ATLANTA—Forbes Travel Guide, the global authority on luxury hospitality, has launched Star Coach, a mobile application for Android and iOS providing a behavioral simulator that helps hospitality staff enhance their interpersonal skills to improve the guest service and experience. Utilizing proprietary and proven voice analysis technology, the smartphone and tablet-based training tool analyzes interactions with virtual guests to determine the service provider’s emotional effectiveness, mindset, and confidence.
Star Coach is designed to ensure the role-playing is highly engaging. The app presents short videos in which a virtual guest expresses a complaint, compliment, or request. After viewing the video, the hospitality service provider responds to them by speaking into the phone or tablet. The technology analyzes the fractal patterns in the voice that reveal the user’s confidence, level of emotional involvement, effort to connect to the guest and overall stress. The training tool provides instantaneous feedback and guidance on best-practice behaviors. With this immediate feedback and through repetition, the service provider is able to improve their guest interaction and ultimately provide a better guest experience. The technology behind Star Coach is based on more than a decade of research.
“Just as Forbes Travel Guide created the five star rating system, now a global standard rating luxury properties in 29 countries, we are pioneering the next level of service training with Star Coach. There is nothing like it in the hospitality industry. It is not only effective, but also efficient, and can be easily scaled to the entire hospitality team,” said Gerard J. Inzerillo, chief executive officer, Forbes Travel Guide. “As a company, we strive to provide the resources and tools that foster exceptional service levels. Our development of Star Coach underscores this commitment to our community.”
Available for iPhone and Android smartphones and tablets, Star Coach features a starter kit of over 50 realistic scenarios that are tailored for front-line employees in a variety of departments, including front desk, food and beverage, and concierge.
Star Coach is available to all interested hospitality organizations, not just hotels that have achieved a Forbes Travel Guide Star Rating. The app complements Forbes Travel Guide’s comprehensive and unique in-person training, but can also serve as a stand-alone development tool. Forbes Travel Guide can also work with hotels to create customized videos, featuring their own situations and property-specific settings.
“I love this new approach to learning,” said Patrick Fernandes, operations director at Faena Hotel Miami Beach. “It is short, simple and quick—this works in the hospitality world where training time and resources can sometimes be difficult to find.”
The technology behind Star Coach is owned by Sharecare, a leading digital health and wellness company, and has proven to be an effective training tool for more than five years in fields such as pharmaceutical sales and helping people understand their actual stress and mindset. The voice analysis algorithm detects the user’s “emotional fingerprint” with proven accuracy and validated the ability to improve real-world connections.
In the same way that brain wave patterns are correlated with specific emotional states, patterns in the voice also reveal the emotions behind our words. These patterns are very stable across cultures, languages, and age groups. Case studies have shown that short practice sessions—10 to 15 minutes just three times a week—are effective at changing behavior. Forbes Travel Guide is applying these key learnings to Star Coach with over 50 years of leadership in luxury hospitality, to help the global hospitality industry deliver the best possible guest experience.