HotelPlanner, a travel technology platform powered by proprietary artificial intelligence, today announced the launch of its new Alexa-enabled hotel booking feature that immediately connects customers to a global gig-based ‘Hotel Planner’ agent to book a discounted hotel stay – anywhere in the world – at any time, an industry first.
The announcement is well-timed with the rise in voice-activated technology and the ‘Internet of Things’ revolution that is already disrupting every industry across the globe.
How Alexa-Enabled Hotel Bookings Work
Using an Alexa device or the Alexa app, a customer must first say “Alexa – enable the HotelPlanner skill.” Once the skill is enabled, customers can then activate the feature any time by saying “Alexa – open HotelPlanner” or “Alexa – ask HotelPlanner to make a new reservation in Boston.”
Once a customer tells Alexa their travel details, the service immediately connects the customer to a live Hotel Planner as a priority call, which bypasses the call queue. The Hotel Planner can then typically offer a discounted rate before completing the booking. This is equivalent to having a personal hotel concierge at one’s beck and call anytime help is needed with hotel bookings.
HotelPlanner’s proprietary artificial intelligence and VOIP capabilities will also try to route customers to a gig-based Hotel Planner who either lives in, or knows about, the customer’s desired destination so that they can provide localized and personalized service.
And this new booking feature is completely free of charge.
Here’s a short instructional video to learn more.
Staying Ahead of the Technology Curve
Since its founding in 2004, HotelPlanner has sought to stay ahead of the technology curve with next generation features that anticipate evolving customer needs to further simplify and automate the hotel booking process.
For example, HotelPlanner pioneered the electronic Request for Proposal (eRFP) process for group bookings in 2004, and then added an online negotiation capability in 2009. In 2014, the company launched its instant group booking feature. In May 2020, at the height of the pandemic, HotelPlanner launched its global gig-economy based reservations platform in response to an influx of customer calls, an industry first for an online travel agency.
“We believe that adding Alexa-enabled hotel bookings is an industry game changer,” says John Prince, Co-Founder & Chief Information Officer, HotelPlanner. “As the Internet of Things and smart homes, smart cars and smart offices become more ubiquitous, HotelPlanner is ready to provide a tech-forward solution that embraces voice activation and anticipates how consumers will interact with technology to make travel plans. And this capability is sustainable, scalable, and complementary with the ongoing expansion of our gig-based Hotel Planner reservation platform.”
HotelPlanner Seeking to List on NASDAQ
In August 2021, HotelPlanner announced that it had entered into an agreement providing for a three-way merger with Astrea Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: ASAXU), a special purpose acquisition company, and Reservations.com. The merger contemplates HotelPlanner becoming a publicly listed company on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “HOTP.” Completion of the merger is subject to approval by the stockholders of Astrea and other conditions. Astrea has filed a preliminary proxy statement regarding the transaction.
HotelPlanner, with its family of brands, including HotelPlanner.com, Meetings.com, and following the transaction, Reservations.com, will offer individual, group, and corporate booking access to more than 1 million global properties, enabled by a proprietary, cloud-based, artificial intelligence technology platform, and a 24/7 global gig-based reservations platform.
The transaction is expected to enable HotelPlanner to transform into a diversified hotel and event booking platform with complementary revenue streams, and to provide the combined company opportunities to realize multiple operating synergies to drive growth at scale.