In today’s tech-oriented world many of our guests are looking for easy ways to obtain more information without having to bother front desk or concierge employees. IHG decided to create an in-room voice assistant that would answer questions about the hotel and the surrounding areas. We used an Amazon Echo device paired with custom software that would give it knowledge of the hotel. Guests could verbally ask questions of the Echo device (e.g., “Where is the gym”, “what time is checkout”, etc.) and the Echo device would interpret and answer those questions. To expand the hotel’s communication with the guests, IHG built a portal that would allow the front desk to update the Echo’s responses with timely information (e.g., the specials for the day on the restaurant response).
IHG sought out Tech Savvy Business Travelers, age 25-45, who spend 20-50 nights a year on business trips and are comfortable with cutting edge technology as the target audience. The Crowne Plaza brand caters to this clientele so IHG focused the project on this brand.
IHG built custom software for the Amazon Echo device to allow it to answer a set of commonly asked questions about the hotel. IHG also built a portal for the hotel staff to update the responses to the questions in real time. About 90% of the budget was for the Echo devices and the custom software.
The campaign was focused almost solely on the conversational space in the guest room. As the guest talked to the Echo it invited more interactions over time.
Prior to the Echo In Room Assistant project, guests had the option of using the in-room information book to learn about the hotel or call the front desk. In past research, IHG learned that customers generally used neither and rather opted to remain ignorant of the hotel.