Volara – the voice hub for the hotel industry – said it has developed a patent-pending technology that will help Amazon’s Alexa excel in the complex hotel environment. As hotel guests bring their own colloquialisms, accents, and verbally convey their intents to hotels in a myriad of ways, Volara’s new Accuracy Engine enables Alexa to satisfy their commands appropriately and with greater precision. Volara’s Accuracy Engine leverages robust data sets, contextual awareness, AI and Machine Learning to sharply reduce errors and increase guest satisfaction.
“Volara’s technology does not process what a guest says. Volara interprets what Alexa hears,” said David Berger, CEO of Volara. “For example, our data shows that Alexa sometimes hears the word ‘shuttle’ as ‘shudder’ or even ‘should hill’. With our Accuracy Engine, ‘shudder’ will trigger the appropriate action or integration, like calling the hotel shuttle. Volara’s Accuracy Engine provides a translation layer between what Alexa hears and what action a guest is asking of our client hotels.”
Volara’s software benefits from what it calls SmartSlots – which represent common terms used across hotels (e.g., in-room dining, dental kit, valet). The data on what Alexa hears when a guest uses one of these terms informs and improves the SmartSlots across all properties in each portfolio.
“Volara’s Accuracy Engine with SmartSlots is ideal for hotels that are part of a larger brand or portfolio,” Berger said. “When a SmartSlot is updated at one hotel, the interaction models driving the conversations will be updated across all hotels within that group or brand. As Volara’s client base continues to grow, so will the frequency and granularity of these updates, thereby improving the likelihood that a guest will be well satisfied by his or her interaction with Alexa.”
Boosting Guest Satisfaction
Berger explained that Alexa users in the home train themselves to speak with Alexa in a way that minimizes disappointing responses, such as “Sorry, I don’t know that one.” “Hmmm, I don’t know that.” “Sorry, I’m not sure.” Or worse, the dreaded blue ring silent treatment.
“Hotel guests tend to have less patience and expect technology to adapt to them rather than the other way around,” Berger said. “Hoteliers are even less patient, especially when Alexa’s failure to understand voice commands can cause lost revenue, complaints, and overall customer dissatisfaction.”
Volara has deployments in properties such as the Westin Buffalo, Thompson Seattle, Motif Seattle, Best Western Hawthorne Terrace, Aloft Hotel Dublin Pleasanton, The Edwin by Marriott’s Autograph Collection, and EMC2 by Marriott’s Autograph Collection. In September, Marriott International named Volara its official and exclusive partner for its pilots of voice technologies. Volara is the only company to achieve the Alexa for Business Solution Service Delivery Designation and to be named a launch partner for Alexa for Hospitality.