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Q&A: Digital Voice Assistant for Hotels




1. How can you describe the current role of digital voice devices in hotel services?


There are several thousand of hotels in the UAE, among them I have never seen a digital voice device in the hotels. So far, we have received a few inquiries for implementation of digital voice assistant system for guest rooms, but after technical meeting and discussions regarding the cost we did not hear back from them.



2. Which service tasks in hotels, in your opinion, can be automated with voice devices?

At this time, we have the knowledge of implementing voice control for the following devices in the guest rooms:


Digital voice assistant for entertainment, productivity, and news

Lights

Air conditioner

TV

Curtain

Telephone for Hand-free calling including calling Reception, House Keeping, etc.


In my opinion, the guest management system which is currently handled by the hotel staffs can also be automated using voice enabled devices. An interactive voice assistant can be used for checking, check out, ordering meals, and other hotel routines.


In future, the artificial intelligent processing of voice will be able to notify the hotels staff about an emergency situation such as fire, fall, and hearth attack in the guest rooms.


3. What are the differences in integrations of in-room voice devices in various types or

sizes of hotels?


The integration of in-room voice devises can be done in two levels.


The simplest type can include the digital voice assistant for entertainment, productivity, and

news, as well as hand-free calling including calling reception, housekeeping, etc.

The advanced type can include the above services and control of Lights, Air conditioner, TV and Curtain, etc.


There are no differences in integrations of a simple in-room voice devices in various types or

sizes of hotels, while integration of advanced voice assistance service for control of lights, air

conditioner, TV and curtain, etc. may slightly differ from a hotel to another.


This is due to the variety of technologies that used for the lighting systems, cooling and heating systems, and hospitality TVs.


4. Please name and describe the advantages and disadvantages for the adoption of voice

assistant and voice-activated devices for a hotel.


Advantages:

1. Improving customer experience and customer retention: The new features of voice

assistant such as entertainment and productivity has a high influence of the guest’s

feeling, and comfort of using voice-activated devices such as lighting, TV and curtain

can bring more satisfaction that can result in higher customer retention.

2. Reduces operational cost and save energy: The technology behind the voice activation

of room lighting, air conditioner and TV can provide remote access to these devices and

facilitate a parallel automation system that can reduce the consumption of energy.


Disadvantages:

1. Reducing privacy: nearly all existing voice-enabled solutions including Amazon Alexa,

Apple Siri, and Google Home are using cloud calculation for processing the voice

commands and activation of devices. This transformation of data can reduce the privacy

for guest room.


5. How can hotel guests benefit from having a smart speaker in their rooms?

The ability to instantly set alarms and reminders, listen to music, audio books, news, and radio stations is one of the benefits of having smart speaker in a room.


Access to a voice controlled knowledge-base such as Amazon Alexa voice service that help

hotels guest to search for information about the city, and other topics is another benefit.

Finally, the ability to order meal and other routine daily requirement from the convenience of

guest room.


6. Which functions of digital voice devices are most useful for hotel guests?

This may differ from a person to another. For many the entertainment features are useful, while some other hotels guests the productivity features are the most useful functions.


7. What is your opinion as to why some guests resist using smart speakers in rooms?

Some guests, especially the older generation, prefer doing the activities in the same way that they used to do it in the past, giving a justification that voice assistant make human lazy.

A few others are concerned about their privacy, because of the news about leaking data and

hacking the systems in the past.


8. Speaking about the current COVID-19 pandemic, in what way may it affect guests’

attitude to face-to-face service delivery?

Both hotel staff and guest are not only concerned about the face-to-face service deliveries that may expose them to this virus, but also, they are worried about touching the surfaces such as remote controller of TV, light switches, etc.


9. How do you see the future of in-room digital voice assistants in hotels? Is it associated

with a wider/ the same level of adoption of voice technology in hospitality?

In my view in about 10 to 20 years, the advanced in-room digital voice assistants will be offered to the guests as an optional chose in some of the luxury and high-ranking hotels. That may court about 10% of the total number of hotels in the country like UAE where the hospitality and tourism are major incomes for the country.





The digital voice assistants in hotels is associated with a wider adoption in compare with other businesses within the hospitality sector such as passenger flights, transportation, restaurant and bars. However, based on our previous projects and inquiries we received for implementation of voice-controlled systems in variety of service sectors, the voice control of vehicles has the widest adoptions since it is more important and useful. Next stand the hospital and care center, where the guests are unable to freely move in the room. In compare with the above sectors, the hospitality sector gains less advantage from the adoption of voice assistant systems.

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