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How Smart Speakers Are Poised to Reinvent the Travel Industry

Smart Speakers

Marriott recently teamed up with Amazon to offer a hospitality version of the e-commerce giant’s Echo smart speakers in select hotel rooms. Now, when guests want to order room service or housekeeping, they can simply ask Alexa, the voice of their disembodied personal concierge. Travelers with an Alexa device at home can book a car rental or hotel through Expedia and Kayak. Similarly, Google Assistant, which can be used via Google Home devices, smartphones, or smartwatches, can track flight prices and status, suggest nearby restaurants, convert currency, give directions, and provide same-day updates on traffic to airports. People can even book flights through voice-enabled Google Search.

An NPR-Edison Research study found that 18% of adults in the United States, or 43 million people, now own a smart speaker. Worldwide, ownership exceeds 100 million units and is projected to reach 225 million by 2020.

On many fronts, artificial intelligence-powered smart speakers and apps seem poised to become the world’s virtual travel agents. Virtual personal assistants like Alexa are moving rapidly from nifty gadgets for techies to household appliances and mobile devices ingrained in everyday life. The adoption of smart speakers is even outpacing that of smartphones a decade ago: An NPR-Edison Research study found that 18% of adults in the United States, or 43 million people, now own a smart speaker. Worldwide, ownership exceeds 100 million units and is projected to reach 225 million by 2020. (continued)

Source: Scot Hornick and Shri Santhanam | Harvard Business Review


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