Hilton Inn at Penn Named Winner of Intelity’s ‘ICEvoice Challenge’


Property to receive Intelity’s voice concierge solution enabling them to make voice requests via Amazon Alexa devices in guest rooms

Why are hoteliers eager to add voice-command technology to guestrooms? Just ask the Hilton Inn at Penn, winner of Intelity’s ICEvoice Challenge. Earlier this month, Intelity asked its customers to state how they envision using the company’s newest solution that enables guests to use voice commands for requesting services and controlling the in-room environment. The reply from the Hilton Inn at Penn was short, sweet and on point: “We currently use Intelity with our guestroom iPads and are looking to grow from that success.” And grow they will. Within the next six weeks, the AAA four-diamond hotel, located on the University of Pennsylvania campus, will receive ICEvoice FREE, forever.

As the ICEvoice Challenge winner, the Hilton Inn at Penn will receive:

  • Amazon Echo voice activated speakers for every guestroom, including integration to Intelity’s trademarked, award-winning ICE HUB: Control Panel, at no charge.
  • Development and implementation of unique phrases and commands the hotel desires.
  • User training, integration coordination, installation, and configuration.
  • 24/7/365 technical support from Intelity’s team of experts to ensure services work as planned.

“We are thrilled to be the Intelity ICEvoice Challenge winner,” said Hilton Inn at Penn Director of Operations Wesley Clark. “We were always proud to be featuring Intelity iPads in every room; it’s something not many hotels can boast about and we see it as an elevated service differentiator. It’s so cool that now we will be adding a voice concierge to our rooms. It’s going to bring that ‘wow’ factor to service delivery. ICEvoice won’t replace the bedside tablets by any means; it will simply do things faster. Being able to speak a request vs. place one through the iPad will save our guests time and it will add personalization. We’d like to thank Intelity for making this opportunity possible. It shows us that Intelity really values our partnership – and we share that sentiment. We can’t wait to be live with ICEvoice.”

Other ICEvoice Challenge submissions from customers said they would use Intelity’s voice solution to greet the guest by name when a guest enters the room and provide them with the hotel’s Wi-Fi password, introduce itself to guests as their virtual butler when they first enter the room and detail the intricacies of the property, order the hotel’s car service for a specific time, and, speak to international guests in their preferred language.

Webinar Answers ‘Voice’ Questions

In addition to announcing the contest winner during its “Say Hello to ICEvoice” webinar yesterday, Intelity Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Gregg Hopkins showed participants why migrating to voice technology is so important to hotels today. According to statistics released by the Smart Audio Report:

  • 3 million U.S. adults have access to a smart speaker; 19.7% of U.S. adults use smart speakers of which 57.8% are male and 42.2% are female
  • Amazon is leading the smart speaker market with 71.9% penetration, followed by Google at 18.4% and others at 9.7%
  • Two-thirds of U.S. voice-activated speaker owners said they are using them to entertain friends and family, with 60 percent using the devices to play music for guests, 30 percent asking it to answer a general question, and 28 percent asking it for weather updates.
  • 31 percent of smart speaker owners are asking their virtual assistants to control other devices in the home, with 61 percent controlling devices in the living room and 38 percent controlling devices in the kitchen.

“One in six adults in the United States own voice-activated smart speakers,” Hopkins told webinar participants. “The adoption rate of such speakers over the last three years is now outpacing that of smartphones and tablets. People are replacing time spent with other devices to use smart speakers. Just over a third of Americans are ditching their smartphones to spend time with the speakers, while 30 percent are using the devices instead of watching television.”

What does this mean for hotels?

Intelity Chief Technology Officer Chris Grey explained that voice technology is becoming widely popular because of its speed and convenience; voice search is much faster than web or mobile search, citing that humans speak 150 words per minute vs. typing 40 words in the same amount of time. Voice-enabled devices are responsible for 1 billion searches performed every month on devices like Amazon Echo, according to Smart Audio Report.

“Adding a voice concierge solution isn’t as easy as just buying an Echo for every guestroom, plugging them in and hoping they work,” Grey said. “It takes a lot of integration to funnel voice requests into the operating system to become a text ticket, then sends it to Intelity’s request manager so the right staff member fulfills the request and delivers it to the guest in a timely manner. This level of service is one of the most exciting things to come along in the last 5 or 10 years, but it doesn’t happen by magic.

“It took Intelity 10 years to build a robust platform that makes voice requests possible,” he said. “If a guest realizes while unpacking her suitcase that she forgot a toothbrush, she doesn’t have to stop what she is doing to call the front desk to have a toothbrush brought to the room – or leave the room and walk down to the gift shop to purchase a new one. The guest simply says ‘Alexa, ask the hotel to bring me a toothbrush.’ Within minutes, the toiletry arrives. In this case, voice technology is not just informational, it’s interactive with the guest, making their experience more personalized than ever. Soon, integration between ICEvoice and our ICEbedside tablets will enable guests to say ‘Alexa, ask the hotel restaurant what’s on the menu.’ And, Alexa can reply ‘See the iPad in the room for a complete menu listing.’ It’s simple, as long as a hotel has the Intelity Interactive Customer Experience – or ICE – platform.”