Hotel Rooms May Soon Come Equipped With Digital Assistants
For voice-activated virtual assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa, hotels are the next frontier. Best Western became the latest hotel chain to consider deploying digital assistants with the announcement that it was testing the wildly popular tech in select hotels. Best Western CEO David Kong told Skift that the Dot, which runs on Amazon's Alexa software, could help guests access various hotel services.
“If you think about the capabilities of a Dot, not only can you leave a wake-up call, have it playing music, or tell you the time, but you can use that to communicate with hotels, right? You can order your room service from that. You can report something that’s not working, and the staff can use that too,” Kong said. The company worked with Runtriz to develop a test pilot which is currently rolling out in a dozen properties.
Best Western isn't the only hotel to experiment with voice-activated assistants; Wynn Las Vegas has been installing Amazon Echo units in its rooms since late 2016, allowing guests to change music and television stations (among other things) by voice. Marriott, too, is weighing digital assistants, and has already installed Echo in a number of rooms. Their guests have been able to use the tech to do everything from dimming the lights in the room to ordering room service.
Perhaps the biggest decision these brands must make is whether to integrate personal data into the experience. Digital assistants personalize their performance around the user's data, and if guests are able to log in to their hotel room systems they could have an even more individualized experience. Whether guests will be willing to plug in that info is another question entirely.