Voice search is now a key marketing tool for hotels
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Forty percent of adults in the U.S. use voice search every day. In 2016, this was 20 percent, which was itself a 40 percent increase from the year before.
Speech recognition technology has evolved and is more precise now, with a mere 8 percent error rate. Furthermore, millions of people own an Alexa or Google Home device. People continue to use Siri for something they need instead of typing in a search.
For hotels that see millions of searches for accommodation every day, this is a paradigm shift.
They need to move from existing digital marketing techniques and start applying voice SEO to their efforts. Their marketing budget will be a waste if their target audience can no longer find them by voice search.
The hospitality industry is working on adopting voice technology at various levels. But the pace needs to be faster if they want to keep up with evolving consumer behaviors. Their SEO strategy needs an immediate overhaul.
For example, Microsoft claims a 343 percent on-year increase in hotel searches and 277 percent in flight searches via Cortana in the U.K. These figures will rise even more as more people start using voice search to search and book hotels.
eMarketer says that more than 45 million voice assistants are used in the U.S today. In one year, this number will rise to 67 million. One year after that, in 2020, half of all searches will be voice searches, according to ComScore
It’s still early days, but these developments have resulted in some effective partnerships.
Amazon Alexa and Kayak have joined forces to offer voice-search-powered hotel bookings. Features are still limited, but one can expect improvements and innovations soon.
Other major players like Google, Apple and Microsoft have also enabled voice search for hotels. Soon, users will be able complete bookings via voice activation.
Voice search optimization (VSO) combines traditional SEO tactics with patterns inherent to voice search.
A robust content strategy that incorporates VSO will enhance brand visibility and position their properties ahead of the competition. For hotels, VSO involves a combination of technical and local search.
Effective marketing strategies will change search functions to a more conversational style of content on the website. After all, we don’t talk the same way we write.
It is imperative that hotel marketers review their search engine optimization strategies now. For example, they need to bring long-tail keywords into the mix. In the process, the user booking experience will become easier and much faster.
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