Aloft Hotels, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, debuted its secret “Project: Jetson” experiment: the voice-activated hotel room. Each Aloft voice-activated hotel room is equipped with an iPad running a custom Aloft app used for controlling the in-room guest experience, with HomeKit-enabled accessories including room temperature, lighting options and more. These new rooms are available at Aloft Boston Seaport and at Aloft Santa Clara.
“Today’s early adopter, hyper-connected global traveler wants a level of personalization unlike ever before, and that means being able to control their hotel experience with the sound of their voice,” said Brian McGuinness, global brand leader, Aloft Hotels. “We’re thrilled to be the first hotel brand to bring voice-activation to our guests in this way, using Siri to control room temperature, lighting and more during their stay.”
Hotels are increasingly experimenting with technology that will capitalize on people’s desire to control everything via their smartphones and iPads, reports USA Today.
Already, Aloft has a TiGi (“text it, get it”) program that lets guests order roomservice by texting emojis. The Aloft Cupertino and Aloft Silicon Valley also have a robotic butler. And parent company Starwood has been experimenting with keyless entry, letting guests open their doors with their SmartPhones.
As far as the latest technology goes, when guests launch the app on the in-room iPad upon check-in, they will get a personalized welcome screen advising them on how to set up their room. Each iPad offers a tutorial on how to use the technology.
Eric Marlo, Aloft's global brand manager, has been spearheading this effort. “We’re always thinking about ways to integrate technology into the guest experience,” he told Fast Company. “This seemed like an obvious one. How many times have you come out of a hot shower at your hotel and felt super cold? Now you can adjust the AC just by saying, ‘Hey Siri.’”
For instance, if guests wake up feeling too hot at 2 a.m., they can say “Hey Siri, cool the room.” To change the lighting, they can ask Siri to set it to one of four moods: Re:set for standard lighting, Re:lax for the evening, Re:view to watch a movie, and Re:vive for the morning. They only have to ask Siri to turn on or turn off the lights or they can just say good morning, and Siri will most likely understand which setting to apply.
Guests will also be able to ask Siri to play any music playlists as long as they are signed into their iTunes accounts. The music will play through their personal devices.
And if guests want to figure out what to do while at their destination, Siri can act as a virtual concierge if asked something like “Hey Siri, what are some attractions near me?”
But if everything goes according to plan, Starwood hotels hopes to create an entirely futuristic experience. "Imagine unlocking the hotel door with your smartphone, then ringing the front desk to ask for towels, only to have a robot deliver them to your room, then asking Siri where you should go for dinner," Marlo told Fast Company.