Voice interfaces in hotels

March 15, 2021

(This was hosted on my old site and originally published on June 28, 2018)

I'm sharing a bunch of posts from my old WP site and this is the first of them.

Nearly three years later, it looks like the program (Amazon for Hospitality) is still running with a website that looks like it put together in a couple of hours by the design intern. But that's Amazon for you. I wonder what other similar uses cases there are like hotels? Maybe airport lounges?

Original post below.

Last week Amazon announced that they are going to launch a custom version of Alexa for hotels. It’s a really interesting use case because the location helps reduce or refine the number of possible/likely requests the Alexa may get.

The idea being that for now, voice interfaces will work best in two variations. One being when it has to understand only a few words (volume up, play song, call Mum), the other being when it can understand all words. Anything in between is difficult because you have no physical interface showing you what you can and can’t select/say (a menu).

This is explained well in this article by Benedict Evans.

Benedict also included the Amazon announcement in his newsletter which I forwarded to my partner Ed and kicked off a discussion about why hotels would or wouldn’t be good for Alexa.

Below is my final email response to Ed and his comments in green. Debating this stuff is really helpful and I appreciated Ed’s pushback on my blanket claim that “this is good” because it forced me to explain in more detail why I thought that.