With the increased usage of mobile, as well as travelers looking for more options the travel industry is now witnessing a shift in consumer behavior, with travelers looking for better deals for more exclusive destinations.
While looking for these exclusive destinations, travelers expect seamless experiences from the minute they book, until the time they check out and while OTAs have been a critical partner in solving for distribution, destination properties that are targeting leisure travelers are now looking to solve the end-to-end journey and are also looking to invest in tools that can help with the same.
If you are a hotelier, or someone who is looking to understand how the direct booking journey works, the next few sections will help you get the basics right.
Let’s first understand how metasearch websites are different from OTAs.
Difference between Metasearch websites and OTAs
Metasearch platforms offer a comprehensive compilation of hotel rates from multiple booking channels, such as hotel websites, wholesalers, and OTAs. Among the most renowned metasearch websites are Trivago, Tripadvisor, and Google Hotel Ads.
By utilizing the metasearch engine, travelers can effortlessly access real-time information on room prices and availability, all displayed in a single view and no need to go to different websites, saving time.
Unlike other ad types such as SEM, display, and social, metasearch results are triggered by users entering the dates of their trips. Metasearch is the only channel that has the capability to display live rates with a direct path to the hotel website, distinguishing it from other channels however most hotels are unable to take advantage of these features.
This makes metasearch a highly valuable advertising channel for hotels. It is important to note that in all probability if you have a hotel website, then you are indexed on a metasearch, however, your team might not be making the most use of the platform and could potentially be losing customers who might be looking to book directly on your website.
How can hotels drive bookings from Metasearch?
To participate in metasearch advertising, advertisers must update rates using the ad properties available on the metasearch platforms such as Google Hotel Ads or TripAdvisor ads, and program the rates based on different parameters provided by the metasearch engines to manage rates.
However hotels that want to manage inventory, rates, and availability seamlessly on the metasearch engines will also want to use a channel manager, if they are not only looking at advertising.
Each metasearch engine operates in accordance with its unique pricing, ranking, and bidding logic, which leads to an intricate management process for these campaigns.
The Benefits of Metasearch Advertising
Managing content on multiple OTAs can be time-consuming and resource-intensive for hotels, especially for smaller properties with limited staff. Updating rates, availability, and descriptions across multiple channels can be a complex and ongoing process, which can lead to errors and inconsistencies.
Metasearch engines offer targeted advertising options, allowing hotels to reach travelers who are searching for specific destinations, dates, or amenities. This can help hotels to attract the right audience and increase the likelihood of direct bookings.
Improved conversion rates
Metasearch engines offer a streamlined booking process, with a clear call-to-action and an easy-to-use reservation system. This can lead to improved conversion rates for direct bookings, as travelers are more likely to book directly with the hotel when the booking process is simple and user-friendly.
Metasearch engines allow hotels to offer competitive pricing for direct bookings, with exclusive promotions and discounts that are not available through third-party channels. This can incentivize travelers to book directly with the hotel, leading to increased direct bookings and improved revenue performance.
Helping in a comprehensive & multichannel marketing strategy
To claim a complete multichannel marketing strategy, you cannot overlook the significance of metasearch. These platforms are highly popular among travelers, particularly in the mid-to-lower funnel stage, when they have already decided on the destination and timeframe of their trip. By prioritizing metasearch advertising, you can ensure that your brand remains at the forefront of the traveler’s mind during the final booking, resulting in higher direct bookings.
Metasearch has proven to be a powerful channel in boosting hotel visibility and driving direct bookings. As a mid-to-low funnel marketing tactic, it targets highly qualified traffic and boasts a high conversion rate. By shifting share away from OTAs and offering enhanced exposure to encourage a direct experience for the consumer, metasearch sets hotels up for success in the future by minimizing the impact of campaign performance dips that are likely to result from cookie-reliant channels.
Adding metasearch to a comprehensive, multichannel marketing strategy is essential for hoteliers who seek to build exceptional customer relationships, maximize direct bookings, and achieve higher margins over time.