Easing the family hardships of a child’s illness is the core mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Greater Washington, D.C. (RMHCDC). An important part of that mission is providing comfort and support—a home away from home—for families that need to travel for their child’s medical care. RMHCDC wants families to focus on their child, not on the burdens of being away from home.
To help enhance the guest experience, RMHCDC worked with Alexa for Hospitality and Volara, a company that provides custom voice-based solutions for the hospitality industry, to add Amazon Echo devices to their newly renovated suites. Families of hospitalized children can access information and services using just their voice and interact with Alexa as they would at home.
That means families can get immediate answers about on-premises offerings by asking questions like, “Alexa, what’s for dinner tonight?” or “Alexa, what are today’s activities?” Families can also ask Alexa about local services, such as ordering a ride to the hospital or learning about an on-premises yoga class to help relieve stress.
And just like at home, Alexa provides families with access to entertainment, music, and weather forecasts, and to local information, such as directions to restaurants, pharmacies, and points of interest.
“We want to make stays for families easier and more convenient, and adding Amazon Echo devices in each of our guest suites will go a long way toward making that happen,” said Sarah Quillen, vice president of development and marketing at RMHCDC.
Alexa for Hospitality is specifically designed for the needs of hospitality providers who want to offer convenient, engaging experiences for guests to make their stay more enjoyable. With Alexa for Hospitality, guests can use Alexa to stay organized and informed.
The technology is especially helpful amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced restrictions on outside visitors and volunteers at RMHCDC. The organization relies on volunteers to assist families, but volunteer numbers decreased last year from 3,000 to 215 because of the restrictions.
Organizing and prioritizing maintenance requests through Alexa helps RMHCDC meet families’ needs and eliminates time-consuming steps for staff and volunteers. Alexa also helps increase efficiency by providing information or even helping to order transportation without the need for guests to track down a volunteer or the house manager.
“Alexa is helping us improve our efficiency,” Quillen said. “If we can get a family out the door faster and on the way to the hospital so they can be at their child’s bedside in under 10 minutes, it’s a huge win.”
Families have a lot on their minds while staying at RMHCDC, which also offers programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. Amidst worrying about their child’s treatment plan, families don’t have time to search for a dinner flyer or to seek out transportation instructions. Amazon is proud to support RMHCDC’s efforts to ease those struggles.
“We collaborated with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, D.C., and Volara to ease the hardship of children’s illness on families,” said Liron Torres, director and general manager of Alexa Smart Properties. “Leveraging Alexa voice AI to make lives just a little simpler, patients and their families can settle in to their home away from home, knowing they will be taken care of.”
Alexa for Hospitality is powered by a set of AI technologies that hospitality properties can use to deploy and manage Alexa experiences at scale. To learn more, visit Alexa for Hospitality.