iHeart Radio is making a play for travelers right where they sleep. The broadcaster has joined forces with Volara to create a customized radio station/concierge feature within a guest’s hotel room.
The new system has found its first home in the Westin Buffalo in Buffalo, N.Y., where the hotel will use the system to create Westin Radio by iHeartRadio, a live station with a mix of songs and the functionality to be able to connect with the front desk, similar to a concierge service. Volara is a developer of voice-control technology services for use with the Amazon Echo smart speaker in the hospitality industry.
“It's our goal to provide a seamless, easy-to-use experience” when it comes to connecting to iHeartRadio, said Michele Laven, president of strategic partnerships group for iHeartMedia. The collaboration with Westin and Volara gives listeners a new means of having a customized iHeartRadio experience, she said.
Via Volara and the Amazon Echo, the hotel will be able to create original iHeartRadio audio content — including podcasts, playlists and local personality endorsements — that are voice-controlled and customizable for the hotel’s individual brand.
When a guest says, “Alexa, ask Westin to play the radio,” Volara launches a live station selected by the hotel. Guests can also use their room's Amazon Echo devices to request services, get recommendations, and generally engage with hotel staff and services without heading to the front desk or picking up a telephone.
“We believe this new joint solution is going to transform hotel guest experiences and become the next must-have feature in every hotel room,” said David Berger, CEO of Volara.
iHeartRadio has long focused on making its programming available across device platforms including on wearables and across gaming consoles.