Hotels are quickly becoming the latest front in the battle for dominance of the nascent voice assistant market.
Last year the Wynn Las Vegas resort became the first hotel to install Alexa-powered Echo devices, announcing plans to do so in all of its 4,748 rooms. And now Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain, is looking at integrating either Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri into some of its locations.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Marriott officials are testing both Alexa and Siri-powered devices at the Aloft hotel in Boston to see which voice assistant is a better fit for doing things like turning on lights, opening and closing drapes, shifting room temperature and controlling televisions.
Alexa has already gained a foothold with Marriott. Bloomberg reports that a 1,002-room JW Marriott in San Antonio has installed Alexa-powered devices in 10 of its most popular rooms, with plans to add them in 100 more rooms. Alexa is also in the company’s Four Seasons hotel in Washington D.C.
This is a high stakes battle for sure, as Marriott has more than 6,000 properties in 120 countries around the world. Whichever voice assistant wins out will be exposed to thousands of hotel guests. There are more than 130 Aloft-branded hotels in the U.S., according to Bloomberg, with another 100 planned in the future.
Amazon has pulled into an early lead in the voice assistant market, thanks to Alexa and her more than 10,000 skills. Amazon has been adding Alexa to more of its own devices, and the company is now going after the smartphone market. Last week, Amazon announced plans to bring Alexa to iPhones and eventually Android devices. Alexa is also coming to the Huawei Mate 9 phone as part of a software update.
Despite its lead, Alexa faces stiff competition. There is of course Siri. Google has its own voice assistant as well as the Google Home speaker, which competes directly with the Echo. Microsoft has Cortana integrated into Windows 10. Samsung also threw its hat into the ring this week, announcing that the Galaxy S8 Smartphone will come equipped with the company’s own voice assistant, Bixby.