In a digital age in which OTAs have consistently had the upper hand, metasearch is proving to be the great equaliser: levelling the battlefield in the booking wars and enabling hotels to re-stake their claims in the distribution landscape.
What’s giving metasearch its clout?
The answer is twofold. On one hand, there’s the “meteoric growth in consumer traffic” (Tnooz) to metasearch sites and the industry-wide shift to an online booking journey. On another, there’s the advent of digital solutions that empower the hotel to increase their visibility on metasearch and promote their website rates there alongside the OTAs’.
What’s important for hoteliers to realise about all this is that, with metasearch, direct bookings are now there for the taking. Which gives a very clear and compelling answer to the question of whether a hotelier should list their property on metasearch:
Yes. Get on metasearch, and get an optimised Internet booking engine. Stat.
Because that’s where the travellers are.
Half of all online hotel bookers are already on metasearch, and all signs point to that percentage increasing in the coming years, along with the number of hotel guests booking online.
And metasearch isn’t just gaining traction and picking up speed in the industry. It’s also constantly improving: The search experience is becoming more personalised and targeted, while the B2B solutions are becoming more intuitive and effective.
As online bookings overtake offline bookings (and they will soon), and as the capabilities of search and of marketing tools improve (and they are, significantly), metasearch is going to be more utilised for hotel price-comparisons and more powerful as an advertising channel than ever before.
Perhaps the most convincing answer to “why metasearch?” however is this one: It’s free to list a hotel on trivago, a leading global hotel metasearch.
Why an Internet booking engine, and why does it have to be optimised?
Because that’s how to capture those elusive direct bookings online.
There’s no way to compete directly with the OTAs on metasearch except by publishing the hotel’s website rates there as well.
And to promote those website rates on metasearch, which are clickable and send the traveller on to the direct booking site, the hotel must provide a booking engine.
Not just any old booking engine will do, however: A main reason why OTAs have been taking the lion’s share of online bookings is that their sites are optimised for converting users; too many hotel websites are not.
In an internal trivago Business Intelligence study, we found that OTAs currently have conversion rates that are on average two times higher than hotel websites’.
A simple and cost-effective solution for hotels is to adopt and add their own branding elements to a booking engine that’s been developed, connected to metasearch sites, and optimised for conversion by a connectivity provider.
Quality booking engines aren’t free, but they can be affordable. Some even come standard with other hotel tech solutions, such as an all-in-one cloud-based property management system.
Driving direct bookings via metasearch: the gist of it all
Metasearch isn’t a trend anymore. It’s the present and the future of the search stage in the traveller’s hotel journey. Hoteliers can either get on board with it now, and position their properties directly in front of millions of travellers at the start of their search for the ideal hotel, or they can wait.
Waiting, however, is the far riskier move.
Listing a hotel on metasearch is free. Promoting a hotel’s official website rates on metasearch to drive direct bookings can be less expensive than OTA commission fees. Losing out on an increasing number of booking opportunities is costly — potentially ruinously so.
The math is simple.