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What is Metasearch & Why Its Important For Hotels

Introduction

In today’s digital world, it’s important to stay ahead of the game when it comes to digital marketing for your hotel

One powerful tool every hotel should have in its arsenal and one that can significantly improve your hotel’s visibility and direct bookings is metasearch.

In this guide, we’ll explain what metasearch is, explore the different channels, provide some best practice tips and explain why it’s essential for your hotel’s success.

Understanding Metasearch

Metasearch refers to the process of online platforms aggregating hotel information from various sources and allowing users to compare rates and availability on one website, rather than trailing through site after site to find the best deal.

Metasearch presents this crucial information directly in search results (for example Google) and other prominent places (for example TripAdvisor or Kayak) to encourage users to book through specific advertised routes. 

Companies such as Google have been developing their hotel offering in recent years making it as easy as possible for users to book a room through this method. It’s, therefore, vital hotels are keeping up - you don’t want to be losing out to the OTAs (online travel agent).

There are several free listings available to hotel owners, as well as paid-for options to give you even more visibility. It’s important to remember, most of the OTAs will be displayed, so your direct route must have visibility. 

The Different Metasearch Platforms

There are several different metasearch platforms available, the more important of which we’ll explore in a little more detail below.

Google

 

 

With the might of Google, it’s no wonder that this is the most popular of the metasearch platforms.

Google Hotel Ads showcase properties and their available booking routes directly in the search results as well as on maps gaining a huge amount of impressions every day.

 

 

Within these listings, users will be able to see property information, real-time rates and live availability, with the ability to search for dates and prices. 

The great thing about Google Hotel Ads is that they offer free listings. You can gain visibility on this channel without spending a penny (depending on the integration ability of your booking engine provider).

If you want to compete with the listings within the ads section, you can also run ads here. Again, the integration depends on your booking engine provider, but usually set-up is fairly straightforward.

TripAdvisor

 

TripAdvisor also offers a significantly popular metasearch feature.

By advertising on TripAdvisor, you can ensure that your hotel’s direct booking route is displayed as prominently as possible.

Through sponsored placements, you can also gain visibility for your hotel and get to the top of the results for a city search too. This means you’re targeting specific searchers looking for hotels in your area.

TripAdvisor also offers TripConnect, a cost-per-click model encouraging direct bookings. 

Additionally, the TripConnect Instant booking feature allows travellers to book immediately on TripAdvisor, working on a commission model per stay booked.

TripAdvisor usually requires an integration partner, so it’s best to check before starting!

Trivago

 

 

Also offering a metasearch feature is Trivago, a popular metasearch engine that compares prices and displays results from various OTAs and websites.

Advertising on Trivago allows you to compete with OTAs by displaying your direct rates and encouraging searchers to book directly on your website. Similar to TripConnect mentioned above, you’ll pay on a cost-per-click basis. 

To advertise on Trivago, you can use an integration partner or create a profile on Trivago Business Studio.

Why Hotel Owners Should Use Metasearch

There are several reasons why hotels should be encouraged to use metasearch platforms. 

Enhanced Visibility and Exposure

Metasearch platforms provide great exposure for hotels directly to potential guests actively searching for hotels.

By appearing on these platforms, your hotel can reach a much wider audience and increase the chances of these searchers booking directly, or choosing a competitor's hotel.

Increase Direct Bookings

Metasearch presents guests with the opportunity to book directly with your hotel, potentially reducing the commission you pay to OTAs.

This also means you can build direct relationships with your guests allowing you to offer personalised relationships.

Cost Effective Advertising 

Compared to more traditional advertising methods, metasearch, if used and optimised correctly, can be very cost-effective. 

Allocating budget to this channel can yield a great return on investment.

Best Practices for Metasearch Optimisation

Unfortunately, similar to PPC, metasearch is something you can’t just set and forget. It requires time and dedication to ensure it’s consistently optimised and running with the best ROI.

There are a few key best practices to remember if you’re utilising this channel.

Ensuring Accurate and Up-To-Date Information

It’s important to maintain consistent, accurate and up-to-date pricing and availability across all platforms to ensure customers have all the information they need for booking.

Monitoring and Analysing Performance

One of the most important things is to monitor it. You’ll need to continuously monitor KPIs (key performance indicators) such as click-through rates, conversions, revenue and impressions to ensure your campaigns are returning on your investment.

It’s also key to keep an eye on rates and ensure your offering is always competitive. In metasearch, a lot of potential guests decisions will be made dependant on price, so it’s absolutely key you’re in line with others offering your rooms.

It’s also worthwhile checking OTA pricing and if its reflective of the price on their site. On occasion, their metasearch price could be different to their actual rate.

This will discourage users from clicking on your listing, even though it may actually be the cheaper option.

In this case, you can report pricing discrepancies and get this ironed out.

Conclusion

In today’s competitive hospitality industry, metasearch can be a huge game-changer for hotels.

By leveraging metasearch channels such as Google and TripAdvisor you can massively increase your hotel's online presence and encourage more direct bookings and really maximise your revenue.

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