business news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from an MNB reader:

Wynn Resorts’ move to install Amazon Echo digital assistants in its Las Vegas hotel rooms is yet another shrewd method of getting hotel customers to sample a new product or service while staying in a room…..and motivating a decision by the customer to follow up with a purchase of the product or service after they return home.

Two months ago we stayed at a relatively new Westin Hotel in Edina, MN for several days and the hotel is located very close to a beautiful trail that is convenient for walking and running.   I had forgotten my workout clothes and the hotel had an offer to provide workout clothing delivered to the room for a nominal fee.    When the clothing arrived at my room, I received a shirt, shorts, and new pairs of New Balance socks and shoes.   Included in the bag was a coupon for $25 off a pair of shoes if ordered directly from New Balance’s website.

I had never owned or sampled a pair of New Balance shoes in my life, but I wore these shoes for four miles of walking each of the three days we stayed at the hotel.   I was tremendously impressed with the shoes and used the coupon to purchase a pair for myself after I returned home.   It would never have occurred to me to sample or purchase this product had I not been given the opportunity to wear these shoes while staying at the hotel.    More than that, New Balance was able to convince me to purchase the product directly from them, rather than purchasing the shoes from a local retailer.

I have no doubt that Amazon is counting on the same types of experiences with Echo devices in hotel rooms.

And, from another reader:

It sounds like retailers better hire Alexa or replace her - but you can't ignore her!

Both readers are right.

Yesterday's FaceTime video was about a new technology from Skype that allows for the real-time translation of conversations taking place on cell phones and landlines. Which I wrote...

Sounds a lot like Star Trek's universal translator technology, which allowed humans to speak and understand Vulcans, Klingons, Romulans, Andorians, Tholians and Bajorans ... pretty much everybody but those pesky Tamarians, who always wanted to speak in allegories, making actual language less the issue. (But that's a story best left for another time...)

Prompting a nicely original email from an MNB reader:

Kadir beneath Mo Moteh is the beast at Tanagra.

Truer words never have been spoken.
KC's View: