Hotels Employ Tech to Enhance Guest Experience

INTERNATIONAL REPORT—Room Mate Hotels and The Westin Buffalo are employing technology to launch services designed with the guest experience in mind. Here’s a look at what’s new:

Interpreting Services for Deaf or Hearing-Impaired Guests

Room Mate Hotels in partnership with Comunicados en Lengua de Signos created a system to offer interpreting services to any deaf or hearing-impaired guest for their reservation and the duration of their stay. The collaboration will provide fluid and efficient communication through a real-time sign language video-interpreting service.

The service will be delivered using a tablet at reception in the hotels, with a video-call program linking the guest and the interpreting service in Spanish and international sign language, allowing deaf and hearing-impaired guests to make requests in real time with direct and personalized service.

“Room Mate could not fail to become involved in this issue. We believe that it’s essential to think like a guest and taking care of them is our job,” said Kike Sarasola, Room Mate Hotels founder and chairman. “That’s why we’re implementing this simultaneous interpreting system for better integration and more personalized service for guests that stay with us from all over the world. Here at Room Mate we remain committed to Accessible Tourism.”

Westin Buffalo to Integrate iHeartRadio Into Guestrooms

Volara, a provider of custom voice-based solutions in the hospitality industry, and audio company iHeartMedia revealed that Volara-equipped hotels now offer guests voice-controlled access to iHeartRadio, the free all-in-one digital music, podcasting and live streaming radio service.

Using Volara’s voice-based technology, which turns the Amazon Echo into a hotel hospitality tool, iHeartMedia will now offer hotels the opportunity to create original iHeartRadio audio content, including podcasts, playlists, local personality endorsements and more—all voice-controlled and customizable for each hotel’s individual brand.

The first hotel to implement Volara’s voice-controlled iHeartRadio integration is The Westin Buffalo in Buffalo, NY, where guests can now say, “Alexa, Ask Westin to play the radio,” and Volara will immediately launch Westin Radio by iHeartRadio, a live station with a mix of songs that align with the hotel’s brand.

In addition, guests of Volara-enabled hotels can use their room’s Amazon Echo devices to request services, get recommendations, and generally engage with hotel staff and services without the hassle of picking up a telephone.