Volara, a voice service creator for hospitality industry, has announced the launch of hands-free calling in hotels, powered by Alexa for Business.
With this new feature, hotel guests can directly call a mobile number, the front desk or housekeeping from the smart speaker in the room. Available commands include “Alexa, call the front desk” or “Alexa, call housekeeping.”
The new feature with smart speakers is expected to replace traditional landline phones in hotel rooms.
Earlier Volara had created services with Amazon Alexa to let hotel guests adjust room temperatures, play music and provide concierge recommendations. Its service acts as a virtual concierge for hotel guests, which required a hotel phone involved before.
Phone calling with Alexa is different from previous voice applications in hotels because the Alexa for Business platform gives data rights to enterprises. With normal Alexa applications, the speaker will record all conversations. Alexa for Business, on the other hand, allows enterprises to take control of voice data, so hotel guests won’t need to worry about being recorded while calling via Alexa devices.
Hotels also have the ability to assign devices to rooms, to turn the volume down if someone is playing the music too loud, and to clear and wipe the data on devices when guests check out.
Volara offers custom greetings as well, to let the voice assistant welcome a guest by name when they enter the room.
Volara’s solutions have been adopted in 35 hotels across the U.S., including brand names like Fairmont Hotels and Marriott. The phone calling feature is adopted first by the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The company is also experimenting other smart speakers with their voice services, such as those from Alibaba and Google, said Dave Berger, the CEO of Volara, in an interview with Venturebeat.
Alexa still cannot dial emergency numbers like 911. Landline phones might therefore last for another while in hotel rooms.