In the online hotel distribution landscape, we all have seen the rise of metasearch. It has significantly changed the way hotels are selling their rooms online and how travelers are researching to find the right hotel at the right price.
The power of hotel metasearch engines is evident from these recent statistics:
- Metasearch sites account for around 45% of global unique visitors
- Around 72% of travelers use metasearch sites during their pre-booking activity
- Around 39% of millennials use metasearch to compare hotel pricing
- About 63% of hotels in the US and 58% in Europe have received direct bookings through one or more of the metasearch systems.
- Metasearch is driving around 13% of the total online room revenue for independent properties in the US
- Nearly 25% of independent hotels in the US and Europe see metasearch as a tool to reduce dependency on OTAs
- If you aren’t already using metasearch for your independent hotel, now is the right time to consider it!
Why should you work with metasearch?
Even if you publish your best room rates on your website, but you are not bidding on metasearch engine ad space, your direct rates won’t be visible to potential bookers. However, even without you participating in the bidding campaign, your OTA partners will show your rates. With your absence, they will get bookings for you and you need to pay them booking commission ranging from 20% to 30%.
Now just imagine – if you had done your bidding on metasearch, travelers would have discovered your website rate, and most likely, they would have directly booked with you. Here too, you have to pay as per your cost-per-click (the position you bid for) to metasearch. But that is way below what you generally pay to OTAs. With such a low cost of acquisition, is it not it a great way for you to drive cost-effective direct booking?
What to do about it?
To start with, understand your independent hotel’s unique requirements. Know your target audience and choose the right metasearch platform accordingly. The metasearch engine you choose should generate highly qualified traffic with good conversion rates. Since, the booker would be coming to your website booking engine to finish the final booking process, make sure the same is user-friendly and mobile optimized. Work on improving the conversion rate of your website booking engine page. Update your property description with attractive images and other related information. Moreover, you need to ensure that you have a healthy online reputation and score. Metasearch sites do consider your hotel’s rating index while positioning ads.
Focus on smart bid management
Each metasearch platform’s cost-per-click model varies from the other. You can also negotiate with some of them based on the volume of clicks you want to receive. If you are new to the game, don’t bid for the top position. It might get you visibility and clicks, but what if it doesn’t convert into direct booking. You still have to pay for the click and your costs will go up. And if your bid is too low, your listing won’t be visible among top positions even if your room rates are low. You need to strike a balance by bidding for a slightly lower average position while keeping your prices low. This could get you a better ROI at lower costs.