Invest in Metasearch Marketing to drive direct business

Meta-search is the fastest growing sector in travel and a further enhancement to the consumer experience in terms of convenience and ease of booking. OTA’s are very good at seizing upon trends as they emerge to survive and the hospitality industry must do the same or get left further behind.

The Meta-search Insight Report argues that hotel brands must invest heavily in the big Meta-search players, TripAdvisor, Kayak and Google, in order to stay relevant. Brands that gain top placement within these search engines see dramatic increases in Web site traffic.

A Meta-search engine is a search tool that sends user requests to several other search engines and aggregates the results into a single list and prioritises the results.  Brands that pay for placement will be highly visible, while brands that ignore the engines will be hard to find.

Although consumers still visit OTAs, meta-search engines are gaining ground as they provide a comparison of price per property pitching OTA’s and direct property websites against each other in front of the consumer.

This is an exciting development for the industry as it can utilise emerging technology in their favour to direct more traffic back to them directly.

This is where rate parity currently is more important than ever because if all sites appear to the consumer at the same price they have nothing to base their decision on which one to go with as no particular OTA can offer them any better deal than going direct.

In order to maximise the benefit of this technology the property’s direct website needs to be sitting up their in the list (ideally at the top) along with the OTA’s. If rate parity isn’t maintained and the customer can see a better rate than the property direct this will forever encourage them to search away from your direct website.

The lowest rate on the market given by a property to a third party website becomes your new Best Available Rate (BAR).

OTA’s have wanted rate parity up until now to get the customers to book through their channels, however with meta-search the only thing that will stand them out from a competitor directly in the customers eyes is the lowest price. Therefore they will continue to push for exclusive one off deals or no rate parity.

Hotels have the opportunity to pay to be visable on meta-search (invest in meta-search ad spend) and ideally as an industry have a clause where their own website can have rates equal to or lower than the best rate issued to third party sites that is set by the property.

Both OTA’s and Properties can invest in cost per click campaigns to drive traffic to their sites and the success measurement will be in whoever has the best ability to convert clicks to bookings.

– The Metasearch Insight Report is uploaded in the Members Area as well



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