Australian Interactive Marketing believe Marriott’s Alexa for Hospitality rollout could be missing a trick.
Outsourced sales and marketing specialists Australian Interactive Marketing are concerned that Marriott’s latest effort to personalise and enhance the consumer experience in their hotels, while fun and interactive, could eventually harm loyalty to their brand.
Australian Interactive Marketing have long felt that the hotel and aviation industries have become increasingly impersonal, largely due to the popularity and convenience of online check-in. The problem with this improvement, however, is that it has decreased the amount of human interaction with brands in these industries at various consumer touch-points.
The American hospitality giants, who manage and franchise a broad portfolio of hotels, are one of the first to offer ‘Alexa for Hospitality’ – a new interactive experience offered by Amazon’s two-way smart speaker, the Echo. Guests will be able to ask Alexa for hotel information, contact the hotel to request guest services, and play music in their room.
Australian Interactive Marketing are conscious of positioning themselves as anti-tech, as they believe this is far from the truth, but would like to see brands adopt it in a responsible manner that truly enhances the consumer experience. Amazon state that Alexa for Hospitality is ‘built to work with existing hotel technologies, reducing or eliminating the need to retrofit or upgrade existing investments’. It is Australian Interactive Marketing’s hope that people aren’t classified as the potentially surplus ‘existing investments’ in that statement.
Lawrence Randall, Managing Director of Australian Interactive Marketing is a devout believer that nothing can beat engaging in-person with a customer to fully understand their queries. He claims to understand today’s role of technology, but feels there’s too much focus on it as a sole strategy – rather than using it as a supplement to foster increased engagement.
“I love how emerging AI tech is making our lives easier, but from Marriott’s perspective I think they’re missing a trick with this tech,” stated Randall, who eludes to the gimmicky-nature of existing in-room technologies. “Amazon’s Alexa is great – but what if she could do more? Is she suitable for hotels? I wouldn’t be interested in using Alexa to listen to music in my hotel room, but what if it could be used to collate anonymous feedback on the guest experience, or something as beneficial?” the MD continued.
While it’s comforting that recordings of Alexa commands are deleted daily, and hotels are not given access to voice recordings of Alexa interactions there still remains a question over privacy, according to Australian Interactive Marketing. Amazon claims that users will also be able to temporarily link their own Amazon account with Echos that are running Alexa for Hospitality in the distant future, which could also spell trouble for privacy.