Glossary: Hotel Industry and Metasearch Marketing Explained

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In today’s digital world, hotel marketing is more complex than ever before. New avenues for marketing a property online are opening and quickly becoming mainstream, and tools such as metasearch are now at the forefront of channels empowering hotels to compete online. With new advertising methods come new terminologies, new phrases, and a whole bunch of new acronyms; you’d need a glossary of marketing terms just to find your way through the alphabet soup of modern hotel-marketing lingo.

So we’ve created one. We’ve also thrown in a few terms that aren’t strictly marketing terminology, but are nevertheless important to know in navigating the language of the hotel industry today. We’ll continue to build this out and demystify these tools and techniques, adding other key industry terms, marketing phrases, and acronyms. Scratching your head about a word? Let us know in the comments below.

Marketing terms


Cost per acquisition, or cost per action. A pricing model for a hotel marketing campaign in which the advertiser pays each time a traveller completes a specific action: for example, completes a booking. This is the preferred pricing model of many online travel agencies, and CPA is often referred to as the commission cost.


Cost per click. A pricing model for a hotel marketing campaign in which the advertiser pays to drive traffic to their site; they pay each time a link to that site is clicked. This is the model trivago uses for both OTA advertisers and the hoteliers who promote their website rates on their hotel profiles.


Cost per mille, or cost per 1000 impressions. A pricing model for a hotel marketing campaign in which the advertiser pays each time an ad is displayed to a user — also known as an “impression.”


Call to action. This is a phrase included in an online or email hotel marketing campaign that instructs the viewers or recipients to perform an immediate action. For example: “Book now” if offering a limited-time booking deal or “Sign up” if promoting a hotel loyalty program.


Click-through rate. The percentage of viewers or recipients targeted in an online or email hotel marketing campaign who actually click on the link being promoted. This ratio indicates if the content of the ad or email was powerful enough to make the person seeing it want to click through and take the action specified: for example, complete a booking.


Key performance indicators. These are metrics used to determine the success of a business and its initiatives and marketing activities. A KPI may be the number of impressions or the CTR for an ad, the number of direct bookings a hotel receives, or the overall net revenue, to name a few.

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Hotel industry terms


Internet booking engine. An online application that facilitates the traveller’s online reservation process. It’s what enables hoteliers to drive direct bookings online, especially via metasearch marketing. The growth of online hotel bookings is due in part to the increasing number of hotels with either their own IBE or one provided by a connectivity partner, both of which accommodate and encourage more direct bookings.


Online travel agent. A third-party booking site that focuses on travel destinations, reviews, and products such as hotels, flights, and car rentals. These companies take a commission for each booking and operate similarly to traditional travel agents — except that they’re online.

Like what you see? Subscribe to the blog and receive the latest hotel and metasearch marketing tips right to your inbox. Make sure to revisit this page as we’ll continue to add to this glossary of marketing terms. Have marketing buzzwords or industry terms you’d like to suggest for the glossary? Add them below in the comment section.


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