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06/15/2022

Why Voice is The Next Frontier Improving Hotels’ Guest Experiences

Voice-first technology strategies allow guests to more easily and more immediately leave voice messages to communicate with a hotel across any of its brand touchpoints.
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The quality—and memorability—of customer experiences is crucial to a hotel’s success. The ability of a hotel to garner actionable feedback and encourage customers to accurately and expressively share their viewpoints amounts is a key business asset. Get it right, and hotel brands can gain decisive competitive advantages over competitors who are left guessing what their customers want.

Arguably more than in most industries, hotel guests often have particularly strong opinions and insights into how hotels could improve the experiences they offer. Poor experiences, unfortunately, often equate to interesting stories that guests eagerly tell friends, family, and the internet. But when it comes to communicating those anecdotes with the hotel itself, many guests balk at telling their stories via more formal and cumbersome traditional feedback channels such as comment cards, call center outreach, emailed surveys, or waiting to speak to a hotel manager.

Modernizing Guest Feedback Channels

AI-driven voice technology is looking to address this head-on, and modernize how hotels can enable guests to control their experiences and provide more valuable feedback. Replacing outdated traditional feedback methods, emerging voice-first technology strategies allow guests to more easily and more immediately leave voice messages to communicate with a hotel across any of its brand touchpoints. Guests can speak their minds, whether via online touchpoints such as social media, emails, or a hotel’s website, or—just as importantly—at offline touchpoints (such as at a hotel’s elevator or guest room) via a QR code.

13% of hoteliers plan to add voice-controlled devices to guest rooms, according to HT's 2022 Lodging Technology Study

What is different with voice? In addition to more naturally facilitating guest feedback, voice AI is now at a point where it can analyze each customer response in real-time, serving as a hotel’s ears by sifting through guest feedback and identifying the key insights and takeaways that can push experiences in the right direction. This change in guest feedback strategy can provide hotels with more detailed reports than written comments or one-off manager conversations, including full voice transcripts and detailed sentiment analysis. With this level of report, hotels can more rapidly identify shortcomings or opportunities for improvement in the customer experiences they provide, and begin work on addressing them just as quickly.

Why Voice is Different

This voice-enabled approach to soliciting guest feedback works due to the fact that speaking is three times faster than typing, and is the most natural form of human communication. Hotel brands utilizing AI-driven voice feedback receive far more expressive and heartfelt guest responses and deeper customer insights than they would via any other medium. Rather than missing out on crucial feedback that guests keep to themselves when frustrated by communication obstacles, voice feedback makes hotels more fully responsive to customers' wants and needs, while enabling more connected customer relationships via the power of speech.

At the same time, customers demonstrate a clear preference for—and willingness to reward—

brands that actively cultivate strong listening capabilities and implement improvements using that feedback for guidance. When it comes to customer experiences and building brand loyalty, a Microsoft survey found that 77% of consumers hold a more favorable view of brands that actively seek out and accept customer feedback. Garner has similarly discovered that 80% of companies that achieve year-over-year growth use customer surveys to collect customer experience data. These findings point to a clear ROI opportunity for hotels that embrace technologies to give their guests a voice, and who take their feedback and experiences to heart when shaping improvements to their business practices.

And while this data indicates the importance of customer surveys, hotels no longer need to accept the expense, effort, and latency associated with conducting traditional guest surveys. Instead, voice AI feedback offers a complete modernization, with which a hotel can simply and directly ask guests to provide feedback on their experiences, and as passionately as they want. Guests that feel inclined or have stories and insights to share can then easily speak their minds to the voice AI, utilizing whatever channel they find most convenient.

Consumers are already accustomed to speaking directly with the brands they do business with—the voice era of Siri and the like has gotten us to where we are today. But hotels are in a unique position to especially benefit from voice-first modernization. Guests already carry a perception of every hotel experience they have, and voice is the key to unlocking more of that experience-optimizing feedback.

About the Author

Stas Tushinskiy is the CEO of Instreamatic. Prior to Instreamatic—founded in 2015 and focusing on voice marketing solutions—Stas built a digital audio advertising sales house in Europe, working with brands like Porsche, Starbucks, and McDonalds. He lives in Silicon Valley, where Instreamatic is based.