As more consumers adopt smart speakers, hoteliers should ready themselves for when that technology enables guests to start booking hotel rooms.
It might not be exactly like the Jetsons with flying cars, jetpacks and transportation tubes, but in some ways, we seem to be living in the future.
I’ve previously stated my apprehension over smart speaker technology, such as Alexa or Google Assistant, in hotels. I still think hoteliers need to do their due diligence before incorporating them into their hotels to make sure they aren’t an unnecessary data security risk they would be inflicting upon themselves.
That said, these smart speakers are proving to be popular among consumers. Not a big surprise. It’s only a matter of time before each household has something of the ilk.
Now, referring back to the Jetsons, people are starting to use smart speakers when planning their travel, the New York Times reports. The article talks about how people are using them for more than just adjusting the thermostat and asking when different movie show times are because the technology is evolving to handle more complex requests.
The story focuses on how people can research their destination ahead of time and provide directions while heading to the airport through Google Assistant. It can even watch airline tickets and send the user email updates when airline ticket prices change.
There’s no mention of hotels in the article, but it’s a natural extension of this technology. Hoteliers have been trying to keep up with consumers’ migration from desktop bookings to mobile bookings, and the smartphone has been around for about 10 years. This is cutting-edge technology that will certainly evolve over time as more and more households adopt it, but the core concept of it will remain the same even if the execution does change.
While trying to keep up with the mobile migration, hoteliers need to get a jump on making sure they can handle reservations through smart speakers. There likely aren’t many people right now who are planning their trips, buying their plane tickets and booking hotel rooms through these devices, but they’re probably going to in the next several years.
But let me ask …
What do your IT department and your sales and marketing departments need to do to make it easier for guests to book through the smart speakers? Once you have some sort of handle on it, how can you let your guests know this is now an option for them? Can brands integrate the voice-activation technology with their mobile apps to further push their direct booking initiatives?
These are some unanswered questions, and I’m sure there are plenty more. The technology opens up new options for both hoteliers and guests, but those options will only exist if hoteliers are prepared for them.
Are you already exploring this space? What do you think hoteliers need to do to prepare for this? Or do you think this will fizzle out like Pokémon Go? Let me know in the comments below, or you can contact me at email@example.com or @HNN_Bryan.
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