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Amazon.com(NASDAQ: AMZN)is hoping that whatever happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas. The leading online retailer is teaming up with Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN) to outfit all 4,748 of its Wynn Las Vegas hotel rooms with Echo, the voice-activated digital assistant that Amazon introduced two years ago.
By the time that all of the resort's guest rooms are fully operational next summer, guests will be able to use a series of voice commands via Amazon's Alexa platform to draw curtains, adjust room temperature, tweak lighting, and turn on the TV.
This is just the beginning, of course. It's really just a matter of time before the Echo devices double as concierge proxies, securing dining and show reservations or fetching valet-parked vehicles. If you can seamlessly order fresh towels or the following morning's room service breakfast, it's easy to see how Wynn Resorts stands to benefit through this relationship. Guests will be drawn to the high-tech resort on the competitive Vegas strip, and once they check in there will be plenty of incentives to spend more than they typically do during their stay.
"She becomes our butler, at the service of each of our guests," Steve Wynn explains in a promotional video.
He's right, but as beneficial as this will be for his property, the big winner here will be Amazon itself.
The Keurig effect, revisited
Green Mountain's Keurig machines are everywhere these days, but that wasn't the case several years ago. The single-cup coffee brewers were found mostly in corporate break rooms and hotel lobby areas. However, as folks began to see the machines more and more -- and grow to trust the taste of K-Cup-fueled java blasts -- the push into the mass consumer market was a done deal.
The Wynn Las Vegas deal will be the ultimate Echo ambassador. It's a fair bet that once folks start checking into the resort next summer that many guests will have never interacted with an Alexa-powered gadget. It will be a novelty, but one that provides a legitimate function. Asking Alexa for a weather report in the morning -- even if should be fairly obvious in Vegas -- or sports scores or hangover remedies will make Echo devices popular. By the time the trip is over, how many guests will recall their conversations with Alexa fondly and buy an Amazon Echo, Tap, or Dot to have at home?
Guest turnover at Vegas hotels is pretty brisk, as you can imagine, so a lot of people will be exposed to the wonders of voice-activated digital assistants. Wynn Las Vegas also attracts a fair amount of international travelers, extending Echo awareness outside of Amazon's home market.
Amazon's aggressively promoting its hardware this holiday season. Echo, which was originally made available at $199, is currently on sale for $139. The cheaper Tap and Dot devices are also being promoted at holiday-themed markdowns. Amazon wants to get as many of these devices out there, just as it's expanding the functionality of the Alexa platform beyond today's feature set that includes adjusting thermostats, playing Jeopardy!, and hailing Uber rides. Getting noticed is everything for Amazon's consumer electronics these days, and the deal with Wynn Resorts achieves exactly that.
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