According to statistics, one-third of the United States population uses voice search technology. That means more than 40% of people are using it, and that’s only in America.
The numbers are increasing exponentially every year. People are finding it easier than ever to use their smartphones, Alexa, or Google Home devices to ask for what they’re looking for instead of typing text into the search screen.
Because this new technology is proliferating, it’s time we take a look at optimizing hotel marketing for voice search engines.
First, let’s look at the definition of voice search.
What is voice search?
You’re already familiar with how to perform a search on your internet browser. Type what you’re looking for in the search bar, and Google will provide you with multiple answers.
With voice search, you can perform your internet search by asking the question to your smartphone, smart device, or even your computer.
This type of search involves making the query of a digital assistant or search engine instead of typing it in.
What devices lead the market?
The voice assistant device leading the market is currently the Amazon Echo (Alexa) at nearly 70%, followed by Google Home. A very tiny percentage lies within Apple HomePod.
These numbers have remained virtually the same for the last several years.
Voice calling is also supported, which is essential when it comes to your marketing strategy.
In the broader digital assistant market, Siri has the lead followed by Google Assistant, then Alexa.
How does voice search work?
When you perform a manual search, Google pulls the answer to your question from articles and pages on the internet and shows it on your search engine results page as a featured snippet.
If you have optimized your hotel website, you’ll find your hotel most often in one of those top spots.
Voice search results pull the first featured snippet – this is the one in the best position.
Therefore, when you ask Siri, Amazon Echo, or Google Home a question, they’ll use the top featured snippet information to answer your question.
Voice search is infinitely easier for the user, but how does your hotel marketing staff make sure your hotel shows up in those top choices? We’ll look at the answer here.
Why is voice search so important?
It’s quite easy to dismiss the importance of voice search and assume that if you show up on regular search engine pages, you’ll show up at the top in voice search.
Between 50-75% of searches will be by voice during this year alone, which is why voice search is not something you want to ignore.
How you can optimize for voice search
One of the most important things to consider in your overall marketing plan and website optimization this year is voice search.
Start with everything you were focused on prior to voice search, including content optimization, long-tail keywords, and search engine optimization.
While you turn your focus to voice search, you will still want to optimize for traditional searches. Don’t trade one for the other.
You will need to have a multi-device strategy in place – one that encompasses voice search as well as the traditional search methods. Here are a few suggestions:
- Optimize for long-tail keywords and questions your customers are more likely to say out loud. Why? Voice searches are usually longer than traditional text searches.
- The same SEO (search engine optimization) principles apply, so you use them to rank higher.
- Fine-tune your website content. Think about what people need and are asking for. Your goal is to hit position zero, which is the top spot in those featured snippets.
- Use structured data to create the rich preview snippets in the search engine results. Make sure your title and meta description include your long-tail keywords.
- Work on your frequently asked questions (FAQ) page. As a hotelier, you can focus on the questions you hear most often. Those might be specific questions about your hotel, your rooms, amenities, your location, the area around your hotel, cost, etc.
- Refine your keywords. You want to target question-type keywords. Most voice searches are in the form of questions or “find me something” commands. Think about what your customers are looking for and work on your keywords. For example, a customer might ask Siri to find them a hotel near Monterey Bay. While you may be 15 minutes from there, you still want to show up in the search results.
- Expand the content on your site by using search terms such as “the hotel is near…” This might be a local attraction, an area of the country, etc. Advertise your distance from attractions, popular businesses, event venues, and more. This is helpful as future customers are looking for lodging near where they are going.
- Concentrate on local search. This means making sure your listing on Google My Business is always up-to-date. Your phone number and address should be readily accessible. Consider updating your photos once a month. Post on your business page regularly. Always respond to your customer reviews. Add ‘near me’ in the title tags and meta description on your website.
- Offer your customers a way to book your hotel or call you through their voice assistant.
- Improve your page load speed, as this is proven to affect Google search results.
- Emphasize your amenities. Amenities include how your hotel is pet-friendly, how you cater to families, or how you are close to luxury restaurants. Feature amenities in your marketing and add them to your SEO keyword strategy.
Now let’s look at how you can leverage voice search to your advantage.
Leverage the booking process
Your customers are using their smartphones, tablets, and digital assistant devices to research business travel, leisure travel, and accommodations.
They want to book their trips with ease, so the more you work to integrate voice search into your marketing strategy, the better.
What’s more, the more streamlined your booking process, and the easier it is to do, the more likely people are to book your hotel.
For example, your customers could simply ask Siri if your room choice was available for specific dates, for how much, and then finalize their booking without having to do anything but speak.
Therefore, as software continues to develop, you can use voice search to make your overall customer booking experience second to none.
If you haven’t already done so, start preparing your hotel for voice search technologies today.
Note that the way people search by voice is different than how they search using text.
You’ll see that people searching using their voice are asking questions more conversationally, so make sure your website presents answers to questions in the same way.
Finally, consider revising some of your website text styles to be more conversational in a manner to help voice search.
Ultimately, it will have good consequences for your traditional text searches as well as making your entire hotel feel more approachable.