Did you know that voice technology has been adopted faster than nearly any other technology in history? Over the last year, we've seen a tremendous increase in voice technology adoption in the home: 53% of U.S. Adults actively use a voice assistant each month, 57.8 million adults use smart speakers, and the number of households with smart speakers in the U.S. has increased 78% in the last year.
It's no surprise that the most rapidly growing digital communication method is also the oldest. Voice is shaking up industries from retail to healthcare, and hospitality is no different.
Hospitality Voice Technology
Guests enjoy their hotel experience best when it is as comfortable as home with service that is even better. With the broad adoption of voice in the consumer market, providing these services during a hotel stay is becoming an expectation. Guests have smart homes, so hotels need to be smart too, and that means they need a voice-specifically one that allows guests to communicate using natural, normal speech, with no need to learn pre-set commands.
2019 Tech Trends
Countless sources cite artificial intelligence and voice technology as hospitality trends to watch in 2019. Hotel News Resource calls for seamless technology and frictionless guest experiences as the top two trends that can improve business. Entrepreneur predicts smart rooms, artificial intelligence, and personalized solutions as the top three hotel trends shaping guest experiences this year. Hospitality Technology shares that employee-focused technology lays a foundation for improved guest experiences. There is one technology solution that can seamlessly integrate solutions for both guests and staff and offer a more personalized, improved guest experience: you guessed it-voice.
Hotel News Now reports that voice is clearly on the rise: 12% of all searches on Google come from voice and between 10% and 20% of potential hotel guests already interact with voice daily. In a recent study by Hotel Internet Services, 60% of guests indicated that they would likely to use a voice assistant device, if made available in their hotel room, while a total of 81% of hoteliers also agreed that guests would consider using voice.
Though guests care about keeping their personal data secure, many are willing to share if it means a more personalized experience. In fact, 57% of U.S. travelers want brands to use their data to personalize their travel recommendations and experiences. And, according to the same source, 36% of these people would be willing to pay more for such a personalized experience.
It's no surprise that 84% of business travelers think that a personalized guest experience is important and that 90% of travelers want to receive personalized service from hotel staff that understand their preferences.
Voice solutions can augment personalization by allowing guests to customize their room's features with their voice, and have their preferences remembered for future stays. Voice assistants can also recognize loyalty status and offer personalized recommendations based on guest tastes. Most importantly, when guests are used to having the world at their fingertips, data-driven personalized experiences are necessary for guest satisfaction in 2019.
Improved Operational Efficiencies and Guest Experiences
59% of hoteliers think voice assistants can play a valuable role in increasing property revenues and 43% think voice could play a significant role in reducing labor costs and streamlining operations. The good news is that voice technology can increase property revenues and streamline labor costs: voice offers a revolutionary means of guest-to-hotel communication that aligns with evolving consumer behaviors, as guests can receive information and initiate service requests in an instant.
Voice simplifies the guest experience, particularly because people already know how to use it-voice is the natural human interface.In fact, digital voice assistants have a 98% satisfaction rate among U.S. consumers. Curious what guests might use voice for? Surveyed guests reported they would use a voice assistant to control the thermostat, lighting and TV, check the weather, play music, ask for restaurant, pool or spa hours, request local information, order towels, request wake up calls, order in-room dining, and more.
Aside from being easy to use, voice assistants offer both more human-like interactions with technology and free staff to provide high-touch interactions in a way only humans can. This is key, especially when 65% of hotel guests think more personal service from the staff is appealing. As voice and AI capabilities become increasingly conversational and empathetic, guest exchanges with machines are becoming more natural.
In 2019 we will see key voice technologies like natural language processing (NLP) continue to improve and reach a new level of nuance and advancement. But, the existence of better voice technology isn't the only reason to invest in it.
Over 60% of guests think it is "very or extremely important" for hotels to continue investing in technology to enhance the guest experience, 49% of guests say their hotel selection is influenced by high-tech features in the guest room, 41% of guests say it is important that they can engage with new and exciting features in hotels they are loyal to, and last but not least, investing in technology reportedly increases in-room sales revenue by 20%. Surveyed guests reported that they were interested in hotel voice technology because of ease of use, familiarity, and convenience.
Voice technologies are rapidly improving, and because they are cloud-based, they can continue to be improved upon every day.
Voice makes sense
Voice is quickly catching fire, but should we be surprised that the most rapidly growing digital communication method is also the oldest? Using voice to interact is natural, straight forward, and comfortable because we do it every day. In order to keep up with the exponential growth of consumer voice technology, hoteliers must begin to implement a voice strategy in 2019.
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