Chances are, by now you have heard your friends, colleagues or the mainstream media singing the praises of the Amazon Echo, and the hottest new voice-controlled virtual assistant called "Alexa". Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once explained that the 'all-knowing assistant' Alexa was inspired by Star Trek, where Captain Kirk, Spock and the rest of the crew could summon the Enterprise's intelligent computer from anywhere to swiftly access the information they needed. Volara Guest Engagement Software turns the Amazon Echo into an on-property, personal concierge. It has both hotels and their guests asking, "Is there an Echo in here?"
Offering the first true leap in an immersive-tech guest experience, Volara's intelligent voice automation solution has reimagined how hotels interact with guests, unleashing opportunities to enhance the hotel brand and drive more up-sell opportunities. Volara puts hotel amenities, custom offers and services at the tip of the guest's tongue and restores hotel control of information flowing to guests. While the immediate benefits – e.g., influencing guest behavior, reducing strain on staff, and creating a truly remarkable guest experience – are driving near term interest, it's the never-before realized data captured from these voice interactions that has the potential to completely transform hotel management decision making.
Successful hoteliers do not first develop their services and then find the data to support those services. They integrate business intelligence in their processes from the outset. Data informs and improves every aspect of their business. Volara provides hoteliers with unique insights into guest intent and desire never before captured that opens up unparalleled revenue opportunities.
Volara's customized analytics and reporting enables a data-driven understanding, including:
- Percent of guests asking about a specific amenity/activity
- Percent of guests responding positively to a specific up-sell suggestion
- Percent of guests leaving positive or negative feedback
- Percent of guests making specific requests
- Number of calls to hotel operator pre-empted
- Benchmarks and comparators across multiple properties
- What guests are asking for that your property does not yet offer
- Many other insights that directly impact hotel management decision making
This level of data capture identifies the needs, aspirations, intentions, and perceptions required to develop critical services and products. Collecting the right data and scoring on the importance and relevancy of different attributes helps drive better business decisions. This goldmine of data is a pivot-point moment for hotels. According to a report by Skift, hotel brands engaged with leveraging their dataset effectively have shown earnings and revenue increases of up to 58%. Another Skift study titled, "Hospitality Analytics: How Data Can Make Hotels Smarter" states that, "In the data that guests create — and, in a sense, leave behind — lie the patterns that fuel strategic opportunities around sentiment, wants, and needs. It is data that hotels can rely upon for successful marketing and operations strategies."
Other industries are already capitalizing on intelligent voice automation technology. In fact, global revenue from voice recognition units in vehicles is projected to grow to about 170 million U.S. dollars in 2019. By 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human (Gartner). Forrester says voice control will be the next battleground for technology's Big Five: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. That's because people trust and identify with objects that share human characteristics — including voice.
We are all living in what Forrester Research calls "The Age of the Customer," where customers, not companies, are driving business decisions. Guest-centric is no longer just a buzzword and the sales and up-sell process is radically moving away from the linear model. Success comes with knowing what your guests want and being able to anticipate and react to their needs – on their terms. And it can pay off big time. Forrester Research also suggests that customer experience is highly correlated with loyalty. The importance of loyalty in the hotel sector can't be underestimated. One high-end hotel operator puts the lifetime value of a loyal guest at over $100,000. According to the Harvard Business Review, customers who had the best experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had poor experiences.
Artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and voice-automation will be central to hotel-guest interactions in the future. Hoteliers need only consider whether their property will lead or follow?
According to a Phocuswright report titled, "Customization and Personalization in Travel Marketing", the end game is True Customer Centricity. The report notes that from a business perspective, the ultimate winners will be the organizations that best understand the contextual needs of the travelers and intuitively present solutions in real time. From the traveler perspective, the experience will feature the dynamic presentation of highly relevant content to provide enjoyable experiences that create superior value. When properly executed, the user experience will be seamless - feeling less like being sold and more like being served.