In-Room Voice Automation is the future and will prove to be the most powerful business tool for hotels since the telephone was first placed on the bedside table. Given the frictionless and fun interface that everyone already knows - talking – voice automation is seeing record high utilization rates, disintermediating guests from their mobile devices, and restoring control of the guest experience to the property.
Below are specific KPIs that you can expect to see impacted by In-Room Voice Automation.
1. Total Revenue Per Available Room (TRevPAR)
TRevPar - a measure of the total net revenue across the property over the number of available guest rooms on the property - is improved by increasing sales and utilization of restaurants, spas, kids clubs, and other revenue centers at the hotel. For many properties, there is a substantial delta between room revenue and ancillary revenue. For example, in the US, 60% of travelers are leisure and spend on average $131.00 per room (AHLA 2015 Lodging Trends). The problem is that most associations do not track ancillary spend and this is becoming a larger portion of the stay. Most guests aren’t aware of all that is offered by a property nor do most turn to the property staff when they are considering their day’s activities.
In-Room Voice Automation, through its interactive features, ensures guests are aware of what your property offers and subtly influences guests to avail themselves of the high margin services with excess capacity at a given moment in time. Rainy day? Suggest a massage at the spa. Special high margin dinner entree at the restaurant? Mention it during the afternoon. Unreserved tee times on the golf links this morning? Mention a discount or other offer exclusively for guests to fill those slots in real time?
This is the first in-room technology solution that subtly influences guests and encourages spending on your property.
2. Direct Revenue Ratio (DRR)
DRR - which measures the percentage of rooms revenue coming directly to the hotel as compared to through third party platforms that take large commissions - is critical to profitability. In 2016, it is projected to show that hotels will drive 59% of their revenue direct and 51% via online travel agencies (Phocuswright U.S Online Travel 15th Edition). To do this, they focus on driving bookings through the hotel website. Yet conversion rates on hotel websites are relatively low. Why are conversion rates on hotel websites so low?
Conversions are driven by exclusive and time limited offers. For most prospective guests, hotel website offers are tired and have limited value. Bonus points? Free breakfast? These aren’t memorable, let alone remarkable. Try offering your guests booking directly access to one of the very first voice automated guest rooms in the world. Put the services of the hotel at the tip of their tongue. Watch the impact on DRR.
3. Average Daily Rate (ADR)
ADR - which measures the average price paid per room on a given day - can be immediately improved by placing a voice automation device at the front desk. In a 2014 Gallop poll (From Economy to Luxury, What Matters Most to Hotel Guests), guests overall strongly agree that they would be willing to pay much more for significantly improved services such as Internet connectivity, comfortable beds, and responsive employees.
It also makes sense that guests will then pay more or the opportunity to experience the benefits of this new technology in an upgraded room. Having the services of the hotel at the tip of the tongue brings demonstrable value to the guest stay that can, if the hotel chooses, be unbundled and charged separately for - not unlike a cot or mini-bar item or pay per view movie.
But what is it that in-room voice automation actually provides? In one word, luxury. The luxury of time and the increasingly efficient use of that time, particularly during a short stay, is highly valued by guests and they will pay more for it.
4. Sentiment Scores
Sentiment Scores - the result of an analysis of aggregated online reviews - are a key indicator of guest experience and the hotel’s success in delivering it. The scores are often directly related to hotel general manager compensation. In two specific ways, In-Room Voice Automation is perfectly suited to have a positive impact on this metric.
First, experiencing this new technology is simply remarkable and your guests will snap, record, and share it online. It is simply delightful, full and something everyone who uses it wants to share with their friends and colleagues.
Second, this new technology acts as an intermediary between hotel guests - who increasingly are non-confrontational in person to person contacts and prefer to interact with technology rather than staff. It raises guest concerns immediately to hotel management so they can be addressed with immediacy well before anything is published online.
5. Net Promoter Scores (NPS)
NPS - the measure of how likely a guest is to recommend your property to a friend - is perhaps the most popular measure of guest satisfaction. These scores are derived from post-stay surveys and most often driven - in either direction - by a single memorable interaction or event during a stay. Guests often say, “I’d like to recommend this hotel, but one staff member was rude to me.” Alternatively, they are just as likely to remark, “The hotel was average, but the mattress was the most comfortable I’ve ever slept on and something everyone should experience.”
Similarly, the experience of using In-Room Voice Automation, still new to most guests, will stand out as a unique and wonderful part of the guests stay, driving them to recommend your property to friends and colleagues.
We promised to explain how In-Room Voice Automation can improve hotel’s KPIs, but there is an important bonus we have yet to mention. In-Room Voice Automation ensures you truly know your guests. Truly knowing someone isn’t about knowing their professional profile, nor about knowing their preferences or where they spend their money. And learning anything after a guest leaves and completes a feedback survey is useful, but lacks anything that is immediately actionable.
Guest Intent data - which is presented both in real time and in periodic reports based on the questions being asked on your property - is the new holy grail of knowing your guests. This data has never before been captured or utilized to drive hotel decision making. What do your guests want that the hotel hasn’t been able to provide? What are your guests seeking to do off-property? Data on guest intent, interest, and desire has traditionally been lost, but now it’s available and there is no single data set more powerful in driving decisions about guest services, facilities management, or hotel marketing.
The deployment of In-Room Voice Automation on your property is a business decision that can and should be measured and as such, the solution can be customized to meet the metrics that are important to your property.
David Berger is co-founder and CEO of Volara.