Why does Aiello Assistant stand out among intelligent devices for hotels?
An interview with Rebecca Lee, the GM of Silks Place Tainan, and Vic Shen, the CEO of Aiello
Aiello Assistant was officially deployed in all 255 rooms at Silks Place Tainan at the beginning of 2021. So what convinced Rebecca Lee, the General Manager at Silks Place Tainan to agree to implement Aiello Assistant at the hotel?
“I remember seeing children at the check-out with their parents insisting: ‘I still want to say goodbye to ‘Aiello Assistant’, waving their hands goodbye.” Ms. Lee was talking from her own experience.
Aiello Assistant is a smart voice AI assistant that uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) voice technology to answer the needs of hotel guests. It can also entertain children with songs and stories, which makes it easy for them to befriend the device.
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Vic Shen met Ms. Lee at a business matchmaking event. Ms. Lee smiled and recalled that she had seen plenty of smart hotel solutions with IoT controls featuring prominently; however, they didn’t make much sense to her. But after Mr. Shen highlighted the capabilities of Aiello Assistant, she felt that with this device the challenges of the hospitality industry were truly addressed. “The most expensive is definitely the labor cost,” said Ms. Lee.
Aiello Assistant connects with the backend management platform and assists with basic room services. Often, multiple guests call the front desk with requests at the same time. When the front desk is overloaded with calls, Aiello Assistant collects and records all the requests first.
This way, the guests don’t have to wait on the phone and the staff will get the notifications from the platform. For hotels with high star-rating, an exceptional customer experience is a top priority. Common questions such as What’s the WiFi password? What’s the latest check-out time? How much is the beverage at the minibar? can be directly answered by the device which is located in the hotel room.
Another function that Ms. Lee emphasized is the virtual concierge. Aiello Assistant also serves as a pocket guide. Whether you want to find the best beef soup in Tainan or visit a specialty coffee shop, the device can be customized to answer any of these questions. The human concierge is able to focus on other important tasks. As for its entertainment function, guests can enjoy its music streaming service (partnership with KKBOX) and the young ones can also have fun listening to junior content such as nursery rhymes, stories, and songs.
Aiello Assistant is able to customize its database and modify it according to each hotel’s specific location. For example, inquiries like “Where is the best beef soup?” might not be the most requested search in Taipei, but are perfectly suited to the Tainan area.
The device’s chat function contains rich dialogue content and has a high rate of understanding. “In one case, for example, a hotel guest confided his depression. Aiello Assistant responded and guided him to ponder about the world’s beauty instead,” said Vic Shen.
Aiello Assistant is installed in all 255 rooms at Silks Place Tainan, and when the voice assistant is inactive, the device displays a slideshow of the hotel’s current promotional offers. “In the past, hotel information was either shown on TV or flyers placed in the hotel room, most times left unnoticed by the guests. Now, with Aiello Assistant, the reach of advertising materials is extended, even purposely exposing attractions and restaurants in the area. Perhaps it can become an advertising platform in the future,” said Rebecca Lee.
Offline data is very valuable, although difficult to collect
Despite the hotel industry being among the most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Silks Place Tainan is fortunate to be located in a lesser-affected area in the south of Taiwan, and thus was able to maintain its occupancy rate and survive the crisis.
“When the hotel managers were discussing the situation, they agreed that in the future, hotels with high star-ratings will incorporate smart devices like Aiello Assistant as their standard equipment. In the future, despite having enough financial resources, it might be difficult to find hotel personnel,” said Ms. Lee. Personnel that can serve foreign travelers in Japanese and English is especially hard to find; therefore, the built-in Chinese, Japanese, and English service of Aiello Assistant will be very helpful.
Smart AI assistants and their entertainment functions, like playing bedtime stories and singing nursery rhymes to children, can convey the family-friendly character of Silks Place Tainan. “A big playground doesn’t have to be the only thing that makes this place attractive for families. Tech devices like Aiello Assistant can also be used to market the hotel as kid-friendly,” says Ms. Lee.
She also points out another advantage of Aiello Assistant — its ability to collect data about customer behavior. “Offline data is very valuable, although difficult to collect. Thanks to Aiello Assistant we get to know more about what’s important for our guests. For example, with Aiello Assistant we found out that the guests are frequently asking about the opening hours of the swimming pool, water temperature, depth, and even whether they can purchase swimming goggles at the hotel. This information is invaluable to us for delivering the best quality customer experience at our property,” noted Ms. Lee.
Mr. Shen then followed with an interesting finding: “Specifically in Tainan, Aiello Assistant recorded one repeated misunderstanding with the guests. When they asked the device to “bō gē (to stream a song in Chinese)” we realized they did not want to listen to a song, they actually wanted to visit a famous hand-shaken drink shop named Pogo Creative Tea.”
In situations like this, the semantic understanding of the device needs to be customized to match the area or hotel’s specific requirements. This is also part of our focus. The device can be trained to keep up with the constantly changing needs of the hotel’s own area and its culture.
“So if the hotel manager asks me, ‘What’s the difference between our product and the other smart speakers?’ My first instinct tells me that this is probably not our target client.”
(Interviewed by Business Next Media Corp.)
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