This year has seen the beginning steps taken by hoteliers and travel agents to implement technologies which will have a profound impact on the hospitality industry. Voice command, or recognition technology is rapidly becoming pervasive in homes everywhere and is a perfectly natural choice for hotels as well. In the industry’s quest to personalize the hotel guest experience, voice command technology will be a major factor going forward. In addition, the technology is simultaneously transforming how travelers book their hotel stays at the beginning of their experience, before arriving on-property.
As with many other guest-facing technologies, the adoption of voice command by hotels is being largely driven by the expectations of travelers who are becoming increasingly comfortable with it in their own homes. Home devices, such as Amazon Echo and smartphone applications including Apple’s digital assistant Siri, will become as ubiquitous as mobile phones going forward. A number of hotels and chains have been early adopters of these technologies, giving them an edge in personalizing the experience of their guests.
In the guest room itself is where hoteliers are looking to best utilize voice command technology and it is being implemented in a variety of innovative ways. Foremost is the virtual concierge, a popular hotel application for the digital assistant. By strategically placing one of the devices in each room, hotels can offer guests an alternative to calling down to the front desk. With specific commands of their voice they can access any hotel services, such as ordering room service or making dinner reservations for example. The hotel can even customize a voice greeting upon the arrival of each guest as well.
Another use for this in-room technology is to allow guests to adjust and set the controls for temperature, lighting and entertainment with voice commands. This is nothing more than an extension of already existing technology which allows guests to make these same customizations via their mobile devices. There are a few things to take into consideration in regards to the implementation of voice command technology in any hotel. Voice command technology is cloud-based technology and requires a cloud PMS interface or property level system in order to perform. The technology also requires specific commands to each specific function and appropriate command instructions must be provided guests. Additionally, placement within the guest room is crucial to proper functioning and should be in a central location in order to hear commands from different directions.
In part two, we will look at several more hotel applications for voice command technology.