this summer. In rooms outfitted with Amazon Echo virtual assistant devices, guests can ask the voice assistant for hotel information, request guest services, play music in their room and more.

“Alexa for Hospitality will be a great convenience for users searching for a hotel,” said Ron Kurtz, president of the American Affluence Research Center, Atlanta. “Marriott’s participation will give users a broad selection of brands, and thus real choices in features, pricing and value.”

Mr. Kurtz is not affiliated with Marriott or Amazon, but agreed to comment as an industry expert. Marriott and Amazon were reached for comment.

Alexa for Hospitality
Marriott’s partnership with Alexa for Hospitality is an innovative complement to the hotel group’s growing luxury presence.

Guests at select properties in Marriott Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, Aloft Hotels and Autograph Collection Hotels will be able to use Alexa’s voice technology to access services and amenities.

With an Amazon Echo in their room, guests have an easily accessible resource to ask for more information about hotel amenities or even check the weather and flight times. Guests can also ask Alexa for Hospitality to adjust the light, thermostat or blinds in their hotel rooms, making for a more comfortable stay.

When guests use voice control to make requests such as ordering room service or booking spa treatments, Alexa for Hospitality works with Marriott’s existing technologies and other solution providers to route the requests to the correct management systems.

In the near future, Alexa for Hospitality will also allow guests to sign into their personal Amazon accounts. This gives visitors access to their own digital library, whether it be music or audiobooks, while they travel.

Alexa for Hospitality also allows for subtle branding opportunities, whether playing music stations that match the amenities offered at a location or playing a TED Talk from Marriott’s partnership with the media organization.

Artificial Intelligence in Hospitality
A growing number of luxury hospitality brands are incorporating artificial intelligence and other technology into their guest services.

For example, last year Mandarin Oriental introduced a humanoid robot as part of the staff at its Las Vegas location. The humanoid robot, known as Pepper, is able to discern a guest’s gender, approximate age and can provide guests with personalized communications by detecting facial, body and vocal cues.

Artificial intelligence also helps hospitality brands gather guest feedback, which can be used to further improve customer service or marketing efforts.

Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts used consumer insight data to inspire their first digital-led campaign. Instead of focusing on how technology helps guests, Waldorf Astoria’s video campaign emphasized face-to-face interactions — a conscious choice made based on a survey nearly 1,500 luxury consumers over the age of 25.

Marriott International will be able to use analytics provided by Alexa for Hospitality to measure engagement, eventually adapting services based on guest feedback.

“Luxury hospitality brands are all about service, of which a key element is convenience,” Mr. Kurtz said. “Alexa for Hospitality will deliver convenience that other brands will want to replicate to stay competitive.”