The Rise of Voice Search and What It Means for Hotels

We’re all used to searching for something, or someone, on Google using the written word. But more often these days, people are using the spoken word to communicate their queries to search engines via voice search.

In fact, about 20% of mobile queries are voice searches. Mobile queries represent over half of all Google queries, so voice searches still make up a relatively small segment of total queries.

Nevertheless, voice searches are well-positioned to increase in popularity with devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home becoming more and more popular. It’s really a matter of consumers getting used to the idea.

Just think, there was a time where it would have been crazy to think that we would be writing each other messages using our phones. Considering that, it doesn’t seem so crazy to ask people to talk to robots who fetch information by speaking to them through their phones.

The Challenge of Voice Search

The big challenge with voice search is trying to decipher the intent behind someone’s search query, or just trying to understand the individual in general. People with accents might have trouble with using voice search, as would little kids who can’t pronounce words exactly right.

Accuracy plays a big role in determining if someone is willing to use voice search. In fact, the difference between being 95% accurate and 99% accurate could make or break the adoption of the technology.

Who’s Using Voice Search

Voice search is more likely to be used by Millennials, as they have become accustomed to adopting new technologies rather quickly. Older generations use voice search too, but at a much lower late. This suggests the adoption of voice search will increase over time as the newer generations grow up with this new technology.

Interestingly, most people are only using voice for informational queries. Things like checking the time or asking for directions. They also use it to give commands to their phones, things like “call Jack” or “play [insert favorite song title].”

Hotels and Voice Search

Voice search might not be at the point where hotels can see huge benefits yet, but the time will come. We think the growth will likely start with people searching for a same-day booking. Imagine being in the middle of New York and needing a hotel for the night. You ask, “Find an inexpensive hotel near me.”

Jumping back to the technology aspect, there’s a lot that goes into trying to decipher the question posed above. Where is “near me”? What’s considered “inexpensive”? What’s considered a “hotel”? Do you include inns, resorts, and even hostels, if applicable?

At this point you might be asking, “What can I do to ensure my hotel’s website’s SEO is prepared for voice search?” People ultimately search for things differently with voice than they do with text.

So, you should start thinking about your on-site elements in a more conversational manner. Because people tend to search for the answer in a conversational manner, you should present the answer in a similar manner. Make sure your “voice” is one that sounds like people talk, and that it’s one they want to hear.

This conversational approach aligns well with our usual recommendations for hotel website copy. It really is the best approach if you’re interested in guests finding you when they do an Internet search (your SEO improves when you sound more human).

It also helps potential guests feel more comfortable with you when they’re on your site (you come off as approachable), which, ultimately, inspires them to book a room at your hotel.

So, what do you say? Are you ready for voice search?



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