HiJiffy, the award-winning Guest Communications Hub powered by conversational AI, launched the first voice assistant specialised in hospitality.
Unlocking a new era in guest communications, HiJiffy’s multilingual virtual assistant is capable of handling complex voice communication with guests in complete sentences, offering instant voice responses closely replicating a human-like interaction.
Already available on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, the technology will soon work across many more channels, from the hotel’s website chat widget to other key social media and messaging apps.
Including multiple personalisation options for the voice – including gender, accent, tone, or cadence – the solution allows hoteliers to customise it accordingly to their brand guidelines.
“The voice assistant assures a seamless customer experience as guests can ask all types of questions related to the stay during their full guest journey, from pre-stay to in-stay and post-stay,” states HiJiffy’s CTO, José Mendonça.
Including powerful data mining capacity – extracting and collating the most useful elements from the rich data from conversations – this new feature can assist hoteliers with customer profiling and lead generation, providing intelligence to support future decision-making.
The solution, which is currently in Beta testing in a restricted number of hotels, will soon be made available for all clients upon request. HiJiffy already provides AI-powered communication solutions to 1.600 hotels worldwide, working with brands like Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, City Suites or Finn Lough in the UK.
A “humanised” voice assistant
The voice assistant uses the most advanced Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to process conversations and interpret customer intent.
It also uses Neural Text-to-Speech (TTS) to reproduce human-like natural prosody and clear articulation of words, reducing listening fatigue when guests interact with the AI system, thus making the interactions more natural and engaging.
To optimise the efficiency of this communications solution, when developing the solution at Aplysia’s Lab, HiJiffy’s Data Science team specifically focused on assuring the best performance of the voicebot in terms of latency (processing time) and word error rate (detection errors).
A cutting-edge conversational solution
When interacting with this pioneering conversational solution, guests can describe their concerns or queries in detail. The virtual assistant will, in turn, offer voice responses closely replicating a human-like interaction.
“The technology behind HiJiffy’s voicebot is more advanced than traditional speech recognition technology in standard Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, typically limited to processing simple ‘yes’ and ‘no’ commands,” states HiJiffy’s CTO.
“Contrarily to standard IVR systems that depend on manual inputs from the guest (e.g., press number X to select option Y…), our AI-powered voice assistant facilitates a free-flowing experience since it is not bound by a pre-set menu script. This makes this new-gen communication system better equipped for steering a guest in the right direction within a completely self-service and personalised model,” underlines José Mendonça.
7 billion voice messages are sent each day on WhatsApp only
According to the official numbers that WhatsApp disclosed early this year, 7 billion voice messages are sent each day on their app.
In this regard, HiJiffy’s CTO affirms: “Considering that WhatsApp is the most used messaging app in Europe, with 30+ million local users in countries like the UK, Germany, Italy or Spain, the relevance of voice messaging for European hoteliers is undeniable.”
Besides WhatsApp and other messaging apps like Telegram or WeChat, all the major social media, like Instagram or Facebook, feature voice messaging.
Being a rising trend among smartphone users, voice messaging is far from being a reality just among young people.
In fact, according to the most recent survey on the subject, in this case, led by Statista in Brazil, more than four out of five of the whole Internet users sent voice messages in 2022, proving it to be a cross-generational practice. Similar results are expected in some European countries, namely Spain.
“It is easy to understand that if hoteliers discard the power of voice, especially with regards to the younger generations, they will miss important revenue generation opportunities, apart from not providing the best customer experience,” anticipates Mendonça, also adding that “Hoteliers need to consider expectations of both their domestic and international guests when evaluating the relevance of implementing voice messaging to their business.”