Author | Chatmeter TeamDate Posted | January 2, 2019

What’s Trending with Voice Search in 2019?

Over 1 Billion voice searches take place each month. By the end of this year, it’s estimated that 1 Billion Voice Assistant-enabled devices will be in circulation. The voice search revolution is upon us and with that comes some really exciting innovation. Let’s take a look at some of the upcoming trends in voice and their positive effect on local search.

Voice Search and Smart Tech Adoption

Before we get into what’s trending, we need to understand who is using voice search and how? Take a look at the graph below, of course, the digital natives, Millennials, have adopted smart home products as they typically lead the pack in technology adoption. What may be surprising is the number of seniors adopting the technology, especially when it comes to home security and smart thermostats.

Unlike typical technology trends where seniors are usually the last to adopt the technology, they’ve welcomed smart technology, especially the use of voice assistants to help make everyday tasks easier. Things like small keyboards and hard to read screens are not an issue when it comes to voice technology. Voice search is for everyone. It’s not limited to younger generations and it’s a welcome tech advancement in today’s society.

What’s Trending?

Alexa For Hospitality

This summer, Amazon and Marriott have teamed up to launch the release of “Alexa for Hospitality”. This new program puts the power of Amazon’s Alexa in your hotel room. Starting with 10 locations, the hotel chain will introduce Echo devices in guest rooms. After a year of testing the Amazon speaker against Apple’s Siri enabled devices, Alexa’s technology became the clear front runner. Not only will Alexa be featured in Marriott properties but it’s also now available to other hotel providers.

Working with Echo enabled devices and existing hotel technology like DigiValet, Nuvola, Volera and Intelity, Alexa for Hospitality can help guests with the following tasks:

  • Making phone calls.
  • Playing music.
  • Ordering room service.
  • Adjusting lights or temperature.
  • Checking out.
  • Calling the front desk.
  • Finding local businesses and services.
  • And more.

If your business is close to an Alexa-enabled hotel, it may be time to start or build up your VEO strategy to become the top and only local listing choice for hotel guests.

Alexa, your New College Roommate

Multiple universities have been trialing Alexa in dorm rooms to help students transition to college life. By setting up an Amazon student account through their university email, students will have more access to personal university information. Using Amazon’s Echo Dot devices, students can use it to help with things like:

  • Getting their class schedule for the day.
  • Accessing their meal card balance.
  • Setting alarms before class.
  • Getting student account information such as tuition payments
  • Finding food and services nearby

The dot speakers are still in a trial phase, as Amazon, students and their schools work together to figure out which skills students would like Alexa to have. There’s also an issue of what information should be accessible to students. Some requests are off limits, such as grades or financial information as they put liability on the schools if such personal information is overheard by someone else.

Much like Alexa for Hospitality, these devices are a win for local search as they help out-of-town students find local restaurants and other services in their area. This trend can give voice optimized businesses in college towns a competitive edge when it comes to local listings.

Voice Assistant Pay with Masterpass

Mastercard is looking into a way to bring their payment system to Amazon and Google voice assistants. The integration would allow consumers to pay with their voice. Following the new European GDPR laws, Masterpass is searching for a way to make the payments and your privacy secure. There’s no word yet at how exactly this would work, but Mastercard is looking into the biometrics of voice technology to determine voice authorization processes.

The ability to pay could be a game changer for local businesses. If customers can search, order, and pay with their voice without seeing a single review, photo, or even stepping a foot into your store, it would mean that the top local listing position would come with instant and trackable ROI. I don’t know about you, but this possibility alone is more than enough reason to put added focus on a solid VEO strategy.

Digital Centralization

With all these great innovations, people are looking for a way to tie all their devices into one centralized “smart hub”. In the past decade we’ve been introduced to dozens of smart devices like; smartphones, tablets, TVs, speakers, home security, lighting, thermostats, video game consoles and more.  Not to mention the 100s of apps we use to control these devices. It’s time we find a way to connect all of our devices. Smart speakers and voice assistants seem to be the logical answer for centralizing everything. If voice assistants are going to be at the epicenter of our technology, businesses need to be prepared for this change.

Preparing your Business for Local Voice Search

Voice search is already 3x more likely to be used than text search when it comes to local. In order to be prepared for the voice search revolution, you need to have a strong VEO strategy in place. 20% of voice search is done through mobile, majority of those searches being local. By 2020, Comscore predicts 50% of all searches will be done through voice. As technology evolves, and voice search grows, the need for a local VEO strategy is more important than ever.

Seeing all these new trends in voice search from a consumer standpoint is exciting, but as a business, you may feel a little behind the curve. Here at Chatmeter, we’re thinking about what we can do to help our clients prepare for the voice search revolution. We’re taking a look at things like review sentiment, questions asked by consumers in the Google My Business listings, and we’re even doing some testing with our own devices at home.

We’ve found that voice search has only emphasized the need for top ranking listings across every platform. Google assistants pull from Google maps, Amazon’s Alexa gets its results from Yelp, Apple’s Siri pulls listings from Apple Maps and Cortana gets her sources from Bing Places.  Our listing management team works hard to keep client listings updated across every platform. With the rise of voice search, there’s only room for one listing at the top, where do you rank?