Marriott puts Alexa, Siri to the test

(Marriott tests Alexa, Siri for voice-controlled hotel rooms )

Marriott International is testing Amazon Alexa-powered devices as well as Apple's Siri-powered options at its Aloft hotel in Boston’s Seaport district to decide which is the best for letting guests turn on lights, close drapes, increase or decrease room temperature, and even flip through TV channels using only their voice.

In December, Wynn Resorts became the first hotel company to install Alexa-powered Echo devices, starting with suites at its flagship Wynn Las Vegas property.

Marriott expects to decide whether to adopt the technology for one or more of its chains as early as mid-year, potentially boosting sales for the device of choice, Bloomberg reports. More important, it will increase the winning company’s exposure in the market for voice-activated devices, which are gaining more mainstream traction.

“Those two players are in the game right now,” said Toni Stoeckl, who oversees the Aloft, Element, AC and Moxy chains as global brand leader for lifestyle brands at Marriott. There are almost 130 Aloft hotels in the U.S., and more than 100 additional ones planned.

The JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, a Texas property with 1,002 rooms, has installed Alexa devices in 10 of its most popular rooms, with plans to equip an additional 100 rooms next month. The digital assistant can be used to control lights in five of the rooms, but the focus is on using Alexa as a personal concierge for ordering roomservice, or requesting towels or toothpaste from housekeeping. The resort said it has been testing the Amazon technology since October.