Travelers are becoming increasingly comfortable with using digital voice assistance in booking their travel, according to research from Google and Phocuswright published in 2017. Google’s own statistics state that more than 70 percent of the requests made of Google Assistant were generated through natural language. Furthermore, one third of travelers globally have expressed interest in the use of digital assistants in researching and booking flights, hotels and activities for their upcoming travel.
Still an emerging trend, digital assistance or voice-assisted search has begun to gain traction in the travel space due to the growing presence of the technology in everyday life. Voice-assisted technology is now in the homes, cars, and even on the wrist or in the pockets of consumers worldwide. As the technology becomes more refined going forward, the adoption rate by the traveling public should skyrocket.
Social Media As A Search Engine
While social media is not new by any means, its relationship to the hospitality industry has evolved and is a current trend. Many hoteliers have struggled with investing substantially in social media, since there is a perceived lack of return. The problem with such thinking is the fact that travelers are present on social media networks; many on multiple platforms and like to share their travel experiences. In addition, when travelers are planning a trip they search social media not only for inspiration, but to see what others have to say regarding any potential hotel booking they may be considering.
In reality, hoteliers cannot afford to ignore social media because their guests are already there and talking about hotel properties among other travel-related subjects. To ensure the conversations are positive, hotels need to do what they do best in providing guests with a remarkable experience. It is vital for hotels to be present in those conversations, become aware of what is being said regarding the property, and respond appropriately when needed. Upon checking out, every guest should be encouraged to review their stay at their earliest convenience. A positive social media “buzz” about any hotel will naturally result in further bookings and increased revenue. A return on investment, which is not easily quantified.
Last Minute Booking
The advent of mobile booking has led to another trend on the rise and is having a tremendous impact on hospitality. Last minute booking of hotels has exploded in the last few years with very few, only 19 percent according to Phocuswright, made in advance of more than a week. The vast majority of trips are booked in the same week, or either the same day or two days before. The greater flexibility offered by mobile technology has translated into a tendency toward spontaneity on the part of consumers. This trend provides further support for hoteliers to provide travelers with a greater degree of personalization in order to be more responsive to their needs in a timely fashion.