8 Critical Questions to Ask When Shopping for Voice Technology at HITEC Minneapolis

Jun 12, 2019

New York — The rate of smart speaker adoption in the United States does not appear to be slowing, with 57.8 million adults owning at least one smart speaker according to a recent Voicebot.ai survey. Perhaps that’s why 79% of hoteliers named voice-enabled technology as a top investment choice for 2019. With voice on command becoming the new on demand, hoteliers attending HITEC Minneapolis next week will be shopping for voice-enabled devices to install in guestrooms for the first time. Volara, the voice hub for the hotel industry, is cautioning hoteliers that embracing these new technologies doesn’t mean hoteliers can simply drop consumer-grade products into guestrooms and expect the devices to work successfully in a hotel environment. Installing off-the-shelf voice assistants in guestrooms without the appropriate software overlay adds no value to the guest experience. Rather, it could expose the hotel to liability and guest complaints.

“Before investing in voice technology, hoteliers must be sure that safeguards are in place that provide an appropriate layer of protection for guests’ personally identifiable information and keep proprietary hotel data from falling into the wrong hands,” said David Berger, Volara CEO. “Look for solutions that lead with and are proud of the guest privacy and data security protection they offer. If the solution provider fails to discuss how they address these issues in the first two sentences, they haven’t met the table stakes for voice in hospitality.”

Here are 8 key questions to ask vendors when shopping for a voice technology solution at HITEC:

  1. How are you protecting the privacy of my guests? Are recordings associated with our guests’ personally identifiable information (PII)?
  2. How are you protecting the security of my hotel’s proprietary data? Are there any integrations with a platform that may use this data for remarketing or other purposes? If so, how are you protecting my guests from this practice?
  3. Many travelers have unique accents or dialects that aren’t well understood by popular voice assistants. Does your solution improve the accuracy of interactions?
  4. How are you measuring ROI? How will your solution drive efficiencies and increase revenues? Can you share data from actual deployments?
  5. How will voice technologies impact my guests’ experiences? How do I ensure my hotel maintains the relationship with its guests? Can I easily change and update interactions with my guests once deployed?
  6. How much flexibility do I have to change Natural Language Processing providers over time? Or select different providers for different properties in my portfolio?
  7. How is data presented back to hotel management? Is it available in real time and in aggregated reporting to enable improved decision making? Can I access the raw data for my own analysis?
  8. How does this scale? Will the solution be brand consistent, yet locally tailored, across my entire portfolio?

“Hoteliers are understandably concerned that data may be used to remarket to guests or for other non-hotel purposes,” Berger said. “Therefore, we don’t recommend integrating sensitive hotel technology solutions directly into the large Natural Language Processing Platforms (NLPs), as this could expose sensitive, proprietary hotel information, such as guest profiles, operational practices, or guest communications. To enable hotels to have the benefit of fully integrated voice technology from the leading platforms while protecting the hotels’ proprietary data from exposure, connections should be through a secure integrations hub that leverages the technology without exposing the data within. Volara’s secure integrations hub benefits from more than 40 powerful hotel technology integration – with the property-management systems, IPTV systems, work order-management systems, room controls, guest-engagement platforms, valet software, staff alert technologies and more.

“When meeting with voice technology suppliers at HITEC, ask if their solution is being powered by Volara,” he said. “Twenty of our 40+ integration partners will be on the tradeshow floor proudly demonstrating our secure integration that contains the necessary protections required to deliver an enterprise-grade voice solution. If you’re still confused about which smart speaker to use or voice technology to select, a Volara team member will be happy to advise and even walk the show floor with you. Simply stop by Booth 2408 at HITEC – you can’t miss us. We’re in the front row just to the right of the entrance.”

Volara provides platform agnostic voice-based conversation management software and a secure integrations hub to the hospitality industry. Its software turns the leading consumer voice assistants into a business tool that drives more efficient customer service, influences visitors’ behaviors, and improves net promoter scores. Volara is a launch partner for Google Assistant Interpreter Mode, launch partner for Alexa for Hospitality, and exclusive distributor and software partner for Smartbeings WooHoo.

Original Source: HospitalityNet