“At the tip of your fingertips.” This line may well be the cliché of the digital age when many things are accessed with just the click of a button or a few taps on a screen. However, voice recognition technology is fast eliminating these traditional control tasks, and introducing completely hands-free activities.
Smartphones, smart TVs, and other similar devices can now understand simple voice commands and perform tasks in response. For the past few years, non-human virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri, Samsung’s Bixby, and Amazon’s Alexa have been turning devices on and off, setting alarms, searching Google, and playing music, among many other tasks.
In the travel and hospitality sector, businesses are slowly adopting voice recognition technology to enhance the overall customer experience. The convenience of hands-free controls is perfectly in line with the goal of providing leisure, thus making voice technology a priority for hotels, airports, and travel apps.
According to a report by Angie Hospitality, voice technology is being adopted faster than almost every new technology in history. In 2018, more than 1 in 2 US adults used a voice assistant compared to just 2 in 5 the previous year. Asia, however, takes the cake for being the most engaged region in terms of voice technology. Adults in India, China, and Indonesia are leading the growth of voice technology worldwide.
So how does voice recognition work in the travel and hospitality sector? And will it fully take over the world of marketing? Let’s take a look at how businesses are leveraging the technology.
A recent survey by Gartner revealed that two in three marketers think they compete in terms of customer experience and that more than four in five expect to keep competing on the basis of CX for the next two years. Regardless of a travel brand’s rating, hospitality could well be the sector that places the highest value on customer experience.
In the realm of voice technology, hotels are now offering smart rooms powered through artificial intelligence. For instance, Amazon’s Alexa for Hospitality provides guests with a 24/7 hub that they can access anytime. According to Amazon, Alexa for Hospitality can be used to:
- Play music by station, genre, and artist;
- Use voice to control in-room devices such as lights, TVs, and air-conditioning and heating;
- Find local businesses or service; and
- Listen to Audible audiobooks.
Guests can also ask Alexa to order room service, send up more bathroom implements, and call the front desk. Outside of the room experience, however, hotels can also leverage voice technology to streamline booking processes, provide tourist information, and seek reviews from their customers.
Providers of voice-based technology are also looking into solutions beyond in-room devices and into the day-to-day operations of hotels. This means that the benefits of voice technology can be enjoyed by hotel staff and management as voice solutions become integrated into safety, IPTV, human resource, and valet systems, among others.
Managers can help their teams explore how devices such as Alexa and Dot can be used to manage daily tasks, such as notifying a system about rooms available for check-in or confirming a pick-up request. Many US hotels like Marriott and Motif Seattle have already welcomed these devices onboard, making them a crucial part of their hospitality team.
Volara is another voice-based software that offers hoteliers with a full-service platform, enabling them and their staff to interact on a single platform, customize voice responses in real-time, monitor every interaction, and learn from data-driven insights from their property and others like them.
At the end of the day, hospitality brands roll out new technologies to market themselves and offer differentiation from the rest. This is true for voice recognition technology, which has become an appealing and novel addition to the services that hotels and travel companies offer.
So far, only hotels that have enough capital for voice recognition technology were able to redo their marketing strategies. However, digital marketers encourage other businesses to incorporate voice recognition technology in their products and services, even if it’s just as an element within their overarching strategy.
For instance, email, one of the most powerful marketing tools to date, can be enhanced with artificial intelligence and voice recognition elements. There is a study that shares various opportunities for voice technology in email marketing, such as how brands can use voice technology to trigger an email and personalize its content based on a voice request.
Voice recognition technology has paved the way for the travel and hospitality sector to enhance customer experience, streamline hotel processes, and improve staff and management interactions.
Without a doubt, voice recognition technology is a significant digital innovation and perhaps the most significant in recent years. And yet, it remains to be seen whether voice recognition technology can stand alone, as digital marketers agree that it still needs improvements before full integration into digital marketing strategies.
Nonetheless, voice-based solutions continue to undergo innovation and become of greater value-add to businesses and marketers as they evolve.