PHOTO: An Amazon Echo Dot. (photo via Flickr/Guillermo Fernandes)
The hotel industry is currently serving as the battleground for voice-controlled technology.
An especially key matchup is taking place inside the Aloft Boston Seaport hotel in New England, where Marriott International is testing both Amazon Echo and Apple Siri devices.
Whether dimming the lights, adjusting the thermostat or relaying the latest news and weather forecast, the hands-free devices can certainly serve a purpose in a hotel room or suite and have recently begun popping up in many.
The JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa is testing the Amazon Echo Dot in 10 of its rooms and has plans to expand the technology to more down the road. However, the Texas resort views the device as more of an in-room concierge, one capable of providing key information about the hotel, making reservations and tracking down room service.
Last year, the Wynn Las Vegas began equipping its 4,700-plus rooms with the Amazon Echo and plans to have the device in every one of its rooms by this summer.
But now it appears Alexa has some stiff competition in the form of Siri.
The stakes of the ongoing experiment at the Aloft Boston Seaport could be huge given that the brand currently boasts 130 hotels across the U.S. and more than 100 others in the pipeline. On top of that, a successful run under the Aloft chain could spell expansion into additional Marriott brands. After last year's acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Marriott boasts a whopping 30 brands and well over more than one million rooms around the world.
"Those two players are in the game right now," global brand leader of lifestyle brands at Marriott Toni Stoeckl told Bloomberg, referring to the Amazon and Apple devices.
"Probably by the end of the first half of this year, we’ll have a pretty good indication of where we’re headed," added Stoeckl. "The race is still on."
READ MORE: JW Marriott San Antonio Rolls Out Amazon Echo Dot
For Amazon, Apple and other competitors in the market, winning over hotels and their guests is one step in winning over consumers who will be inclined to purchase one of the devices after falling in love with it during their hotel stay.
Meanwhile, for hotels and resorts, the devices could be yet another way to utilize technology as a means to enhance the guest experience, allowing customers to interact with their space the same way they do at home (or might in the future). For example, guests may be able to request their favorite playlist or turn on their favorite TV series with their voice just like they would in their living room.
Travelers have a seemingly endless amount of choices when booking a room, so hotels stand to benefit from making unique and accessible technology available sooner than later.