Lonely Planet Writer

US hotel chain installs voice-activated devices that can control room features

Aloft Hotels has unveiled a voice-activated hotel room. Using iPads featuring Apple’s Siri, a voice-activated personal assistant, guests in Aloft’s high-tech rooms will be able to control temperature, lighting, play music and more using Aloft’s customised app.

New technology allows hotel guests to control room features with smartphones.
New technology allows hotel guests to control room features with smartphones. Image by closari / CC BY 2.0

So far only guests at Aloft Boston Seaport and Aloft Santa Clara in California will be able to stay in rooms that feature the technology, but the new programme is part of a wider initiative to bring new tech into old-fashioned hotel room stays.

Aloft also has a “Text it, Get it” (TiGi) program that allows guests to order room service via a texting service. Aloft hotels in Cupertino and Silicon Valley also have robotic butlers. And several hotel brands are doing away with key entries in favor of keyless devices that will unlock with your smartphone.

New technology allows hotel guests to control lighting and air-conditioning with a smartphone.
New technology allows hotel guests to control lighting and air-conditioning with a smartphone. Image by Kristin Nador / CC BY 2.0

The voice-activated technology will use Apple’s “Hey Siri” command to initiate a request. Guests can say “Hey Siri, cool the room” to lower the temperature, or they can ask Siri to change the lighting for specific moods: standard, evening, watching a movie or morning. Guests will also be able to play music through their iTunes account.

Siri also acts as a personal concierge, allowing guests to see nearby activities by saying “Hey Siri, what are some attractions near me?”

The hotel hopes the new service will attract tech-savvy guests. Sarah Downing, vice president of Global Guest Initiatives and Innovation at Aloft Hotels, says the programme will improve guest experience at Aloft hotels. “The new Aloft voice-activated hotel rooms are going to change the way that our guests interact, literally, with their room during their stay with us,” she says.