Metasearch – Hotel’s Best Friend to Drive More Direct Bookings

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Hotel Metasearch is a popular term in the travel industry! Though the usage of this aggregator tool is multiplying day by day, the concept of metasearch isn’t new. It dates back to the mid-nineties when there were search engines/ crawlers like SearchSavvy, Hobot, Metacrawler and others. Even to an era when Google was an unknown. But this tool started making a visible impact in the travel and tourism industry since 2004 with Kayak, a metasearch for hotels, flights, rentals and more. Since then, metasearch is a common hotel booking platform with new brands having made their way: TripAdvisor, Google Hotel Ads (previously called Google Hotel Finder), Trivago, and so on.

Now when online booking is a major source of hotel bookings, metasearch plays a major role. The moment a user types a location on Google, multiple options are displayed along with the price and details of the same hotel on different sites. The facility of comparison before booking makes 94% of the travelers find the best deal on metasearch.

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Metasearch Bookings are Growing Rapidly

Hotel metasearch engines are highly polarizing! With Google dominating the market, and around 15% of the hotel reservations coming from metasearch, you are losing on a big number of bookings if your hotel is not marketing on metasearch.

A majority of the travelers are of the age group 18-35 and this age group is known to be taking maximum domestic tours. Being tech-rich, around 47% of this demography has been reported to be using price comparison tools while booking an accommodation. One reason being at this age budget is a big factor. Just behind them is the age group of 36-55, 45% of which are known to be booking their stay via metasearch. Even the oldest generation of 55+ aren’t quite below, with 36% reporting to be using metasearch sites.

Looking at the consumer trends and behavior, the percentage of metasearch traffic is growing rapidly coinciding with the fall in organic traffic to brand.com.

Popular Metasearch to Market Your Hotel

Speaking of the hotel industry, only a handful of metasearch engines are there to market your hotel for the best revenue in return. These are:

With the increasing number of metasearch users and the advantage of easy price comparison metasearch hotel ad is outrunning the traditional ad style day by day. The campaign models like CPC (Cost Per Click), CPM (Cost Per Impression) and CPA (Cost Per Acquistion) give the hotel owners some control on where to show the ad, whom to show and how much to spend on which ad type.

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Hotel Metasearch is Trending

A lot is happening over here. With big companies stepping in, like Expedia taking over Trivago, there has been an influx of money in marketing. Accepting direct bookings TripAdvisor is targeting to become the one stop platform for hotel research and bookings. Undoubtedly Google is the master player. Witnessing all that is going on and the number of reservations hotels are getting via metasearch can be said to hotel’s best friend to seek direct bookings.

Tips to Win Metasearch Bookings

i) Strategize Your Channel

Strategy matters! Metasearch platforms like Google and TripAdvisor offering direct booking are more preferred by the travelers than those offering combined hotel, flight and other services like Kayak. Invest a larger sum of your advertising budget on sites with “accommodation only” and CPA ads with guaranteed return. If you are a small/ independent hotel focus on platforms that provide full connectivity with your Booking Engine and bid management to maximize your ROI. Evaluate the investment and return before selecting the channel.

ii) Do Not Miss on Rate Parity & Integrity

Rate Parity is one of the key requirements to rank on a few metasearch channels. For instance, Google pays high value to Rate Parity and hotels with different room rates on different channels tend to lose the game on Google. Remember your rates should be in line with the competitor’s pricing for the prospective guest to not move to the next property. Changing your room rates too frequently also has a negative impact on your ad positioning.

iii) Connectivity Partner Plays a Big Role

Hotel Booking Engine provided by a channel manager approved by the metasearch platform is one of the reliable ways to integrate with metasearch and pull-in direct bookings. Using the right CMS/ PMS will not only help you integrate data and drive direct bookings but also provide you with the much-needed customer statistics.

iv) Research the On-Going Bid Price

Everyone wants to be in the top position of the search engine. To be on the top you will be competing with the leading OTAs which is nearly impossible unless you are a big hotel chain. But that doesn’t mean that independent hotels have no chance. If not on the top, you can definitely try for the position below the Online Travel Agency. For this your bid price needs to be nearly equal to the one raised by the leaders. Play around with the bid within your budget to win the booking and this requires a thorough study of the market rate.

Ready to Start?

The value of metasearch has kicked up in years, changing the style of hotel bookings. It has immense opportunity for your hotel to drive direct bookings and maximize your revenue. Make sure you have the right connectivity partner to effectively integrate the Booking Engine and redirect the prospective guest directly to your website. Roll the dice and get ready to claim your position.

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