(Pocket-lint) - Amazon has announced Alexa for Hospitality.

This is a new version of the company’s voice assistant, Alexa. It's now being rolled out to hotels, vacation rental spaces, and other locations. It offers a unique Alexa experience that's different from the one you're used to at home. The goal here is to deepen guest engagement, and to provide you with a voice-first way to access hotel services and amenities during your stay. Here's what you need to know.

What is Alexa for Hospitality?

  • Integrates with hotel's existing amenities and services.
  • Alexa becomes a guests’ virtual concierge
  • It simplifies tasks for guests like ordering towels.

Amazon announced Alexa for Hospitality as a new experience for hoteliers and their guests.

It essentially brings Alexa to hotels, vacation rentals, and other hospitality locations. You, as the guest staying at one of these spots, will get an Amazon Echo in your room in order to ask for information, contact the hotel to request guest services, play music in your room, and more. Amazon said hospitality providers can customise their Echo devices in just minutes to get them up and running quickly.


How Amazon Alexa will work on hotel Echos

  • Play music by station, genre, and artist
  • Control in-room devices by voice
  • Find local business and services

With Alexa for Hospitality, hospitality providers can offer custom voice-first features to suit your needs. Using an Amazon Echo speaker in your room, you can, for instance, ask Alexa for information like pool hours or fitness center location, request hotel services like room service or housekeeping, call the concierge, and control and adjust in-room devices like lights, thermostats, blinds, and TV.

Amazon said guests will still have access to thousands of Alexa skills to "check airport wait times, play games, get in a quick guided workout, play white noise to help them fall asleep, and more". And, yes, you can also ask Alexa to play music from popular services. However, Alexa for Hospitality also supports hardware settings, like limiting volume level, so you won't be able to fully jam out at 2 am.

On the hotelier side, administrators can select default music stations from iHeartRadio stations to match their brand. They can also add property contacts for ordering room service or booking a spa treatment, as well as offer custom skills that only you - the guest - can access. They can also get notifications if a device goes offline. Hoteliers can further use Alexa for Hospitality to measure engagement.

They'll have access to an analytics dashboard in order to adapt services based on guest feedback, for instance.


What Alexa commands can you say?

  • "Alexa, order room service.”
  • "Alexa, send up two more towels."
  • “Alexa, call the front desk.”
  • “Alexa, help me check out.”

The key thing to remember is that Alexa for Hospitality is still Alexa. You can ask it all the usual things, but it's primarily built to work with existing hotel technologies and works with a range of hospitality solution providers. So, it has new features developed by DigiValet, Intelity, Nuvola, and Volara. This allows you to make new types of requests like “Alexa, order wine” or “Alexa, book a spa appointment".

These requests will be routed to hotel property management systems. Alexa for Hospitality also works with popular guest room entertainment providers including World Cinema and GuestTek. This will allow you to voic- control your TV experiences as well as connected devices via Crestron and Inncom by Honeywell. Marriott Hotels can even take advantage of the brand’s partnership with TED.

That means you can request Alexa to play a TED Talk on mindfulness, creativity or leadership. If in doubt, ask your hotel during check-in for a list of unique commands you can ask Alexa. You can also just ask Alexa. Ask it to turn down the in-room temperature, turn off the lights, find a local restaurants or attraction, call the front desk, and even check out. See above for a few boilerplate commands.


Is this safe?

Amazon is reassuring users by saying recordings of Alexa commands are deleted daily, and that hotels are not given access to voice recordings of Alexa interactions. They are also not able to review Alexa’s responses to users. But, as we said earlier, they can still see analytics.

Which hotels offer Alexa for Hospitality?

  • Available to hotels by invitation only
  • It will begin rolling out this summer
  • Marriott International will offer it first

Alexa for Hospitality is now available to hospitality providers by invitation.

Starting this summer, Marriott International will offer Alexa for Hospitality at select Marriott Hotels, Westin Hotels and Resorts, St. Regis Hotels and Resorts, Aloft Hotels, and Autograph Collection Hotels. Vacation rental companies like RedAwning also plan to offer it, as will boutique lifestyle properties within the Two Roads Hospitality portfolio, including Thompson Hotels, Joie de Vivre, Destination Hotels, and Alila.

Which Echo devices will be in hotels?

Alexa for Hospitality works with Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot.

Can guests connect to their own Amazon account?

In the future, Amazon said you will be able to connect to your personal Amazon account, allowing you to call personal contacts, play your favourite music, and listen to your own Audible audiobooks. We'll keep you posted as we learn more.

Want to know more?

For more information visit Amazon's Alexa for Hospitality page.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.