“Hotel room assistant” — using Amazon Alexa Voice Tech
Hotels currently rely on intercoms and their staff to attend to their guest’s requests (both registering a request and fulfilling them).
Huge bottleneck, guests hate standing in line at the reception or holding on the call. Remember the times when you were put on hold or had the line ringing forever? And all you wanted was two extra pillows!
But we have mobile apps…
Mobile apps do these things but the process is not frictionless — Typical experience is -> Get on the hotel wifi, search the rapp in the app store (yawn), download the mobile app, register/sign up, learn the menu and navigation, then a bunch of additional clicks before you can order extra towels! Plus everyone from the party of guests needs to download the app on their own devices if they desire independent control.
And guests want…
to be pampered, so save them footsteps and clicks demands using other human interaction mechanisms — Voice solves this problem! Why click when you can speak?
For hotel management teams…
Dynamically updatable information about services like menus, shuttle times, dry cleaning charges, etc possible through the use of digital mediums.
Meet brand differentiation and management objectives.
The stuff the voice assistant could do…
- Personalized greeting
- Intro to room amenities
- Alarm clock
- Shuttle service info and sign up
- Wayfinding info
- Cab reservation, reminder and status (*sponsorship/monetization opportunities)
- Room service for utility items
- Room-Food/drink service — Menu, prices, prep time, scheduling, status, confirmation, payment confirmation.
- Music on demand
- News on demand
- Wikipedia and general searches
- Housekeeping preferences
- Valet service
- Nearby (*sponsorship/monetization opportunities)
- Amazon Prime and Now shopping (*requires existing account log in)
- Check-in/Check-out related info
- Billing information and services
- Connected room services (*hardware upgrades needed) — lights, locks, bath/hot water, HVAC controls, window shades/curtains, sleep number settings, etc.
- Rewards and Profile management
- End users: Leisure and Business travelers.
- Beneficiaries: Valets, reception staff, kitchen staff, housekeeping staff, concierge
- Sponsors: Local businesses like restaurants, travel/transport services, touristy spots, commercial centers, etc
- Providers: Marketing teams at Hotels, Resorts, AirBnB/HomeAway type rentals.
- In-room (maybe 1–2 depending on room size)
- Reception areas
- Hotel lobbies
- At their own homes, for in-advance interactions
- Hardware: Need Alexa enabled devices in all the desired areas plus any additional connected room type equipment if desired.
- Backend services: APIs for existing and new services to integrate into
- Security — leverages Amazon’s existing security infrastructure, no always-on listening since requires trigger (“Alexa”/customizable trigger name)
@Mutual Mobile, we have invested a lot of effort and boast a talented team of Alexa technologists who can imagine, design and develop the perfect voice experience for you and your customers. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and discussions.
Supplementary Reading & References:
In 2013, New York’s Hilton Midtown — the city’s second largest hotel — discontinuedroom service to all 2,000 of its rooms, citing high staff costs and inconsistent demand. They cut 55 employees from their room service staff, and implemented “Herb n’ Kitchen,” a refrigerator stocked with grab-and-go items.
Robert Mandelbaum, director of information services for PKF Hospitality Research, says room service only accounts for 1% of the typical hotel’s revenue. In addition, room service is on a rampant decline: in 2007, average yearly revenue per room was $1,150; today, it’s only $866 — about $2.37 in room service charges per room per day. While the number of hotel guests overall has risen in the last six years, room service use has fallen off 25 percent.
The market for traditional room service is fading, due to changing habits and travel spends. Research from Atlanta-based PKF Hospitality Research found that revenue per occupied U.S. hotel room, a data point which includes room-service spending, dropped to $3.25 in 2012 from $4.33 in 2007, obviously a small fraction of what travelers spend at the hotel, as compared with room rates, parking, and dining elsewhere in the hotel. In 2012, room service accounted for a meager 1.22 percent of total hotel revenue, a 20% drop from 5 years earlier. Clearly, guests aren’t taking advantage of room service like they used to, so it makes sense that hotels would develop alternatives that better meet modern traveler demands.
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