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.
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.
CRME High-Touch Client Advocate
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.
John Smallwood, CEO of Travel Outlook Premium Reservations Call Center, has written this article as part of a longer series on voice reservations, the second most profitable revenue channel for upscale and luxury inns, hotels, and resorts. You can find the remaining articles in the series on the Knowledge Capital. Travel Outlook is a hospitality company that takes voice reservations calls for its clients.