Volara and Sysco Plan Major Expansion of Google Nest Hubs in Hotels
Google Nest Hubs will be appearing in a lot more hotels in the U.S. soon thanks to a new partnership between hotel voice tech developer Volara and hotel goods provider Guest Supply. The Sysco subsidiary and Volara are working to incorporate the smart displays, customized with Google for Hotels software to Guest Supply’s clients.
The Nest Hub doesn’t have a camera and won’t store any audio, but Google Assistant responds to the voice commands of a standard consumer version. Where it differs is a connection to the hotel’s amenities, allowing users to ask for towels and sundries for the room, and learn about other features and activities available during their stay. Guests can connect their mobile devices to the Nest Hub to play their music and other content through the speakers. Some hotels also enable check-outs using the smart display, meaning a guest can simply leave without having to complete the process of leaving in person. Should they choose to include it, the hotel can even program Google Assistant to ask guests to fill out a survey about their stay either when they are leaving or just during a different conversation with the voice assistant.
“Through Google’s partnership with Volara, the launch of Google for Hotels in 2020 has proven to be a central component of guest service at leading hotels,” Google’s lead for global enterprise business development for devices and services Sarah Thomson said in a statement. “We are excited about this new partnership between Volara and Guest Supply that will bring this innovative product to Guest Supply’s customer base. We see big opportunities for hoteliers to thrive as the industry transforms and transcends the challenges over the past year.”
Google started setting up deals to add Nest Hub smart displays and Google Assistant to hotel rooms last summer. The hospitality program’s contactless aspect drew extra interest as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis. Only half a dozen or so hotels were in Google’s initial rollout, including one in the United Kingdom. The benefits and potential cost savings to the hotel have already generated plenty of competition for Google, including Amazon Alexa’s new LegoLand home and SoundHound’s JBL arrangement. Volara is agnostic in its services and the platform can operate on Amazon Alexa devices as well those running Google Assistant, but that hasn’t stopped the startup from releasing a steady stream of new features and partnerships. Washington, D.C.’s new Hotel Zena opened in October with a Volara-powered Google Nest Hub in every room, and Volara has worked with CIRQ+ to add voice controls to its hotel management platform. Most recently, Volara added a no-contact tipping option in a partnership with digital tipping startup youtip, and a meal service delivery through Butler Hospitality.
“Volara is thrilled to partner with Guest Supply to distribute our joint solution with Google to hoteliers across the United States,” Volara CEO David Berger said. “The power of Google’s leading smart display hardware – unmatched on the market for its guest privacy protections – coupled with Volara’s proven management interface, conversation models, and integrations hub – is having a demonstrable impact on hotels managing guest requirements for contactless stays during this pandemic. As we bring this solution to many more hotels through our partnership with Guest Supply, we expect it will become the standard guest room amenity at properties seeking to lead the industry in recovery.”