Meta-search engines a marketing channel or a distribution channel!


Starting with a big fallacy that hospitality industry is believing is ‘my hotel is listed on a meta-search platform(Google Hotel Finder or TripAdvisor) then the job is done and reservations will keep on coming. ‘This industry-wide misconception is the main reason why some major hotel brands and some third-party booking engine vendors operate meta-search as a distribution channel, utilizing a commission model (cost-per-acquisition model), thus depriving their member hotels or hotel clients from serious direct online revenues.

Meta-search is not a distribution channel, nor is it a ‘set and forget’ marketing initiative. It is, in fact, an online advertising format that requires real-time room availability and pricing feed. This new advertising format requires daily spend and bid management, daily reaction to what other advertisers are doing, monitoring of budget spend on a daily basis and monitoring of rate parity (that is often abused by the OTAs).

For instance, since only the top three positions on TripAdvisor and the top two for Google Hotel Finder matter on any property profile page on these sites, just being enabled means nothing since OTAs would surely push the property down or out of the pricing ad menu. This is why many hotels rarely see themselves in the Google Hotel Finder meta-search pricing menus or among the top three features advertisers in the TripAdvisor meta-search menu.

Meta-search marketing must be part of hotelier’s concerted efforts to shift share from the OTAs to the direct online channel – in other words to the hotel website. In addition to other fundamentals such as website redesigns, SEO, SEM, online media and retargeting, emails marketing and social media, meta-search marketing is an important tool to help hoteliers lessen their dependency on the OTAs and drive more direct bookings through the property website.’

Channel manager insight:

Implement a booking engine that is connected with the meta-search engines and allows redirection to your website or to the URL for direct bookings.



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