As technology advances, hotels are trying to incorporate features that might enhance guest experience. According to a new report from Bloomberg, Marriott is testing both Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa in hotel rooms, and may decide to install the platforms in all rooms on “one or more of its chains.” This could happen as early as mid-2017, so guests might soon be able to use their voices to control the drapes, lights, room temperature, or even TV channels.
Currently, rooms at the Aloft Boston Seaport are outfitted with either Apple devices (where users can summon Siri) or Amazon Echo (where guests can call up Alexa). The JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country already has 10 rooms equipped with the Amazon Echo, but the offering will be expanded to 100 rooms next month.
Of course, Amazon Echo requires a dedicated input device. Meanwhile, some hotels already provide guests with an in-room iPad (the Park Hyatt New York comes to mind), so the rollout on the user-end might be easier with Siri at these properties. But frankly, the bulk of the cost likely comes from fixtures and appliances that will have to be Apple HomeKit or Amazon Alexa-compatible, so that might sway hotels one way or another as well.
It’s unsure how much input the technology companies have in this test, but it’s not hard to imagine the impact it might have for them. Much like West Elm might do in their own hotels, even though furniture pieces are not outfitted with price tags, the guest rooms act somewhat as showrooms, and might be a great marketing opportunity for Amazon and/or Apple.
This really isn’t something groundbreaking, though. Wynn Las Vegas announced in December 2016 (link to video) that they will be installing the Amazon Echo in all of their 4,748 guest rooms. All the suites should have the device now, but the complete rollout won’t be done until Summer of this year. Guests will be able to control the room lights, temperature, drapes, and TV with the device. The personal assistant feature will likely be introduced down the road.
It’s no doubt that smart homes are becoming more popular, and items needed to create one are becoming increasingly accessible. However, it’s still far from commonplace. But considering how long a brand-wide rollout might take and how quickly smart home technology is being adopted, I applaud Marriott for being forward-thinking. Marriott hasn’t said whether Alexa or Siri is winning, but that they are on track to declare a winner by mid-2017.