Metasearch for Hoteliers: Knowing the Basics

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This is the first article in our series ‘Metasearch for Hoteliers’ that will help you understand what metasearch is and its importance in today’s competitive hospitality landscape. If you wish to learn how to win direct bookings by running successful metasearch campaigns, please go to the second article of this series.

We live in a digital world. This means that today’s traveler is also digital, who looks and books hotels online. In its report, 5 Big Ideas to Master Digital in Hospitality, Accenture observes, “Digital technologies constantly push the boundaries of guest expectations. Only the savviest players can win the battle for the guest in today’s unprecedented and evolving digital environment.” Therefore, as a hotelier or an accommodation provider, it is essential for you to have a strong online presence.

You not only have to attract travelers but also have to ensure direct bookings. And by hotel bookings, we mean – direct hotel bookings. This is where metasearch can help. Metasearch engines are growing at an extraordinary rate and have become a huge player in the hospitality business. These are now one of the most important advertising channels and are also making a high impact in terms of driving direct bookings.

In the study, Independent Lodging Properties and the Online MarketplacePhocuswright and trivago, while talking about independent properties’ practices in terms of marketing, distribution and related technology usage, concluded, “Independent lodging properties now drive most of their business through online channels. Metasearch has emerged as an effective distribution channel, driving significant proportions of bookings directly to properties in a cost-effective manner.” Furthermore, the study says that nearly two-thirds of independent lodging properties now receive direct bookings from metasearch and around 90% plan to maintain or increase their use of metasearch for visibility and bookings in the future.

If you’re on the fence about listing your hotel on a metasearch for boosting direct hotel bookings, we are here to assist you in understanding all aspects of metasearch, starting right from the basics to practical implications.

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What exactly is hotel metasearch?

A hotel metasearch, like trivago, is a price-comparison engine for hotels and other accommodations. It aggregates rates and information from several travel sites to provide the maximum variety and the best available rates to the bookers. Thus, travelers can easily find the best deals for a hotel/lodging at a certain location with their desired amenities and within a specific time and price range. Whenever any traveler is interested in a listing and clicks on it, he/she is redirected to an OTA or the hotel website to complete the booking.

Let’s have a look at how metasearch site works as a distribution channel with the help of this infographic:

Metasearch for Distribution Infographic

Importance of metasearch: Direct bookings and beyond

As pointed out earlier, metasearch engines have enabled guests to be in control like never before. As more and more travelers now depend on metasearch for finding and comparing hotels, a major shift is seen in the guests’ booking journey in the hospitality industry. Thus, as a hotelier, you cannot ignore metasearch.

A metasearch site is primarily viewed as a marketing platform – a platform where different booking channels can advertise themselves. Metasearch enables you to be on a more level playing field with not only your competitors but also all the online travel agencies (OTAs) and other big travel companies when it comes to visibility. This implies that metasearch can empower you, as a hotelier, to compete online with confidence.

However, an added and very crucial advantage of metasearch is that it’s also a distribution channel, helping hoteliers drive significant proportions of direct bookings cost-effectively. Metasearch can help you exercise control on your distribution costs. You can coordinate different campaigns across your supply chain with real-time inventory and dynamic pricing. You also have the possibility of having a healthy distribution mix by letting certain bookings go through OTAs and some via the direct channel. Thus, it gives you a lot of flexibility on what you want to do based on your business strategy and your goals.

Here, it’s fascinating to note how metasearch is already helping hoteliers strengthen their marketing and distribution game. According to Phocuswright’s study in partnership with trivago, Independent Lodging Properties and the Online Marketplace, “Metasearch has emerged as an important digital channel for advertising and driving direct bookings for independent hotels, generating significant proportions (13% in the US and 12% in Europe) of their total online room revenue.” Of the hoteliers surveyed, 60% rated metasearch as a very or most effective marketing channel and 42% stated they intend to use it more in the future for distribution.

No wonder, then, that metasearch placements are a part of most of the successful hotels’ and accommodations’ organic/paid search arsenal.

Are you planning to consider metasearch as a distribution tool? Read our next article in the series: Metasearch for Hoteliers: Winning Direct Bookings


Featured image: Mimi Thian on Unsplash