Amazon is bringing its Echo devices to hotel rooms across the country, starting with Marriott

  • Amazon on Tuesday announced Alexa for Hospitality, a new program that lets hotel chains place Amazon Echo devices in guest rooms. 
  • The devices will be tailored to the hotel, so they'll allow guests to call the front desk, request supplies like a toothbrush, ask for hotel information, control the lights, or check out of their room. 
  • Amazon is working with Marriott International at launch, with Marriott hotels in North Carolina and California becoming the first to test out the program.

A familiar voice may be there to greet you next time you stay in a hotel — Alexa. 

Amazon on Tuesday announced a new program called Alexa for Hospitality, which will allow hotels to start placing Amazon Echo devices in guest rooms.

7 shock-worthy facts about Amazon
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7 shock-worthy facts about Amazon
7.5 percent of Seattle's working-age population are Amazon employees

Amazon has more than 300,000 employees worldwide, and 40,000 in Seattle alone.

As a portion of the city's working-age population — roughly 528,000 — that comes out to 7.5% of the city working at Amazon.

For perspective, if the same portion of New York City's adults worked for one company, that company would have about 488,000 locals on staff.

Amazon accounts for 43% of all online sales

Amazon used to be a way to buy books online; today, it's the default buying site for just about everything, especially for people who have Amazon Prime.

An analysis by Slice Intelligence released in February found that 43% of all US online retail sales were done through Amazon in 2016.

That's up from 33% in 2015 and 25% in 2012.

1 out of every 4 US adults has Amazon Prime.

Speaking of Amazon Prime, the company now counts approximately 63 million people among its subscriber base, or about 25% of the total US adult population.

That number may underestimate the true coverage, however, since it doesn't account for multiple adults in one household all sharing the same Prime account.

Amazon ships 1.6 million packages a day

Amazon fulfillment is a beast of its own.

A report from 2013 (the latest year for which data are available) found Amazon shipped 608 million packages that year, or 1.6 million packages a day.

As of 2015, Amazon estimated its fulfillment centers were within 20 miles of 31% of the US population, and within 20 miles of 50-65% of its core, same-day-accessible market.

That's enough cardboard to span all of West Virginia

A back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals all those packages (not including padded envelopes) yield roughly 26,400 square miles of cardboard.

The total land area of West Virginia, meanwhile, is just north of 24,000 square miles.

Given the speed of Amazon's shipments, the company could blanket the whole US in cardboard in about five months.

45,000 robots roam the floors of Amazon's warehouses

To help those shipments leave the warehouses on time, Amazon relies on a growing fleet of autonomous robots that fetch packages from their shelves and bring them to human employees.

The 45,000 robots live across 20 fulfillment centers in the US. In 2016, the company increased the fleet 50% from its prior head count of 30,000.

Amazon is more valuable than all major brick-and-mortar retailers combined

The sum total of those investments in infrastructure and supply chain management have made Amazon by far the most valuable retailer in the United States.

Amazon's $356 billion valuation is so big, it's larger than Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Macy's, Kohl's, JCPenney, and Sears combined.

With the recent acquisition of Whole Foods, there are no signs the retailer has any plans of slowing down.


To start, Alexa for Hospitality will be available to hotel groups by invitation. Marriott International will be the first partner, and Echo devices will be placed in rooms at Marriott Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, Aloft Hotels, and Autograph Collection Hotels starting this summer.

Marriott City Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Marriott Irvine in Irvine, California, will be the first hotels to have Echo devices in rooms. 

While the in-room Echo devices will work a lot like the Echo in your home, they will also have some hotel-specific skills.

Here are some of the things you'll be able to do with an in-room Echo:

  • Ask questions about pool hours or the location of the fitness center
  • Request room service or housekeeping
  • Call the front desk
  • Turn on the lights, adjust the thermostat and blinds, or turn on the TV
  • Check out of the room
  • Book a spa appointment
  • Order supplies like a toothbrush or razor
  • Play music, either from your own Prime Music, Spotify, or Pandora playlists, or specially curated playlists from the hotel
  • Play white noise
  • Play TED talks
  • Play audiobooks 
  • Ask for a guided workout
  • Check airport wait times
  • Play games
  • Make phone calls

The Echo devices will be tailored to the specific hotel you're in, and will only work on that hotel's WiFi network — that way, if someone tries to steal the device, it won't work anywhere outside the hotel itself. Hotels will be able to manage every Echo on a customizable dashboard. 

Amazon says it also has controls in place to protect guests' privacy. The data collected from the devices is anonymized and won't be shared with the hotels. Guests will be able to log in to their Amazon account using the device, but they won't be able to make purchases. And when a guest changes rooms or checks out, the guest's account will be deleted from the device. 

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