Successful leaders in the hospitality management understand the importance of embracing new technology, especially when it has the capacity to improve the customer experience. One example of a technology trend that has seen increased adoption rates in recent times is voice control technology, and it can be of great benefit to hotel owners. In this post, you will learn more about how voice control works, as well as some of its key benefits.

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Voice Control: In a Nutshell

Voice control is a type of voice recognition technology, which enables devices like smart phones, smart TVs and home hubs to understand spoken words and be controlled through simple voice commands and responses. This eliminates the need for users to perform more traditional control tasks, such as pressing buttons.

The extent of voice control capabilities can vary from one device to another. Some devices can simply be turned on or off through a ‘wake up’ and ‘sleep’ command, while others can perform intelligent tasks, provide real-time information, or even control other devices in the nearby vicinity.

How Does Voice Control Technology Work?

In terms of how it actually works, voice control relies on artificial intelligence, and this allows voice controlled devices to recognise speech patterns, understand specific patterns as commands, and respond to those commands appropriately. Voice controlled devices are usually also connected to the internet.

More recently, the rise of the Internet of Things, or IoT for short, has led to the emergence of ‘smart’ devices, which are able to send and receive data. One of the results of this technology is the ability for certain voice controlled devices, such as phones or smart hubs, to influence or control nearby technology.

As an example, a smart hub may be able to connect to a smart TV, lighting, and heating or ventilation systems, allowing all of those things to be controlled through voice commands given to the hub.

Benefits of Voice Control in the Hospitality Industry

1. Personalisation

The primary use of voice control technology within the hospitality industry involves improving the level of personalisation offered to customers. Voice controlled smart hubs can be included in hotel rooms, allowing customers to easily adjust the room temperature and lighting levels, or utilise entertainment devices, all through speech.

Such technology can also be provided with the names of guests, making the entire experience more individual.

2. Customer Experience

Voice control can also help those in the hospitality industry to deliver a superior customer experience, by shortening response times, streamlining booking processes and allowing customers to make requests for room service, or fresh towels, without needing to leave their room or lift a finger.

Smart hubs can be connected up to company booking processes, enabling a customer to easily reserve a table at the restaurant through a few simple voice commands, or obtain an electronic key card to access the gym. Meanwhile, tourist information or weather forecasts can be provided immediately, at any time of the day or night. Best of all, this information will be up-to-date, making it more accurate than a human interaction would be.

3. Marketability

Finally, voice control technology is still enough of a novelty that those in the hospitality industry can use it for marketing purposes, differentiating themselves from competitors and promoting themselves as a forward-thinking, technology-literate brand, which can offer customers a cutting edge experience.

Videos of the voice control technology can be used across hotel booking websites, while the benefits of the technology for the customer can be referenced in other promotional material, helping the hotel to stand out.

Examples of Voice Control Devices

There are a huge number of devices or objects that have voice control components, with examples ranging from smartphones and smart TVs, through to vehicles and machines. However, within the hospitality industry, the use of voice control primarily centres around smartphones, tablets, smart hubs and other similar devices.

Various companies have developed personal assistant technology, which is powered by voice control, with examples including Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa and Cortana. Among the best-known and most popular voice controlled smart hubs are Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod, and these hubs are all able to interact with other devices.

How Voice Control Works in the Hospitality Industry

One of the best examples so far of voice control in action within the hospitality industry is the Alexa for Hospitality service, offered by Amazon. It is based on Amazon Echo technology, but can be tailored for each hotel. As a result, guests can speak to the device and control various aspects of their room, such as lights, heating and music.

The technology has already been adopted by several hotel chains, including Marriott, and Amazon are expanding the technology in the near future, allowing guests to connect their own Amazon accounts to the hub, meaning they will be able to easily access their personal music collections, or their audiobooks, and play them through the device.

Video: Voice control by Alexa for Hospitality


Privacy Concerns and Possible Solutions

Although it is becoming more widespread within the hospitality sector, voice control does pose some issues in relation to privacy. Most devices that use voice control work by constantly listening out for a ‘wake word’, and many of these devices also record or stream voice commands, which can be a scary concept for some users.

With that being said, there are ways to reassure guests. In the case of the Alexa for Hospitality offering, voice commands are automatically deleted every day, and hotel owners can also perform a remote clearance between guests as an additional precaution. Moreover, the microphone can be easily turned off, so it no longer listens.

Nevertheless, one of the best ways for a hotel to guarantee the privacy of its guests is by offering them to option to opt out of voice control elements entirely. This also has the added benefit of helping to build trust.

Voice control technology can be of great benefit to those in the hospitality industry, helping to boost personalisation and improve the customer experience in general. However, while the technology itself enjoys popularity with most guests, privacy concerns need to be considered in order for implementation to be completely successful.

More Technology Trends

With digital technology continuously evolving, it should come as little surprise that its applications within the travel and hospitality industry evolve too. In the following articles we piled up the most innovating digital trends in the hospitality industry.

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