“Okay, Google – find me a hotel in London for next week.”
“Alexa, where can I go in September for less than £300?”
“Hey Siri, show me some hotels in Paris that are great for couples.”
Just ten years ago it may have seemed like something from a futuristic sci-fi movie, but now voice search is well and truly part of our everyday lives. Thanks to built-in smartphone assistants like Siri, and the innovative Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, we can now find and book hotels without even picking up our smartphones.
Studies have shown that more than 30m voice-controlled products will be used in the US by the end of this year – and the trends for the UK are very similar. Comscore estimates that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, and 40% of adults are now using voice search at last once per day. These are amazing statistics, and they can’t be ignored by any industry – not least the hospitality and travel sector.
As a result of this massive shift, hotel marketers must now figure out ways to adapt to this new way of searching in order to ensure that the maximum value is taken from the technology – and for hoteliers that means putting voice search to work to drive room bookings and reservations. People ultimately use different phrases and words when using Google voice search than they do when they type – they often ask questions or make demands, whereas many text searches are based around keywords. This presents something of a new challenge for hoteliers.
Optimising for new phrases is one thing, but hotels will also need to consider a specific type of marketing to make voice search work for them. Meta search marketing is not a new phenomenon in the hospitality industry, but it’s coming to increased prominence with the rise of voice searches so it should certainly be on your radar to keep pace with guest habits.
Meta search marketing
for hotels involves making sure search engines like Google have access to your real-time room availability and pricing structure. Other popular meta search sites include Kayak, Trivago, TripAdvisor Meta Search and Google Hotel Finder.
Meta search marketing and Google voice search are perfect companions. If, for example, someone were to use any one of the prompts at the top of this blog as a voice search, meta search marketing would use information like hotel location, customer reviews, real-time availability, pricing and other relevant hotel information to show a range of results.
So as well as adapting for voice searches, hotels must ensure they’re tweaking their marketing strategy to include meta search marketing. It must be aligned with SEO, email marketing and other digital marketing methods to help hoteliers compete with OTAs, as well as boosting their visibility online.