Amazon sought to extend the reach of its Alexa assistant beyond the home, announcing a new partnership with hotel chain Marriott International to put its Echo smart speakers in guest rooms.
Using the assistant, guests will be able to ask for information about hotel services, order room service, call housekeeping or play music. Amazon said hotels will also be able to configure the device to let guests control the lights, temperature, blinds and TV.
The company added guests will be able to connect to their personal Amazon accounts via the speakers. When a guest checks out, the account will automatically be disconnected from the Echo in their room.
“So many of our guests use voice technology in their home, and we want to extend that convenience to their travel experience,” Jennifer Hsieh, VP of customer experience innovation for Marriott International, said in a statement.
The hotel chain will initially deploy Alexa in two locations in the US to evaluate “guest feedback and adoption” with a view to guiding further installations, Hsieh said.
Amazon aimed to head off any privacy concerns around placing the devices in guest rooms, noting while requests are routed through hotel management systems, staff cannot listen to guest conversations with Alexa. In a statement to The Verge Amazon said recordings of guests’ Alexa commands are deleted daily.
It added guests who don’t want to use Alexa can turn off their Echo devices by pressing the microphone on/off button on top of the device. Doing so electrically disconnects the microphones and prevents the device from detecting the wake word or streaming audio to the cloud, Amazon said.