Last updated: 03:58 PM ET, Fri June 12 2015

How ALICE is Breaking Down the Hotel Language Barrier

Hotel & Resort | Ryan Rudnansky | June 11, 2015

How ALICE is Breaking Down the Hotel Language Barrier

Photo courtesy of ALICE

ALICE, a mobile service-on-demand platform for hospitality, announced on Thursday that it now provides language translation for all guest requests.

The platform, which was highlighted by TravelPulse in February, has already made waves by allowing guests to send requests to hotel staff before, during and after their stay, while also helping staff on the back end by providing a single management system.

Now, ALICE becomes the hotel industry’s first app with real-time translation, built into every interaction between guests and staff.

“No matter where you come from or what language you speak, ALICE now enables guests and staff from different parts of the world to interact in real-time via our mobile technology” said Alex Shashou, co-founder and president of ALICE, via a release. “This important functionality allows hotels to forge stronger connections with guests by allowing them to communicate in their language of choice. It also provides better service since nothing gets ‘lost in translation.’”

ALICE’s translation system also appears to be rather advanced. It doesn't just focus on translating individual words and phrases and stringing them together, which can lead to some inaccurate or grammatically incorrect translations. In contrast, Alice’s translation system appears to work almost like A.I. in that it actually learns and will get stronger at translating as it is used more.

“Since we are focused on delivering a real-time, service-on-demand infrastructure, our language solution could not just support the static content (individual words and phrases) like most solutions,” ALICE CTO Dmitry Koltunov said. “We needed to translate the details of each request that’s placed, the special notes that guests provide, and the chat messaging that happens between guests and staff, all in real-time. This very ambitious project has taken the team nearly a year to complete. Our mission is to use technology to improve the way that services are delivered. Reducing the language barrier is a huge step towards achieving that.”

The new service, offered in 30 languages, is available across the entire ALICE platform, from the guest’s screen to the back end for the staff. That means a guest can, for example, send a message in German to an Italian hotelier, the hotelier can see it in Italian, and then the hotelier can respond back in Italian where the guest receives it in German. Just like from the very beginning of ALICE’s formation, it's about efficiency and clarity so guest requests are handled easily and promptly and staff can form a stronger bond with the customer.

“This is not just a guest enabler,” Shashou said. “Our multi-cultural hotel’s staff can use this among themselves just as practically, writing internal comments in any language and the translation becoming available in real-time. This is all done behind the scenes. The only thing that each staff member needs to do is set their language of choice. ALICE brings multiple departments into a single system, and with integrated translation, the interactions of the back-of-house allow for improved traceability, accountability and transparency.”

After all, according to the ALICE official release, “The hospitality world is an international one, and the communication barriers can be detrimental to the quality of hotel guests’ stay.”

With the latest translation update, ALICE looks to remove that barrier.

ALICE currently works with properties on three continents representing several brands. Brands include Shangri-La’s Hotel Jen; Bespoke Hotels; Standard Hotels; Gansevoort Hotel Group; The Setai Miami Beach; and Sixty Hotels.



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