AI in hospitality - "Alexa, call reception!"

With the launch of the Alexa for Hospitality in June this year, it’s undeniable that technology is becoming a critical element to the success of businesses in the hospitality industry, particularly when it comes to hotels and accommodation providers.

In a very short space of time, hotel customers have come to expect free and fast Wi-Fi as a basic amenity, irrespective of the rating of the accommodation they’re staying in or the length of time they’re staying. This is an indication of the speed with which technology has progressed and continues to do so.

Wi-Fi now almost seems archaic when considering Amazon’s latest programme, Alexa for Hospitality, which has seen the company team up with Marriott International to place the artificial intelligence (AI) voice-assisted Echo devices in hotel guests’ bedrooms. This new, purpose-built Alexa has hotel-specific features and is tailored to the particular hotel in order to improve guest experience.

With the device, guests are able to ask about room service or housekeeping, book spa appointments, call the front desk, request toiletries, and a great deal more. And soon, Amazon plans to enable guests to log in to their personal accounts to access their own data such as music and audiobooks whilst away from home.

The commercial giant has also addressed any privacy concerns associated with having an Echo in guests’ bedrooms: command recordings are deleted daily, devices will only work on that specific hotel’s Wi-Fi and hotels also can’t view the command or response history of the device.

Amazon has seemingly hit the nail on the head with Alexa for Hospitality and it’s likely in the near future we should expect the presence of a voice-controlled AI assistant in our hotel bedrooms to become a norm – many in the industry are referring to this type of service as a ‘digital concierge’.

Today, customers across all industries – but particularly in hospitality – expect instantaneous and efficient responses to their queries and they’re looking for the whole process of asking a question and obtaining the correct answer to cost them minimal effort.

Such recent technological advances in AI are streamlining and accelerating the customer service experience more than ever before.

Being open to new technology is vital for hotels and accommodation providers. The expectations of guests are changing and incorporating features such as this into rooms is a good way to stand out from the crowd.