Amazon Echo Virtual Concierge Launches In Marriott Hotels

Thomas Tamblyn

The next time you stay in a hotel you might find you’re not alone.

Amazon has unveiled a special version of its Echo speaker with Alexa voice assistant specifically designed for hotels.

The Alexa for Hospitality service lets guests order room service, ask for more towels or get restaurant recommendations without ever having to pick up the phone and call the front desk.

Other tasks Alexa can do include checking guests out of their room, turning on the lights or playing music to help them fall asleep.

Marriott has signed up for the service, and will place Amazon Echo smart speakers in 10 hotels this summer, including its Westin and St Regis brands.

Amazon said data from hotel guests will be deleted daily, and Marriott said those who do not want an Echo device in their room can ask to have it removed.

Hotels will be able to customise the responses Alexa gives their guests, such as nearby restaurant recommendations or pool hours.

Later this year, Amazon will allow hotel guests to link their Amazon account to Alexa so they can listen to their music playlists or audio books during their stay.

This isn’t a full version of Alexa though so unsurprisingly shopping will not be allowed through the hotel version, Amazon confirmed.

While having an Echo in your hotel room might sound convenient, some security experts have warned that like anything of this nature, it comes with risks.

“It’s an excellent idea and great to see an establishment like this embracing smart technology. However, with any device of this nature there is always a privacy concern that it is always listening.” Explains Jake Moore, a security specialist at cyber security firm ESET.

“With that in mind you can never expect to have 100% privacy. However, you can reduce those risks by using the following steps. Firstly, you don’t have to use it, sometimes convenience doesn’t trump security. Secondly, you can always mute or switch it off entirely if you’re having a private conversation.”

It’s also not clear if Marriott plans to use the service as an eventual replacement for the front desk however HuffPost has reached out to the hotel chain for further comment.

Amazon already sells a version of Alexa for workplaces, and has struck deals to place Alexa in cars and fridges.

Alexa has become an important part of Amazon’s business because it keeps users attached to Amazon services, such as music streaming.

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