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Amazon Echo Dot used for concierge in rooms of UK hotel chain

British chain Village Hotels has made a major technological play, revealing a plan to install the Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker and its virtual assistant Alexa across rooms.
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Over in Beverly Hills, an apartment building introduced a robot butler to support residents last year. In 2017, the UK will also receive technology-based concierge as Village Hotels instals Amazon Echo Dot speakers into its rooms.

With 28 hotels across the country, Village will leverage the Alexa virtual assistant on the Amazon Echo Dot to offer more convenience to those staying at its venues.

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The rollout of the Amazon Echo Dot will be supported by creative agency Equator, as Village Hotels boasts a quest to “be the most innovative hotel brand in the UK”. As such, the Amazon Echo Dot push is the first of its kind in Britain, the firm claims.

“We absolutely love working with Village Hotels – it’s definitely one of the most forward-thinking brands in the industry,” said Martin Jordan, director of innovation at Equator.

“The team is always excited to hear what ideas we have in the pipeline for them and aren’t afraid of taking risks which has rewarded the business greatly.

“Equipping its hotels with Alexa is a huge innovation for Village and the UK hotel industry in its entirety, but we have a whole lot more up our sleeve for the future.”

The flagship Glasgow and Warrington branches are the existing sites featuring the Amazon Echo Dot for starters, with Alexa customised to complete tasks and answer questions in relation to guests’ stays.

The “Ask Village” feature will take customer experience up a notch as visitors will be able to find out details on opening times of amenities including the restaurant, pool, gym and spa, as well as local activities and things to do, wake-up calls and more.

Although the Amazon Echo Dot is in two hotels at present, the device and virtual assistant will be introduced to all venues by the end of the year.

Having launched 22 years ago, Village has worked with Equator for ten years. The agency’s other new project for the hotel is a 70-inch lobby-based “totem screen” that aggregates venue updates in real-time, inclusive of weather, gym classes and so on.

Rob Paterson, commercial director at Village Hotels, said: “As technology continues to evolve, customers expect a consistently seamless service. That’s why we have chosen to invest significantly in giving guests a truly multi-channel experience where they have access to all the services and information they require, right at their fingertips.

“We’ve worked closely with Equator to create that experience, first with our intuitive website that makes booking a simple and speedy process for customers, and now with the roll out of the Amazon Echo Dot and interactive screens.

“The response to these exciting additions has been overwhelmingly positive – we’re looking forward to implementing the devices within all Village hotels and opening our most hi-tech site yet in Portsmouth later this year.”

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Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the deputy editor of Real Business, specialising in media, innovation, technology and the digital sector. A media professional with eight years worth of experience he has worked for both startup and established publications.

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