Metasearch engines, a new scenario for online reservations
What are metasearch engines?
Metasearch engines are search engines that aggregate and compare information, prices, offers and reviews of hotels and other accommodation facilities. Metasearch engines collect on a single platform the rates offered by many booking portals, giving the user the convenience of viewing the various proposals on a single page.
Which are the metasearch engines?
The main metasearch engines are Tripadvisor, Google and Trivago; let’s have a look at them in detail.
With over 375 million unique monthly visitors, TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site. TripAdvisor metasearch ads ensure your brand is prominent in searches that allow you to compete directly with hotels and OTAs.
Instant Book Advisor
The world’s largest OTA alternative now allows consumers to book directly from metasearch listings . This strategy is a powerful weapon in the arsenal of any hospitality company competing with the OTAs.
Google Hotel Ads
Google Hotel Finder is a great way to bring up your advertising in the Google product ecosystem. It can be displayed in search results and in Google Maps, making it an effective strategy to take advantage of the most popular search engine in the world.
Trivago is a metasearch engine based in Germany, with a strong market share in Europe and increasing popularity in the United States. Budget allocation to Trivago’s metasearch ads allows hotels to capture a large audience in an emerging platform.
How to promote your property?
Promoting yourself on metasearch engines is not easy at all. If the allocated budget is too low the ad may not be displayed, probably because the OTAs have invested more. If it is too high, and therefore the ad is displayed, you run the risk of spending too much for disintermediation.
The major online portals, such as Expedia and Booking, allocate huge budgets to gain visibility; however, they do it simultaneously for many structures throughout the world. It would therefore seem a struggle against unequal weapons, and, at first glance, it actually is.
If we analyse the subject thoroughly, however, it is not a “Mission Impossible”. To succeed in the purpose of making the most of metasearch engines, gaining visibility, and consequently disintermediate, a deep knowledge of these tools is required.
The magic formula that applies to everyone unfortunately does not exist. The variables involved are many, from the type of property to the size, from the number of rooms to the location, from the seasonality to the tourist trends, and I could go on for hours.
It is therefore necessary to start with a deep analysis of your own property. Who I am? What context am I in? What is my goal? And above all, how much am I willing to invest in order to reach this goal? The last question is fundamental as it will then allow you to evaluate the sustainability and the effective utility of the operation.
Once it has been established that the metasearch route can be useful you can move on to the analysis of the various providers.
At first metasearch engines were only marketing channels that did not charge commissions to hotels, but instead charged the booking sites a cost per click or visit received through them. In recent years the largest metasearch sites, such as TripAdvisor and Google are implementing booking and payment functions, such as OTAs, albeit with the differences of the case.
The metasearch engines and OTAs are often considered the same thing; in reality they differ from one another. Travellers use both platforms to search for hotels on the web. Metasearch engines are a great opportunity for accommodation managers to compete with OTAs and strengthen the direct sales channel.
The data shows that hotels are trying to take advantage of this opportunity and, if we have a look at the data on economic returns, we can confirm that the strategy, if correctly applied, can be effective. It is important to carefully analyse the various options based on the type of property that is managed, and always aim for a balanced investment among all the options .