All 32 Village Hotels in the UK Will Add Google Nest Hub Smart Displays in Rooms
Google Nest Hubs are coming to each of the 32 Village Hotels in the United Kingdom. Google and hospitality voice tech developer Volara will install the customized smart displays in the British hotel chain’s guestrooms and guest service areas.
Volara and Google augment the Google Nest Hubs with a specialized version of Google Assistant. Along with the standard commands and voice apps, Google Assistant can act as a concierge for guests, answering questions about amenities, calling the front desk, ordering extra towels, making reservations at the hotel restaurant, and even signing up a guest for the hotel’s loyalty program. The voice assistant can be a local guide too, offering information on the local area and recommending activities when asked. Village Hotel has been experimenting with Volara and Google’s smart display since 2019. The pilot program in three hotels succeeded well enough for the chain to authorize the current expansion. Six of the company’s hotels now have Google Nest Hubs, with the rest to follow.
“Village Hotels are designed to give travelers a truly immersive guest experience. That means giving guests a contactless way to talk to us. We want to answer their questions and fulfill requests quickly and accurately without a lot of staff interaction,” Village Hotels CTO Jon Davis said in a statement. “To do this ― as well as to get to know our customers better and anticipate their needs on future stays at any hotel in our system — Village has become the first hotel brand to commit to voice enabling its entire portfolio with Google’s hotel solution customized, implemented, and supported by Volara.”
Despite a pandemic slowing the hospitality and tourism industry, Volara has not noticeably slowed in expanding its reach into new properties like Washington, D.C.’s Hotel Zena, which opened in October with a Volara-powered Google Nest Hub in every room. Volara is also supporting devices in longer-term corporate hotels in New York City. Volara’s expansion has also included new features, most recently partnering with youtip to add the option to tip hotel staff by voice. The developer has played a major part in bringing both Alexa and Google Assistant to the hospitality industry. Volara is platform agnostics, working with Amazon as the Alexa for Hospitality launch partner and the exclusive holder of the Amazon Alexa for Business Service Delivery Designation for the hospitality industry. Amazon has its own ambitions for Alexa in hotel rooms, growing since a successful pilot program at Marriott to allowing the Westin Buffalo to become the first hotel to offer to link its smart speakers to guests’ personal Alexa accounts. Alexa is powering the Echo devices installed in more than one Legoland hotel too. All together, Volara claims that 98% of hotels with any voice assistant globally are using Volara. Still, Village Hotels is breaking new ground by going all-in on the idea of voice tech for hospitality.
“Village Hotels is the first hotel brand to commit to voice enabling its entire portfolio,” Volara CEO David Berger said. “As Village Hotels continue to grow, our solution will grow with it. This leading hotel brand is raising the bar on guest engagement — driving satisfaction and loyalty one guest voice command at a time. Together we are delivering contextually relevant, totally awesome, conversational experiences at scale.”