The Impact of Voice Technology on the Hotel Industry
By Rick Garlick Vice President, Strategy Consultant, Magid | May 05, 2019
In our rapidly changing world, voice technology is quickly becoming the next big thing in travel, hospitality and leisure. Now is the time for brands to embrace building a strategy for voice – much like the early days of search technology, when companies were battling it out for top Google ranking.
Given the interest consumers have in using smart speakers and voice search, brands today should be eagerly looking to incorporate voice technology into their offerings both within the property and in how they engage broadly, including optimizing content and working to rank higher on voice cues and skills.
Consumers are increasingly using voice assistants like Siri, Alexa or Google Home for more than simply music streaming or accessing the news and weather – these are no longer differentiators like they were when Apple introduced Siri in 2014. Consumer expectations are rising and their habits are evolving, with recent Magid research showing that 47% of consumers with access to voice assistants use voice to shop.
They're also using voice assistants to search for and discover new things. According to research commissioned by CTAM, half of all U.S. voice assistant users report having used these devices to learn about entertainment content. These behaviors bring to light the opportunity for travel and hospitality brands, as consumers could similarly use voice search to discover new travel destinations, book travel or arrange experiences.
Additionally, as consumers become more accustomed to having smart speakers and voice assistants in their home, it's only a matter of time before all hotel guests expect to be able to simply speak a directive to order room service, call for maintenance, get advice on local restaurants and shows, or provide feedback upon checkout. The expectation for a travel experience to mimic at-home smart capabilities is coming fast, especially for early adopters of connected home and voice technology.
One brand that appears to be on the forefront of deploying voice technology in hospitality – it should come as no surprise ¬– is Amazon. Amazon introduced Alexa for Hospitality last year and has partnered with Marriott to launch it in several of its properties. It's also working with several vacation rental properties and boutique lifestyle hotels to test the platform.