Voice AI in Hospitality & QSRs
Feb 10, 2022

7 Stats that Prove Your Hospitality & QSR Voice AI Strategies Can’t Wait

The hospitality and QSR industries are overflowing with opportunities to voice-enable their customers’ experiences, from voice-enabled kiosks and drive-thrus to rooms and call centers. A lot may have changed for customers’ expectations in the last few years, but exceptional service isn’t one of them. 

Voice assistants provide a quick, efficient, and accessible method to deliver faster, consistent service for tasks like checking in and out, ordering food, making reservations, and searching for amenities. While voice assistants can help create deeper connections and provide greater convenience for customers, they are also helping hoteliers and restaurateurs improve efficiency and increase revenue. 

Already, QSRs have seen great success with implementing voice assistants across a variety of devices. For a range of businesses in the hospitality sector, including hotels, cruise ships, QSRs, and fast-casual restaurants, voice AI can improve everything from customers’ experiences to employees’ workloads. Given the rapidly changing consumer environment and demand for better, safer, and more hygienic experiences, the time for a voice AI strategy was yesterday.

Let’s explore 7 statistics from a recent Hospitality Tech survey that prove your hospitality and QSR voice AI strategies can’t wait. 

Consumers purchase from brands with health and safety in mind

Even before the pandemic, hygiene and cleanliness measures were of vital importance to customers and guests, especially for highly trafficked surfaces in hotel rooms, such as light switches, thermostats, tv remotes, and touch screens. While most of us accepted the fact that we were all touching the same surfaces that were likely not cleaned between visits, the recent pandemic brought all of these items into laser focus for guests. Now, every touch is a cause for alarm and hand washing. As a result, the hospitality sector has had to rethink cleaning practices and the use of buttons, touchscreens, and other methods of interaction for guests.

According to research published by Hospitality Tech, 30% of consumers started purchasing from new brands over the past 18 months because they preferred the new safety measures those brands adopted. An additional 22% of consumers have stopped transacting with a brand because they felt their health and safety measures were insufficient.

30% of consumers started purchasing from new brands over the past 18 months because they preferred new safety measures that brands adopted.

Hospitality Tech

Health and safety are critical considerations for restaurant customers and hotel guests and voice assistants eliminate many of the concerns around hygiene by providing touchless interfaces—while improving efficiencies and delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Voice-enabled kiosks in QSRs allow customers to order their favorite menu items without having to touch a screen. They can ask for what they want naturally and conversationally, even if they don’t know what an item is called or where it is on the menu. This hands-free ordering system ensures that customers are experiencing the convenience of fast and efficient service free from concerns about contact with a surface that may contain harmful viruses and bacteria. 

22% of consumers have stopped transacting with a brand because they felt their health and safety measures were insufficient.

Hospitality Tech

In hotels, rooms can be integrated with a voice assistant either through a smart speaker or by using a smart TV as the central hub. Through a voice interface, guests can control lights, thermostats, the TV, and other elements in the room without having to touch a single surface. Voice-enabled kiosks in the lobby can also provide fast and hands-free check-ins and check-outs that help guests achieve their goals without waiting in lines in a crowded lobby. With voice AI, hoteliers can reassure guests that every precaution is being taken to ensure they have an enjoyable and safe experience. 

Consumers trust brands that take care of their employees

Hotels and QSRs are facing unprecedented challenges in finding and retaining enough employees to perform all the customer service and food preparation tasks required to provide the kind of service their customers are demanding. Recent labor shortages have made it difficult to keep a full staff of employees, while overworked staff are experiencing burnout and leaving jobs as a result. The Great Resignation has hit the restaurant and hotel industries the hardest and businesses are struggling under the weight of customer expectations with no way to meet them.

In the midst of this turmoil, consumers are looking into the internal operations of companies when deciding where to spend their money. According to Hospitality Tech research, 47% of consumers said they would trust a brand more if it took care of their employees. Companies hoping to foster brand loyalty are now tasked with delivering excellent service while ensuring their employees are having a positive experience—not an easy task.

47% of consumers said they would trust a brand more if it took care of their employees. 

Hospitality Tech

Voice assistants in QSRs, fast-casual restaurants, and hospitality help overcome challenges with staffing and employee satisfaction. Voice-enabled kiosks and telephone ordering and reservation systems free staff from routine tasks, so they have more time to focus on food preparation and matters that require face-to-face interactions with customers. Other voice assistant use cases, such as ordering room service, requesting more pillows, can allow employees to focus on delivering faster, personalized service to guests and customers without the need to answer phones and record requests. 

Poor customer service is a reason to abandon a brand

Exceptional customer experiences are the foundation of brand loyalty and return customers. However, it’s not always easy. Customers at QSRs require fast, efficient, and accurate service, while guests at hotels and cruise ships expect knowledgeable, convenient, and quick assistance. 

The quality of customer service can make or break a customer or guest’s decision to return or recommend the brand to others. In the research by Hospitality Tech, 65% of consumers reported having switched brands because their expectations did not live up to an advertised promise, and 69% said that poor customer service would cause them to stop purchasing from a brand.

69% said poor customer service would cause them to stop purchasing from a brand.

Hospitality Tech

Voice assistants can deliver on the promise of exceptional customer service by providing consistently fast, accurate, knowledgeable, and convenient assistance. At QSRs, they can remove the possibility of human error and ensure each order is recorded accurately and quickly. They can also offer a variety of nutritional and allergy information that the average employee might not know or would need to look up. For returning customers with a voice profile, voice assistants can even save favorite menu items or allergy information for future orders.

At hotels and on cruise ships, voice assistants can provide a variety of information on amenities and dining options while supplying the convenience and efficiency of ordering room service, making reservations, and ordering extra towels or bedding without having to call down to the front desk. With personalization, and guest permission, voice assistants can also store information about preferred room temperature, the number of blankets, or favorite reservations for future visits. 

Social media reviews guide new customers

Word of mouth, from reviews to recommendations, is essential for QSRs, fast-casual restaurants, and hotels to attract new customers and retain current ones. Hospitality Tech’s research revealed that 78% of consumers look at customer reviews before buying from a new brand, and 66% said they were at least somewhat likely to purchase from a new brand if recommended by a friend, family member, or colleague.

78% of consumers look at customer reviews before buying from a new brand.

Hospitality Tech

By providing exceptional customer experiences, health and safety measures, and lightening employee workloads, voice assistants can help create brand loyalty and evangelists who recommend the service to others. The fast, convenient, efficient, and hands-free experiences that voice assistants create have the potential to generate more positive reviews and increase Customer Satisfaction Scores. 

Get started with a voice AI strategy today

Hospitality, QSR, and fast-casual industries are all under the microscope by consumers looking for better, faster, more convenient experiences. According to the recent research by Hospitality Tech, they also expect the brands they patronize to take care of their employees, provide exceptional customer service, and provide the highest standards of hygiene and safety. Voice assistants help businesses of all sizes to meet these challenges while also creating operational efficiencies. 

For brands in hospitality and QSR, the time for a voice AI strategy was yesterday. But, it’s still not too late to get started. Many of your competitors are already seeing the positive results of a voice assistant for better customer experiences.

At SoundHound Inc., we have all the tools and expertise needed to create custom voice assistants and a consistent brand voice. Explore SoundHound’s independent voice AI platform at SoundHound.com and register for a free account here. Want to learn more? Talk to us about how we can help bring your voice strategy to life.

Kristen is a content writer with a passion for storytelling and marketing. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking, reading, and spending time with her nieces and nephew.

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