Over the past year, PolyAI and Fourteen IP have been building a new hotel concierge voicebot, Evolution Virtual Agent or ‘EVA’, and deployed it across properties at Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and Choice Hotels.
Fourteen IP is a global systems integrator focused primarily on the hospitality industry with technology in over 300,000 hotel rooms across the globe.
During our latest webinar, PolyAI’s Head of Partnerships, Michael Chen, was joined by Fourteen IP’s Head of AI, Stuart Barr, to share the journey from the early explorations of how PolyAI voice assistants can drastically improve the hotel guest experience and the subsequent roll-out into thousands of international hotels.
Read on to learn more about Fourteen IP’s story that they shared during the webinar and how they came to partner with PolyAI.
EVA 1.0: Virtual concierge
As the hospitality industry re-opened its doors after the pandemic, they experienced ongoing issues with hiring, training and retaining staff and were feeling the immense pressure of increasing call volume. As a result, customers faced significant time on hold, and the overall customer experience began to suffer.
Fourteen IP’s Evolution Virtual Agent, or ‘EVA’, is a hotel concierge voicebot designed to answer customer calls. The initial iteration of EVA was built on Google Dialogflow and deployed in several pilot sites across North America.
Robotic experiences and high call volume
The first iteration of Eva was an improvement on previous automated experiences, such as IVR and auto attendant systems that callers have become accustomed to. However, callers were met with a robotic voice that wasn’t delivering the expected experience, and a high call volume remained.
EVA 1.0 (Dialogflow) vs EVA 2.0 (PolyAI)
Fourteen IP partnered with PolyAI to develop the second iteration of EVA and deploy voice assistants capable of a more natural conversation. Customers were now presented with a voice assistant that delivered a more ‘polished’ experience and was capable of understanding callers better, containing more calls and reducing the number of calls that needed to be handled by front desk staff or operator teams. Freeing up staff to focus on other important aspects of the guest experience.
“It’s a much better caller experience; the voice we’re using is a recording artist, rather than text-to-speech services, so it’s a much more polished experience which has brought significant benefits”
Stuart Barr, Head of AI, Fourteen IP
EVA 2.0: A whole new world
EVA 2.0 is capable of answering hundreds of FAQs, continuously monitoring guest satisfaction, and using smart routing to ensure calls are directed to the correct staff or department. With loyalty status recognition, EVA 2.0 tailors the experience for each guest with the ability to implement custom greetings and prioritisation processes based on loyalty status, creating a vast improvement from the extensive hold times experienced before.
Structured data gathered during each call has allowed Fourteen IP to see how guests interact with EVA, including areas where the voice assistant’s understanding can improve, what level of call containment is being achieved, and how satisfied guests are with the phone experience.
The caller experience is getting even better over time
The introduction of a more natural conversational experience has created a more virtuous cycle between trust and greater caller engagement, which is reflected in the performance data gathered.
EVA will be rolled out to managed and franchised properties from budget through to 5 star hotels across the EU, UK and North America.