A Deep Dive Into Metasearch Marketing
Capture travelers throughout the path to purchase with metasearch.
Having a strong multichannel marketing strategy is important to capture travelers all the way throughout the path to purchase, from dreaming to booking. Inspire them to learn more about you when they’re dreaming and scrolling on Facebook, search engine marketing (SEM), video, or display. Then, as travelers narrow down their trip dates and are in the planning and booking stages, your metasearch ads influence them to book directly with you.
It is why we recommend all hoteliers consider adding this channel to their marketing strategy, so they are top of mind and their hotel ads are displayed when the traveler is ready to book. In fact, metasearch is arguably one of the most important channels for hotel marketers–2 out of 3 independent hotels receive direct bookings from metasearch engines. 75% of travelers are believed to use metasearch engines in their search process.
Metasearch is a marketing or acquisition channel that drives qualified traffic to your website. Think of sites like Trivago, Kayak, Tripadvisor, and Google Hotel Ads. A metasearch engine gathers results from several other search engines and produces its own combined results list. For a traveler, they function as a rate comparison platform, allowing them to view an aggregated list of hotel room rates.
Travelers can quickly see room availability, as well as the rates offered on different platforms, all in one place. Metasearch often gets confused with OTAs like Expedia, Orbitz, and Booking.com. The key to knowing the difference is who owns the customer relationship. With metasearch, a direct booking is driven to your website and you own the relationship. With an OTA, the transaction is happening on their website, and they’ll handle all cancellations and modifications, and you lose the chance to upsell and engage directly.
Additionally, it becomes difficult to manage customer expectations, which can lead to misguided experiences when they arrive at your hotel.There are plenty of metasearch sites to choose from, and they vary in specialization. TripAdvisor and Trivago, for example, focus on hotels, while Kayak, Wego, and Skyscanner’s core products are flights. A vendor like Sojern helps travel marketers advertise across seven different metasearch sites because each of them has their own pricing, ranking, and bidding logic.
Most of the metasearch publishers are managed on a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) basis, but other models emerged in 2020, such as commission per booking and commission per stay. Needless to say, there are many options and a lot to think about when running metasearch on your own, which is why many hoteliers choose a trusted partner.
Once you’re up and running on the necessary metasearch sites, the booking process is simple for the traveler.
In Sojern’s case, we’re highly focused on multichannel advertising, so we track performance across all of your campaign channels to avoid duplicate conversion counting.
The example below is a good guideline, but keep in mind that if your hotel isn’t receiving a fair share of direct bookings before implementing metasearch, this number can be higher.
It’s important to note that rates are pulled dynamically from a different source of inventory and adapted to the user’s location (taxes, currency). This is why rate parity–maintaining a consistent rate across all distribution channels–is crucial for hoteliers. Whatever rates you are sending to the OTAs must be updated everywhere to ensure success.
Display the Best Available Rate (BAR) within the first two results on your webpage and prevent a potential booker from having to scroll for it. While it’s tempting to drive them to your most expensive room rates, the experience is better when they are driven to the same rate you are advertising on metasearch.
Google My Business helps you manage all that important information your guests are looking for like location, phone numbers, loyalty offerings, amenity details, and reviews. The more visible you are, the more brand awareness you’re getting.
Want to learn more about metasearch? Check out our Digital 101: Metasearch for Travel Marketers webinar where we partnered with Google to deep dive into the anatomy of a metasearch ad, campaign bidding strategies, and more. If you'd like some help running metasearch, or are interested in running metasearch on a Pay on the Stay commission model with Sojern, get in touch with an expert today.
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“With any product and service, you have to spend time and resources to grow your customer base. Sojern provides us with an extremely effective way to increase our direct bookings and maximize guest lifetime value. The platform delivers impressive results, achieved with minimal time and resources invested by the team. It's a great product and service that I never have to sell to ownership–the results speak for themselves. Sojern seamlessly integrates into our marketing distribution, freeing us up to focus on other initiatives. When a program performs this well, I know we're making the right marketing investments.”
“Sojern is the top performing conversion partner that we've run for travel specific activities. I would definitely recommend investigating how to work with Sojern to my agency peers with travel clients. Their team is really proactive, and very quick on everything we need. We value the great quality in terms of reports and support the team provides, and on top of that, we also see activities perform incredibly well. So clearly, there's a lot going on in the back end to make sure we're hitting and meeting all of Sandals’ KPIs.”
“We were seeking a partner that could help us increase our direct booking share and reach, as well as overcome seasonality challenges. We looked at Sojern, which was very well recommended, and I can definitely say we made the right choice. Working with Sojern is so easy and reliable and the entire process is incredibly smooth and straightforward. Since joining Sojern we consistently convert new guests looking to visit the Caribbean, regardless of seasonality.”
“Working with Sojern, it’s not just a cookie-cutter solution, as Sojern listens to our needs and recommends what’s best for our hotel. We have someone to bounce ideas off of, and Sojern gives us a higher-level perspective on how we can get the best value for our investment.”
“We love the simplicity of the solution and how clearly we can see results. The technology works so well that it leaves us to do our other day-to-day jobs. We are seeing increased interest in our superior and deluxe rooms as a result, which is improving the overall average booking value. I think we will be long-time customers for as long as Sojern continues to perform the way it does today!”
We’re ready to help you take the guesswork out of your digital marketing. Contact us to tap into the travel industry’s most intelligent marketing platform.