As national and international travel restrictions are lifted across the globe, travel is on the up and up. A new study from booking technology platform Arrivia reports that 69% of consumers are keen to travel this year, and technology continues to play a vital role in keeping hotel guests and employees happy and safe. Staffing shortages also continue to present a challenge to hoteliers, and contactless solutions — such as digital in-room voice assistants — can provide convenience to guests, help monetize hotel services and support stretched front desk staff.
Hoteliers recognize the opportunities of voice-enabled devices. Nearly 92 percent said their guests expect contactless options, and 75 percent believe that contactless will be a long-term trend, according to the 2022 Hotelier Technology Sentiment Report.
But not all voice solutions are created equal. Here are four tips to review when considering an in-room voice assistant:
- Privacy, Privacy, Privacy. A third of guests say that an in-room voice-controlled device that lets them communicate with the front desk is important when selecting a hotel. Yet, 56% said they are concerned about potential privacy/security risks associated with these devices. To meet demand and satisfy guests, check that personally identifiable information is not captured or shared with a third party. Before choosing a supplier, determine: 1) if security was built into the product; 2) if the solution is purpose-built for hospitality; 3) who owns the data (the technology company or the property/brand – the latter is preferred); 4) if devices are reset on guest checkout (they should be).
- Content Control. The ability to customize content is important, and the digital voice assistant you choose should allow the hotel or brand to tailor the answer to any question. For example, if someone asks, “Where is the best steakhouse?” on-site hotel services can be promoted first rather than a nearby restaurant. Avoid solutions that solely use consumer search engines to answer guest queries.
- Seamless Integrations. In-room digital assistants are attractive because the guest is in control. Guests can close the curtains, turn down the lights, set the thermostat to a desired temperature and turn the TV to a specific channel without getting out of bed or touching the remote control. This is a game changer for today’s travelers, especially those with mobility or vision challenges, but it takes integration. Connecting voice devices to hotel system for automated guest check out, f&b ordering, spa bookings or scheduling tee times and to workflow systems to fill housekeeping and engineering requests, has a positive impact on the bottom line and employee retention. Before selecting any voice solution, ask about the company’s list of integration partners. If the voice system cannot enable other in-room amenities, it’s probably not a sound investment.
- Equipment Consolidation. Today’s digital voice assistants are designed to replace in-room equipment including the costly guest room phone, alarm clock, music speakers, standalone mobile device charging units, hotel directories (print or digital) and even nightlights. Factor in these devices’ multilingual capabilities, 24/4 availability, TV remote control, channel guide functionality and Bluetooth music streaming, and this new investment could pay for itself through equipment consolidation. Guests will also appreciate the reduced clutter and staff will appreciate having less to clean and maintain, leading to a reduced total cost of ownership.
Choosing the right voice solution to complement a hotel’s technology stack requires due diligence to determine if a solution is hospitality-specific and if it delivers the best service with the highest privacy protections, and with the quickest returns.
Angie In-Room Assistants were built for hospitality from day one. Beyond augmenting the guest experience, Angie ensures data anonymization, communicates with peripheral hardware/software systems, consolidates in-room equipment, facilitates seamless integrations and enables brand messaging consistency. Angie can support stretched staff and drive additional revenue. In addition to working around the clock to fulfill guests’ verbal requests for more towels or answer questions about the local area, Angie digital concierge devices can control and improve the overall guest experience.
Ready to learn more about Angie Guest Room Devices? Get in contact with a member of our team or stop by our booth #1617 at HITEC 2022 in Orlando June 27-30, 2022.
Based on my article that originally appeared on Hospitality Net.
Tammy Estes is chief product officer at Nomadix.