Having recently relocated back to Scotland and joined the Waracle team, after spending a year in Washington DC, I have had the opportunity to reflect on my time travelling in the States. As a millennial I concede that I am a little demanding (for those that know me well, they know that is very toned down statement, and yes, it is possible I may suffer just a little from nomophobia), I expect technology to be available to me at all times, and if I can engage with an organisation through technology – I will.
So when it’s not there, especially when I’m on the move with my mobile, potentially stressed and tired with travel as well as being frustrated, I try to think about what could be in place as a more digital service oriented alternative.
How could Voice help travelers?
When travelling for business, I often found myself on early morning or late night flights, discombobulated from flying from one location to another and normally looking for as much convenience as I could find. Technology at this stage is my best friend, yet it is not as available as I and many others would like.
On a business trip to Finland, I was overwhelmed by not only the language differences, but also a completely foreign alphabet. I can get by in France or other European countries, piecing together words and making some sense, but Finland was a totally different experience.
By the time I get to my hotel, I have engaged with multiple technologies, all from my mobile. An airline app for my boarding pass, Uber to get to and from the airport, self service check in at the hotel, then I get to my room and it seems to grind to a halt?
What if I had engaged with my hotel brand via in-room voice technology? They would have access to my food preferences if I ordered room service. If I booked a spa treatment, they would know that I like a little luxury in my life. Whatever the technology entry point might be, the aim is to gather information and leverage the data to engage with the individual.
With the release of Alexa for business, perceived issues of security and scalability have been resolved and this is now available on the market. At Waracle, we can clearly see the positive impact voice will have on the evolution of mobile app development and the digital transformation of business – especially in hospitality and travel sector.
As well as having a keen interest we’ve created many voice skills covering everything from office productivity, using energy usage to help carers, to using the technology to complement education curriculums and even traffic management. Travel is the next area to undergo a digital transformation with voice.
How could wearable tech be integrated?
Take that one step further. On my phone, people could send me helpful tourist information or local tips relevant to my consumer habits? If I had an apple watch or other wearable tech, could that be leveraged as another engagement point?
In an unknown place, people are perhaps reluctant to take out their phone. Being able to receive alerts on your wearable, targeted offers or even GPS related promotions stating you are 500 steps from a free coffee let’s say, then this elevates the guest experience to new heights.
This level of convenience is right up my street, and there are so many options, yet so few that seem to be available as a consumer.
The hotel industry as a whole, I feel, has a desire to innovate and through leveraging technology, the ability to attract, engage and retain customers could be enhanced? It would have won me over that’s for sure.
Certain hotel chains such as Marriott and Wynn have embraced the voice revolution for example, but does this technology feel too early to market? In the US, Amazon Alexa will be installed in some Marriott-owned hotels. Its functions will include ordering room service, housekeeping and providing concierge advice. Why is it not more common place? Perhaps this is a case of hoteliers wanting to embrace the technology but not knowing exactly how to do it. Particularly when you are dealing with hundreds or thousands of rooms, I can understand the prospect of such change being overwhelming.
IoT as the next step?
Hilton have taken technology one step further as is piloting a robot concierge featuring advanced artificial intelligence and the ability to “learn” from its interactions with guests.
The questions remains though, will this just be another communication channel or will it drive meaningful engagements?
Starwood have seen great success by integrating IoT and offering their keyless room entry.
In addition that advent of smart mirrors, being able to project information whilst doing your makeup is great!
Here at Waracle, the team have been working closely and at the forefront of voice technology, AR and IoT for some time. The team is well placed to make that overwhelming digital dream into a fully fledged operational reality. And it doesn’t stop there.
Waracle appreciate that with all good technology projects, there needs to be both a focused view of deliverables by specific timelines, but also how each component part forms part of a wider digital strategy.
As industries evolve and are asked to do more and more digitally, it can be hard to find a starting point balanced with the longer term strategies that will help drive key metrics, but that is where we can help.
Waracle are well positioned to support our clients achieve their voice and other digital ambitions. Contact us today and see how we can transform your business.