Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Hotel Metasearch - Part 1

The online channels for hotel booking have become increasingly tangled and complex. Travel metasearch engines such as TripAdvisor, Trivago and Google have positioned themselves to capitalize on travel bookings, as opposed to merely providing information. They have done so by adding their own booking buttons directly on their sites, placing them in direct competition with online travel agencies. The Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) on the other hand have begun to show competitive results listings of hotels outside of their commission-based offerings, garnering referral fees in the process.


Complicating matters further, Google is now turning online hotel search on its head by offering enhanced search results and expanding their direct commission listings. This comes backed by the search giant’s massive data base. All of these developments may seem like a negative for hotels, but this is not necessarily

the case. Particularly in regards to competition for direct bookings, these evolutions may prove to be beneficial to hoteliers in their efforts to garner higher margins.

Benefits For Hotels From Metasearch


If approached carefully, metasearch can expose hotel properties to entirely new audiences without losing currently loyal OTA customers. It should never be seen as a end-all alternative to listing with OTAs, but rather another tool in gathering customers and directing them through the booking funnel. Ultimately, metasearch is more about marketing than distribution; in contrast to Online Travel Agencies.


The OTAs have become a necessary part of the hotel booking equation, providing hoteliers vast distribution possibilities. However, this comes at a significant expense in terms of fees charged the hotel for delivering guests to the front desk. Metasearch search engines contrastingly charge their travel industry customers around a less costly pay-per-click sales model.


Metasearch websites generally offer a more cost efficient method for bringing in new guests. But the possibility is always present that, through compelling marketing and consistent messaging, that the customer will be drawn away to book on the hotel’s own website. This outcome is clearly most beneficial to hoteliers, avoiding fees and commissions altogether. This scenario is much more likely on a metasearch site, than an OTA website.

Metasearch engines give hoteliers a platform for reaching their audience directly as well. This comes in the form of encouragement by hotels to their guests to write reviews and ratings, and then in-turn the hotel’s responses to their feedback and questions. This also provides a service to future potential guests who may read these reviews and make a booking decision based upon them.

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