Why AI-powered voice assistants in hotels are so important

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If you’ve never given a thought to AI-powered voice assistants for your hotel, then now might be a good time to.

Hoteliers want guests to feel welcome at their property. However, it’s hard to make yourself at home when you can’t locate the switch to turn the light off. Or at times when you don’t know how to adjust the thermostat or get local information…

AI-powered voice assistants in hotels have the potential to change that. In effect, all hotel room switches would simply be replaced with the customer’s voice. And we are not speaking about a distant future. In fact, Quicktext is actively working on adapting its AI to voice so that it can power hotel rooms by early 2020.

“In-room AI-powered voice assistants in hotels are the ultimate way to remove friction and make customers feel at home,” explains Daniel Doppler, CEO at Quicktext. The most successful inventions and strategies are the ones that have made life easier for humans. Voice-enabled technology is the next big thing in line to offer us a better, faster, more convenient way to do things. The voice revolution is here to stay – and it will most likely start with search.

Why use text, when you can simply speak?

According to Google, voice searches will account for 50% of all online queries by 2020. This is up 20% from 2016. Also, 2018 saw over a billion voice searches per month. In a recent Speech, Maud Bailly Chief Digital Officer @AccorHotels explained that by 2020 75% of US homes would be equipped with a voice assistant. She expects this trend to happen in Europe too by 2025. That’s why Accor is investing so much to pioneer AI search and recently launched it in their mobile app.

accor example AI powered voice assistants in hotels quicktext

Screenshots of new voice feature implemented in the Accor App.

These and other such statistics support the claim that voice-response technology is one of the next disruptive forces in the digital landscape after mobile apps. Voice search proved that there is a market for voice. This trend will only continue to grow more popular. It will also be relevant to the development of specialized AI-powered voice assistants on the market. They will be accompanied by increasingly intelligent language processing and machine learning algorithms.

All building blocks necessary to make AI-powered voice assistants for hotel rooms are already available. Some hotel chains such as Marriott have already implemented Alexa in some of their properties. At Quicktext, we think that the key to the massive adoption of in-room voice-enabled assistants is to deliver a plug and play solution for hotels,” explains Daniel.

Have a look at what Marriott has been experimenting with Alexa here.

What are voice assistants?

Our relationship with the Internet has evolved over the years. Do you remember the time you had to dial-up to get connected? You needed some time, patience and even basic technical understanding to get online. Now, the Internet is easily accessible. Voice technology targets two realizations through this Internet journey:

1- People are looking for a convenient online experience. Voice has no learning curve, and voice communication is easier than text.

2- Expand the scope of what the Internet can help us with. The Internet of Things is becoming more and more relevant in our daily life. With IoT, you only need to issue a voice command to get things done. For example, you can’t find the main light switch. You don’t have to get out of bed and turn off the light using the room entrance switch. You’ll just say ‘Hello Zoe, turn off the light’ and go to sleep.

Humans love to talk. Businesses such as NH hotels are investing in AI-powered voice assistants for their call center. This will enable them to listen and respond efficiently to all their incoming calls. Conversational interfaces are also growing, because customers are increasingly communicating with businesses through chatbots and AI-powered voice assistants. Find out how you can conquer the conversational space.

With AI becoming increasingly sophisticated, voice commands are steadily stealing the spotlight. The ability to listen, recognize need, and gather relevant information automatically is a huge productivity gain for hotels. Since the launch of Amazon Echo, a voice-responsive home speaker in 2015, followed by a similar Google Home in 2016, new products have evolved for home use. Voice-first devices have since emerged, specifically designed to obey voice commands. The appearance of such assistants for call centers in hotel rooms is just the next logical step.

Why hoteliers should care about AI-powered voice assistants

“We think that all search through desktop is dead.” – Fabrice Otaño, Chief Data Officer, AccorHotels Group. Travelers demand a seamless, intuitive travel experience. Right from planning the trip, to searching for a hotel and booking, right up to check out. Performing an extensive search through a hotel website or typing out queries is no longer in sync with current customer behavior. Customers want immediate answers with minimum effort, which is why voice technology offers a great alternative. Speaking to AI-powered voice assistants is not about replacing humans, and the next step to a dystopian post-human society. It is merely a new way to access information.

AI-powered voice assistants in hotels won’t replace human beings. They are just necessary help to manage an ever-increasing flow of communication. It is time hoteliers realized that they cannot ignore voice search. If they do, then OTAs and metasearch players will do it on their behalf. Here are some reasons why hotels should take voice assistants seriously:

1.Increase direct bookings

As mentioned earlier, the average online travel consumer will not spend time searching your website. He will not patiently wade through pages of content to find what he is looking for, in order to book with you. He will probably find an OTA who will do it for him. Your best chance is to have an AI-powered voice assistant who will answer all his queries instantly. It will also reassure and encourage him to book directly on your hotel website. Even if the booking doesn’t happen, your hotel chatbot has already captured his contact details and his travel preferences. Then, your sales team can use that information to contact him with an irresistible, tailored approach.

2.Provide information before stay and on premises

The second important use case is information delivery. Your hotel chatbot or AI-powered voice assistant can inform guests about anything they wish to know. Like spa timings, restaurants in the hotel, check-out time, events, special offers, and other hotel services.

3.Improve guest experience

Hotels can use chatbots and AI-powered voice assistants to get to know their customers better. Questions that guests ask offer a great insight into their wishes, and also the problems they face. Hotels can thus provide them with what they need and help solve those problems. They can also delight their guests by customizing accommodation according to customers’ tastes and preferences.

4.Building a relationship

Perhaps, the most interesting thing about AI-powered voice assistants is that customers engage with them as if they were human. Users say ‘thank you’, ‘please’ and even ‘sorry’ to the voice they hear. As Google notes, ‘people perceive the devices as more than just an electronic toy, they’re more akin to another person or friend.’ Having someone reassure you, answer your questions and provide information you are looking for, almost instantly, is a big deal. Even if that someone is AI. For hotels, it goes a long way in providing a superlative guest experience and building a strong customer relationship. Learn how AI for hotels is all about instant customer satisfaction.

If you’d like to discuss AI-powered voice assistants for your hotel or have questions about artificial intelligence for the hotel industry, feel welcome to contact us at hello@quicktext.im or visit our website.

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