Travelers reject “SMART” hotel rooms

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85% of travelers surveyed oppose the idea of having Amazon Alexa in their hotel room

Executive Travel CEO, Steve Glenn, recently released his travel predictions for 2019. Included in his 72 predictions was that some hotels would add Amazon’s Alexa in hotel rooms in 2019. These “smart” artificial intelligence/voice recognition devices could replace the TV remote, room thermostat, clock, and even the light switches in rooms.

Parallel to the 2019 predictions, a survey of 241 travelers asked how they would like this new technology. The one-question survey asked known travelers, “Do you like the idea of having an ‘Alexa’ in your hotel room?” 85% responded NO! Only 36 of the 241 individuals surveyed liked the idea of an interactive “smart” device- such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple’s Siri- in their hotel room.

Steve Glenn, Chairman & CEO of Executive Travel warned, “The hospitality industry is trying to keep up with many technology changes and allow their guests to have a simplified and positive experience. Some hotels are experimenting by adding devices such as Amazon’s Alexa to their rooms to control the lights, television, thermostat, curtains, and even order room service. On the surface this seems positive, however, our survey is shouting that travelers don’t trust all the new technology and are worried that it will invade their privacy.

“The question for hotels and their guests now becomes, ‘What is the right balance of technology and privacy in your hotel room?’ I love the idea of not having to use a germ-filled TV remote or trying to program the thermostat in my hotel room, however, I share many of our travelers concerns of how “Big Brother” will be listening to my every word,” according to Glenn.

“With recent data breaches of major corporations such as Marriott, Uber, and Cathay Pacific, travelers are becoming weary to allow these major corporations into their hotel rooms and into their personal lives. I predict 2019 will be the year travelers fight back against technology”.

Despite traveler privacy concerns, 80% of consumers in Epsilon’s 2018 Power of Me Personalization study say they are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences, with 68% that reported thinking it’s worth sharing personal information in exchange for relevant offers, recommendations, and discounts.