Voice control is one of the most exciting technology trends to have emerged in recent years, and thanks to home hubs and smartphones, it has become a part of many consumers’ everyday lives. For tourism companies, it is important to respond to this, embrace new approaches and capitalise on the technology’s potential. Here, you will learn more about voice control and the ways it can be of help in the travel industry.

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What is Voice Control?

Put simply, voice control is a technology that allows devices – including smartphones, smart home hubs, smart TVs and personal computers – to understand human speech and respond to simple voice commands in the appropriate way. In doing so, the devices can be controlled by a user’s voice, rather than through traditional control methods.

This may mean, for example, that the device can be turned on or off by a voice command. However, some smart hub devices also have the capability of controlling or interacting with other devices. As a result of this, multiple different devices can be controlled by voice commands given to the smart hub.

How Does Voice Control Work?

Voice control works through a combination of artificial intelligence, internet connectivity and, in some cases, the Internet of Things (IoT). The artificial intelligence allows devices to recognise speech patterns, while internet connectivity allows the devices to relay relevant information, in order to answer questions.

The Internet of Things, meanwhile, refers to the inclusion of internet capabilities in everyday devices. This allows them to send and receive data, and potentially allows a voice controlled hub to serve as the control point for multiple different devices at once. As a result, voice commands might control TVs, radios, lights, heating, etc.

How Voice Control Can Benefit the Travel Industry

1. Hyper-Personalisation

To date, the main use of voice control technology within the travel industry has centred on the idea of hyper-personalisation. Through the implementation of voice controlled smart hubs in hotel rooms, guests can more easily adjust the various room features, including heating, air conditioning, lighting and other features.

Deployed in this way, voice commands can also be used to control entertainment devices, such as televisions, allowing customers to easily get their room exactly as they want it, from anywhere in the room.

2. Information Provision

In the past, guests have often had to rely on information desks to provide them with information, such as the number for a taxi, or directions to a nearby attraction. While the internet and the widespread availability of smartphones helped to change that, voice control technology has taken it a step further still.

Now, travel and tourism information can be obtained simply by asking a device a question, without the guest leaving their room. The information can be obtained in real-time, ensuring it is up-to-date, and can be based on location, ensuring directions, travel times and other information are even more accurate than human knowledge.

3. Customer Service

Finally, the travel industry can also make use of voice control technology for more general customer service purposes. This might allow a guest to schedule a wake up call, make a room service order, or request more towels, just by speaking to their smart hub, with no queues or delays, and no need to go down to the front desk.

Voice controlled smart hubs can also be synced up with restaurant booking processes, electronic gym key card systems, and other hotel services, making them easier and faster to access.

Which Devices Are Used for Voice Control?

While there are a wide range of devices that now make at least some use of voice control, the technology is most commonly associated with ‘home hub’ products, with the most popular examples including Amazon Echo, which includes the Alexa assistant, Google Home, equipped with Google Assistant, and Apple HomePod, complete with Siri.

Additionally, voice control has become widely used by smartphones, with Google Assistant, Siri and Microsoft Cortana serving as some of the best-known AI assistants in this particular setting.

Examples of Voice Control Within the Travel Industry

1. Alexa for Hospitality

Alexa for Hospitality is an Amazon service, which is specifically targeted towards those in the travel and tourism industry. It is based on the Amazon Echo home hub, but can be tailored to specific hotel services, allowing guests to speak to the device in their room and control lights and heating, or play music playlists.

Video: Alexa for hospitality


2. KLM’s Smart Pack Assistant on Google Home

The KML smart pack assistant works through the Google Home hub. Users can speak to the assistant, tell it where they are travelling to, and the smart pack assistant will provide them with a list of things to pack, tailoring the suggestions based on weather forecasts, the length of the trip, and the planned list of activities.

KLM’s smart pack assistant on Google Home


3. Expedia Skill for Amazon Alexa

Expedia skill for Amazon Alexa allows users to easily manage their upcoming trips through voice interaction technology. It will keep track of everything from flight information, through to hotel reservations, and enables users to reserve a car from a nearby car rental store, all through voice interactions.

Expedia skill for Amazon Alexa


Privacy & Security Concerns

One of the challenges for those in the travel industry looking to adopt voice control technology involves maintaining the privacy of customers. After all, most voice controlled devices are designed to constantly listen out for the wake up command, while in many cases the actual voice interactions are recorded and stored.

There are, however, a number of solutions that can help to ease customers’ concerns and improve adoption rates. The Alexa for Hospitality service, for instance, automatically deletes interactions once per day, while hotel owners can remotely clear the device too. Moreover, it is important that the devices used can be turned off easily, and for some hotels, the best option may be to allow guests to opt out of voice control options entirely, if they so wish.

Voice control technology offers various benefits for those in the tourism industry, helping to improve the customer experience by increasing personalisation and streamlining other services. With that said, the key to successful implementation is to take steps to protect the privacy of guests and offer them the ability to opt out too.

More Innovating Technologies Within Travel

With technology continuously evolving, it should come as little surprise that its applications within the travel industry evolve too. In the following articles we piled up some more innovating technologies in today’s travel and tourism industry.

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Revfine.com is a knowledge platform for the hospitality & travel industry. Professionals use our insights, strategies and actionable tips to get inspired, optimise revenue, innovate processes and improve customer experience. You can find all travel industry tips in the categories Marketing & Distribution, Staffing & Career and Technology & Software.

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