Legoland Hotels Install Google Nest Hub Smart Displays
Guests staying at the Legoland hotels in New York and California will now find a custom Google Nest Hub installed in their room with Google Assistant to serve as their concierge and guide. The smart displays offer Lego-shaded service supported by hotel voice tech platform developer Volara and provide contact-free interactions designed to assuage some of the health concerns of potential visitors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Google Assistant combines some of the features available in private homes with specialized extras for staying at a hotel. Users can ask the voice assistant to play music, check the weather, and set up unique Lego alarms, but also communicate with the hotel staff either to call the front desk or just send a message that they need more towels or other supplies. The voice assistant is specifically programmed with information about the theme park and nearby restaurants and activities, with suggestions and a whole video tour of the theme park. Google doesn’t have a universal monopoly on Legoland, however. Legoland Florida has installed Amazon Echo smart speakers with a customized version of Alexa for Hospitality into its Pirate Island Hotel, serving a similar purpose.
Google and Volara incorporated several family-friendly Lego elements too. The voice assistant will read bedtime stories in the voice of Legoland characters, and each room has a secret treasure chest of Lego goodies that kids can go on an adventure for by asking Google for the next clue in the scavenger hunt. The smart displays include Google’s translations services as well, so the voice assistant can respond and answer questions in about 30 languages. Guests can personalize the experience for themselves by hooking up their own mobile devices by Bluetooth should they prefer their own content.
“The device is not only providing entertainment and satisfaction, but it is driving service optimization. Volara’s integration is helping us fulfill service requests more rapidly and providing us with actionable business intelligence to help us make data-driven decisions. If we see a spike in guests asking Google for more blankets, for example, we can start putting extra blankets in all rooms when the weather starts changing to cut back on service calls,” explained James Barton, group head of business transformations at Merlin Entertainments, which operates the parks. “We believe that if we can create the right experiences and make the sleepover memorable, then guests will be back. Voice AI in rooms through Volara and Google is opening a whole world of opportunity to operators like us and it’s creating experiences that today’s travelers are craving.”
All of the features can be run by voice command, a contactless experience that many people are also craving after the last year and a half. New York’s Legoland hotel doesn’t even include a standard telephone in the rooms anymore, just the Google Nest Hub. The voice assistant is a boon to efficiency too, saving an average of ten hours of staff time a day, according to Volara. And while only 8% of Nest Hubs with Volara are used at Legoland hotels on a given day, nearly half of those guests who do interact with the device use it three or more times a day.
That fits with the boom Volara and other voice AI for hospitality providers have seen since 2020 began. Volara reached new properties like Washington, D.C.’s Hotel Zena, which opened in October with a Volara-powered Google Nest Hub in every room, and Village Hotels in the United Kingdom. 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 pandemic has changed the way people travel. As leisure travel continues to pick up dramatically, travelers are choosing hotels that are taking their health and the guest experience seriously,” said Volara CEO David Berger. “Leveraging Volara’s private and secure conversation management software that sits atop the Google Nest Hub, Merlin Entertainments is optimizing the way people enjoy their hotels and theme parks across the globe.”