When we started our business 6 months ago, we wanted to be the best possible voice concierge for hotels and vacation rentals. We did it because a) we thought it was a really cool idea, b) we thought the hospitality industry was ready to modernize the way it interacts with guests, and c), we firmly believe that the best way to get information and feedback from visitors and guests is to have a conversation with them.
What started out as a really smart guestbook quickly evolved into a product which has proven to be very very useful to both hotel clients and vacation rental owners, and is bringing hospitality one step closer to full automation.
What we’ve seen with Hotels.
There’s no getting around the fact that Hotel margins are quite narrow — especially in an economy where more and more industries are competing on price. Because hotels need to be staffed whether they are at capacity or not, there is a certain amount of expense which is almost impossible to avoid. Competing on price in a system where you can’t do much to reduce operating costs is a great way to get income and expenses to be an almost equal number!
Automation and AI have the ability to bring some of these costs down quite a bit. Support, concierge services, and to an extent, checking in can all be done by computers. Because this is hospitality, after all, designing a product which is friendly and conversational is the best way to bring this technology into Hotels.
Home Service has augmented existing resources at our pilot hotels, and has reduced workloads by two hours per week per room — in a typical hotel with over 100 rooms, this is almost 200 hours of work which the platform has saved! Even in slower periods, Home Service has shown that it can work alongside just one or two people to effectively take care of the majority of questions and requests guests might have. Once we roll out automated checking in, these numbers are expected to be much much higher!
What we’ve seen with Vacation Rentals.
Home Service was initially a product aimed at vacation rentals, and our most dedicated users are all a part of this group. Now that we’ve introduced the ability for guests and hosts to communicate through home service, check out, leave all sorts of feedback, and get all of their questions answered, hosts have been overwhelmingly pleased with the results. Being able to leave most of the day-to-day administrative work to Home Service has allowed them quite a bit more time, and the insights needed to really offer the best experience possible.
Even if the numbers aren’t as high as they are in hotels — mostly due to the vast difference in the number of units — any time saved counts, especially considering that most hosts already have full-time jobs. On top of that, the frequent and detail-oriented feedback which guests are leaving is proving to be extremely insightful and actionable. Home Service has already helped hosts find numerous instances of heating problems, leaky pipes, mold, and other things which are much more costly to repair when they get out of hand.
Home Service is constantly evolving, learning new questions, and providing an even better experience for our users. We hope to be rolling out our conversational check in and check out functionality to hotels and vacation rentals soon!