For people who are staying at Westin, Marriott, or Aloft hotels, many room will now offer an Amazon Echo, with the Alexa voice assistant to listen and help with any needs. This new program is called “Alexa for Hospitality,” and it offers hotels and vacation rentals the opportunity to set up customized versions of Amazon Echo products that work like a digital helper. These devices are specialized to answer any questions about reservations, pool hours, and local conveniences. It can also assist with room service and housekeeping. And, having an Amazon account can make the experience with the device more “customized” based off your profile. With this personalized feature, and having Alexa to help with any needs, customers are more likely to have better experience with the Echo, rather than having to speak to an assistant. Every big hotel chain is investing in smart rooms that visitors may not know how to use. However, the Amazon Echo provides the easy voice interface that is perfect for linking these customer experience gaps.
However, the risks of implementing these “always-listening” devices into private rooms can be very risky. Amazon claimed that the users’ voice recording will not be saved beyond 24 hours or shared with the hotel operators. Yet, these privacy promises are not consistent, given Silicon Valley’s poor record on privacy failures and breaches. It has been reported that one Echo has recently shared the whole conversation of a family with a random contact cross the internet. The big question to investors is whether the benefits can outweigh the problems, given that there are not any problems about privacy invasion.