Hospitality Voice Platform Startup Volara Acquired by Uniguest
Hospitality tech provider Uniguest has acquired voice AI for hotels startup Volara for an undisclosed sum. Volara’s widespread platform will form the core of a new voice division for Uniguest as part of its suite of tech services.
Volara’s voice platform is a popular third-party platform for a wide range of hospitality organizations. The agnostic design allows it to operate on any compatible hardware, including Amazon Echo and Google Nest devices. Legoland in Florida applies Volara to its Amazon Echos, while the Legolands in New York and California use Volara-powered Google Nests. Volara provides an extra custom layer to Google Assistant and Alexa that enables hotels to add information about their amenities and nearby points of interest, as well as controls for room appliances and a connection to room service and a concierge if they choose. Volara CEO Dave Berger will become executive vice president for Uniguest’s new voice division as part of the deal.
“We are very excited to add Volara to the Uniguest suite of solutions, especially since it fits so well across the key industries our brands operate in,” Uniguest CEO Jeff Hiscox said. “Voice creates contactless experiences, and we see it has a big part in future technology, and by offering a secure and functional software like Volara’s, we expect to see high adoption rates from current and new customers alike.”
Volara’s business has boomed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as hotels look for contact-free ways to serve guests. Every room in Washington, D.C.’s Hotel Zena has a Volara-powered Google Nest Hub in every room, a goal set for all 32 Village Hotels in the United Kingdom, and several longer-term corporate hotels in New York City. The startup widened its features in other partnerships along the way, working with youtip to add the option to tip hotel staff by voice. Volara’s systems are embedded in more than 400 locations and 20,000 smart speakers, displays and other devices at this point.
“In early 2016, we envisioned voice-first technologies managing customer relationships across many commercial properties. With that aim we focused on three requirements: robust customer privacy protections, impenetrable security of client data, and seamless integrations into the technology ecosystem of each vertical where our solutions were engaged,” Volara CEO Dave Berge said. “Today, as the leading voice assistant solution for hotels and senior living communities, I’m excited to accelerate our growth in both our existing and new verticals as part of Uniguest.”