Could hotel workers be replaced by Amazon Alexa?

by | Oct 2, 2018 | General News, News

As some hotels start to embrace the technology, their staff members worry that it could mean their days are numbered

As technology has continued to accelerate in recent decades, workers throughout many industries have faced an increasingly real threat of having their positions become obsolete, be it due to changing economic forces or new innovations that allow employers to replace them with automated processes.

One recent innovation has been that of voice-activated hardware and software, specifically thinking of platforms such as Amazon’s Alexa. Tech experts have said that this platform has spread rapidly, so much so that they expect it to become an even larger part of the way we interface with all things digital in the coming years. Even now in the early phase of this latest tech progression, some in the hospitality sector have embraced tech like Amazon’s Alexa (or other products similar to it) in order to serve their guests.

As a result of this, some hotel staff members have begun to worry that Amazon Alexa and other voice-activated platforms could soon replace them, greeting and attending to guests at the front desk the way humans generally do now.

New Technologies Make Hotel Staff Concern

As hotels throughout the world start to experiment with robotic and voice-activated platforms to attend to guests, some hotel staffers are starting to fear that their employment futures have become imperiled.

Some Marriott properties in China, for example, have rolled out new initiatives in which guests can check into their rooms without so much as bothering with speaking to someone at a physical front desk. Possibly as a result of this, Marriott has seen workers at some of its properties voting to authorize their union to strike at dozens of properties located in places in the United States that range from Waikiki to Boston to even Detroit.

What Do Workers Want?

The demands of these possibly striking workers contain the usual demands that labor unions ask for, including higher wages and better workplace safety. Along with those traditional asks, however, there is a new topic that has come under discussion: assurance that workers affected by new tech innovations will be protected.

This is, quite possibly, an example of a collective lesson being learned. In recent decades, many workers have become well aware of the threats that tech and innovation can pose to their employment statuses. Manufacturing workers, for example, have faced job less related to this as far back as the 1950s. For many years, hotel work seemed immune to this, with front desk workers not earning enough money to really be a priority for being replaced, and with technology not being yet able to handle complex tasks like interacting with guests at the front desk of various properties.

Advances in machine learning and other IT innovations in recent years, however, have started to pose a threat to front desk workers, potentially putting their jobs at risk. As a result, there is a burgeoning fear among hospitality staff, one that is likely to become a bit of an issue for all involved in the years ahead.

Let’s take a look at a few projects currently underway Marriott:

Dammam Marriott Hotel and Apartments

Wenchang Marriott Hotel

Krasnodar Marriott Hotel

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