As the demand for contactless technology across all sectors of travel has accelerated due to COVID-19, Google is now making its contactless communication
services using Google Assistant and Nest Hub smart devices available to all
hotels in the United States, with a broader roll-out later this year.
The solution has been a pilot since 2018 but Google says it
expedited the global launch because of the pandemic.
Offered in partnership with integrators including Volara and
Sonifi to connect to hotel PMS systems, the Nest Hub functions are tailored to the hotel’s
needs and services.
Using simple voice commands, guests can ask Google Assistant
things such as what time the pool closes or to request more towels. Guests can
also use it as a media hub, accessing YouTube for news, music and videos or
connecting their phone via Bluetooth.
Hotels can also configure the system to handle guest
check-out, push out a guest survey, share promotions and handle in-room devices
such as blinds and lights. And guests can use Google Assistant to access information
about the area, such as about the weather and nearby restaurants and shops.
To maintain privacy, guests do not need to sign-in and none
of the activity is linked to their personal account. The Nest Hub also does not
have a camera and the microphone can be turned off.
In February 2019, Google introduced a real-time translation feature
integrated with the Nest Hub and other devices. Known as “interpreter mode,”
the feature translates 29 languages in real-time so hotel staff can communicate
more easily with guests.
Along with developing Google Assistant solutions for use in
hotels, Google has been rolling out travel-related features for consumers to
access from their personal smart devices.
Since early 2019, travelers have been
able to use Google Assistant to check-in for flights, retrieve boarding passes,
track flight status, search for fares and to book hotel rooms.
In December, Google and Booking.com signed a one-year partnership to develop solutions using the Google Nest to build a "more connected and seamless" experience for travelers and property hosts.
Amazon launched its hotel voice solution, Alexa for Hospitality,
in June 2018.