Voice Command is the New On Demand

With hotels yearning to achieve parity with their guests’ homes, voice technology enables a frictionless on command experience that EXCEEDS the home experience.

Guest Post by David Berger, Volara CEO

In its newly released Mobile Travel Trends 2019 report, Travelport Digital calls 2018 “a landmark year for voice technology.” The travel commerce platform is predicting that in 2019, “voice will become less about ‘I want to know’ and more about ‘I want to do.’”

In addition to using in-room voice assistants to answer basic questions or search for general information, findings show that in the coming year consumers will become more “commanding” with their voice requests. Today’s “Alexa, find a coffee shop near me” request will soon be replaced by “Alexa, good morning” resulting in the appearance of the Today Show on the television and near instantaneous delivery of a cup of joe.

Growing Guest Demand

This is a powerful message for hoteliers as it substantiates that travelers’ expectations are evolving in a manner that hotels are uniquely positioned to meet, even exceed. Proactive voice-based guest engagement is happening today in more than 100 hotels across the country, but that scratches the surface of the growing guest demand. In anticipation of these changing demands, according to the Travelport report, 45% of travel brands are investing in voice technology in 2019.

With voice command becoming the new on demand, engagement between guests and hoteliers through the in-room voice assistant will soon take on a whole new dynamic. Conversations will migrate from “Alexa, turn on ESPN” to “Alexa, turn on the Knicks game,” and from “Hey Google, where can I get dinner?” to “Hey Google, make a reservation at the hotel restaurant for six people at 8:00 p.m.”

Impactful, Downright Exciting

Even more powerful, impactful and downright exciting is that through multi-platform conversation management software and powerful integrations with multiple existing hotel systems – whether work-order management systems, IPTV systems, Property-Management Systems, Point-of-Sale Systems or Energy-Management Systems – hotels will be delivering contextually relevant, totally awesome, conversational experiences at scale.

Doing so requires three equally critical components: (1) Conversation management software that will enable real-time, hassle-free management of interactions with guests while protecting their privacy; (2) A secure integrations hub that connects each conversation to the appropriate hotel technologies in a manner that ensures the protection of the hotels’ proprietary data; and (3) An enterprise manageable smart speaker connected to a natural language processor. Volara is providing this suite of components to its hotel clients today.

Consider these voice-enabled engagements between a guest and his hotel:

Mr. Smith arrived at the hotel late in the evening and says: “Alexa, wake me at 7:00 a.m.” Alexa responds personally: “Mr. Smith, I’ve set your room status to do not disturb, closed your drapes, reduced the temperature by 2 degrees, and will deliver coffee to you at 7:00 a.m.”

Through integration with Telkonet EMS, the hotel’s work-order management system, and property-management system, all these actions are seamlessly executed by a single voice command.

Mr. Smith is expecting his children to join him at the hotel the following day and says: “Hey Google, could you welcome my kids?” The Google Assistant replies: “Mr. Smith, I’ve alerted the kids club and they’ll send up a calendar of events and some ice cream for the children.  I’ve also set the television to block adult content. They’ll be excited to meet me, and I love to play games with kids.”

Through integration with the hotel’s work-order management system, IPTV system, and property-management system, all these actions are seamlessly executed by a single voice command.

Mr. Smith now has his kids with him and is looking forward to a quiet night watching movies in his guest room. “Watson, make it a movie night.”  IBM Watson replies: “Mr. Smith, I’ve dimmed your lights and turned your television on. It is displaying a list of movies on demand.  A service attendant will arrive with popcorn and an assortment of candy shortly. Enjoy the show.”

Through integration with the hotel’s IPTV system and work-order management system, along with the property-management system and Telkonet’s lighting controls, all these actions are seamlessly executed by a single voice command.

Voice technology is enabling hotels to provide experiences unfathomable at home and thereby exceeding guest expectations at every turn. Through highly-secure integrations powered by Volara between the voice assistant – whichever major platform is selected by the hotel – and existing technologies like Telkonet EMS, hotels are instantly and seamlessly routing voice commands through the appropriate hotel technologies to deliver service on demand. This delivers in better, faster and more personalized results or, as I like to say, contextually relevant, totally awesome, conversational experiences at scale.