The Alexa for Hospitality program is designed to make it easier for hotels to take advantage of the voice software, Amazon's latest effort to extend Alexa's utility in settings outside the home.
Amazon is rolling out software tools designed to make it easier for hotel managers to operate Alexa devices in guest rooms, the latest evidence of the company’s ambitions to make its virtual assistant software useful beyond the home.
The Seattle company on Tuesday introduced Alexa for Hospitality, a set of features that enable hotel operators to program the voice-activated software to answer questions about the hotel or request services.
Alexa, and the Echo speaker-and-microphone devices it is most often associated with, is most often used at homes, where it can play music, check the weather or news, and control other internet-enabled devices.
Amazon is hoping that the use of its voice software will catch on in other settings. The company introduced the Alexa for Business program late last year, giving companies tools to manage user accounts and company-owned devices.
Most Read Business Stories
- Human spaceflight in the hands of billionaires is no 'giant leap'
- Breaking up with Venmo: The best payment apps for privacy and low fees
- Work-from-home benefits could stir up new battles between workers and their bosses
- North Cascades timberland sold by Weyerhaeuser will feed Darrington sawmill
- On his ‘Best day ever!’ Jeff Bezos traveled to space — and spurred a backlash
Hotel operators have been placing Amazon Echo devices in hotel rooms since at least late 2016, when a rollout by the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas drew widespread attention. In Seattle, hotels such as the Thompson, Kimpton Alexis and Embassy Suites already have Echo speakers in guest rooms.
The new program, built by a separate team than the crew that developed Alexa for Business, is open by invitation only. A pilot customer, Marriott, will roll out Alexa for Hospitality features in a variety of hotels, including properties in Charlotte, N.C., and Irvine, Calif., Amazon said.
A cluster of technology companies already sell software for hotels to set up and manage devices.
Amazon says the new program complements, and doesn’t replace, those efforts. The software works with in-room entertainment systems built by World Cinema and GuestTek, Amazon said, and smart-room devices built by Crestron and Honeywell.