Why You Should Humanize Your Voice Strategy

Voice-based AI assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa have never been more popular.  According to a recent study by Hotel Internet Services, approximately 41% of U.S. consumers owned a voice-activated speaker in 2018. That’s an increase of 21.5% compared to the previous year.

The popularity of AI-powered assistants should come as no surprise. After all, this new technology is giving life to our oldest form of communication — it’s designed to let us converse in the most natural way we know.

Why hotels need to embrace voice

In the same study by Hotel Internet Services, 60% of guests indicated that they would use a voice-activated assistant if made available. Yet just 7% of hotels said they provide either Alexa or Google Home in their guestrooms.

As we speed towards mass adoption of this technology, it won’t be long until hotel guests expect to have their own in-room Alexa or Google Home. For hotels, the future clearly involves embracing these tech tools. But it’s important to remember that before a guest even arrives, there’s another way to harness the power of voice.

When a person makes a booking over the phone, hotels can leverage the abilities of a reservation team to add a vital human component to their overall voice strategy.

The power of personal conversation

In our latest article,  Warm Welcomes and Fond Farewells, a great first and last impression will have a profound impact on a customer’s overall impression of your hotel. And a well-trained reservation team can offer an unrivaled way to personalize the hotel experience. They know how to ask the right questions to really understand how to make each guests’ stay truly memorable. For now, at least, no other form of technology can compete with the human capacity for intuition and insight.

An AI-powered assistant can greet a guest by name and remember their preferences to enhance their stay. But there’s no replacement for genuine hospitality — offered through a personal conversation.

Pro-Tip | Patrick Harrington, CRME High-Touch Client Advocate

Consider a newlywed couple that wants to book a honeymoon suite. A reservation agent can offer them a heartfelt welcome and provide thoughtful recommendations, such as a couples’ spa treatment or a candlelit meal with a romantic view in your hotel’s restaurant. Gestures like these can make a dramatic difference, transforming a hotel stay into a truly memorable experience.

Combining the human touch with technology

Over the coming years, our tap-and-swipe interactions with smartphones will be replaced by conversations with AI-powered technology. In this frictionless world, communicating with voice will become more commonplace.

As this happens, having a robust voice strategy will become even more vital in hospitality. With a skilled reservation team, hotels can offer a genuinely warm pre-arrival welcome and identify personal preferences ahead of time.

The likes of Alexa and Google Home can then continue this personalized experience in the guestroom, providing tailored recommendations and enabling voice-activated control over things such as the lighting, temperature, and TV.

If you’re still wondering if voice-based AI assistants are right for your hotel, and your guests, consider this. In a recent article, With Alexa for Hospitality, Marriott adds Amazon to the guest experience, “70 percent of guests said that when booking hotels in the future, they would choose Alexa-enabled rooms if they were available.

The future is here. Hoteliers must embrace this relationship so that technology and hotel staff can work seamlessly together as part of an overall voice strategy, which ultimately delivers more convenience and control to the guest.

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John Smallwood, President

About John Smallwood, President of Travel Outlook

A veteran in the hospitality industry, John has owned, developed, and managed hotels for many years. After earning a BBA from New Mexico State University, he started his career with AT&T, gaining invaluable insight and experience in the early years of the data revolution. His experience in technology and hospitality merged in his development of Travel Outlook, the world-class hospitality contact center. More recently, he has branched out with the creation of ExpressRez, the premier contact center for the Bed and Breakfast industry, and with the creation of Annette, the first AI-powered voice bot for the hotel industry.

About Travel Outlook

Given its progressive approach to the voice channel – in terms of performance, training, transparency, testing and the tools used to measure performance – Travel Outlook Premium Hotel Call Center has become the premier voice reservations team in hospitality. Travel Outlook’s valued client list includes Viceroy Hotel Group, Outrigger, KSL Resorts, Proper Hospitality Group, Pacific Hospitality Group, Highgate Hotels, The Irvine Company, Catalina Island and many others. Travel Outlook’s team and approach increases sales conversion and helps to create more effective voice communication between hotels and their guests, resulting in improved social scores in addition to increased voice channel revenue. For more information, visit

About Annette™, The Virtual Hotel Agent™:

Annette is an AI powered virtual call center agent that represents the next generation of voice bots designed specifically for the Hospitality industry. Annette has been programmed using a breakthrough approach to voice bots, a system built from human conversations. Using social media, chat forums, and movie dialogue, Annette learns from billions of casual human conversations to understand human inflections and multi-turn queries. This revolutionary approach means Annette understands callers no matter what they say, when they say it, or how they speak. Annette can answer FAQs specific to your property, understand multiple languages, route calls, send follow up texts, and more.


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