The past year has shifted the landscape of the hotel industry, including how travelers go about researching and booking their accommodations. Both individual properties and management companies have a number of options to reach potential travelers, ranging from display and search advertising to email marketing campaigns. But one of the fastest-growing hospitality marketing efforts is metasearch marketing.
What is metasearch marketing?
Metasearch is a marketing effort that we’ve seen our clients achieve great results with in the past 6-9 months, including returns on ad spends of 10x or higher. In many cases, metasearch marketing is even out-performing traditional pay-per-click (PPC) results for both individual hotels as well as management companies.
You may ask yourself: What is metasearch marketing? Metasearch isn’t the easiest marketing channel to understand. The best way to think about metasearch marketing is the area on metasearch engines like Google, TripAdvisor or Kayak that showcase your hotel property and pulls in rate and inventory information. These features are a great tool for consumers to see information pulled together, so they don’t have to go hunting around looking at different travel sites. There are major benefits for hotels too.
Benefits of a hotel metasearch campaign
With metasearch marketing, you get a seat at the table. In the instance above, you can see Goodwin Hotel is listed alongside their online travel agencies (OTAs) and booking site competitors. This is thanks to their ability to run a metasearch campaign. If Goodwin Hotel wasn’t doing metasearch, the interactive panel would disappear and the only option for the consumer would be OTAs.
With metasearch marketing, you’re able to achieve visibility and, in some cases, even out-rank the OTAs. Ultimately, this helps drive bookings direct to your website, helping shift a booking from a third-party to direct—something that’s beneficial to you and your company’s bottom line.
How to drive hotel bookings with metasearch
So, you’re ready to try metasearch for your hotel but don’t know where to begin. The idea of metasearch is enticing, but running a campaign comes with complexities.
Google has a number of tools to help properties get set up, but you’ll want to make sure you run campaigns on other sites like Tripadvisor and Trivago. Beyond that, there are a number of complex features and bidding strategies to understand.
Even after you choose where to run metasearch campaigns, you’ll need to understand what goes into all of the available metasearch channels, including how to set things up and how to integrate with your online booking engine or CRS. After you’re set up, you need to better understand the numerous cost and bidding models ranging from cost-per-click (CPC) to commission-based models. The wrong decision can backfire, causing your campaigns to underperform, so it’s important to weigh your options.
Many individual hotel properties and management companies work with a hospitality marketing company to provide strategy and execution. A good partner can answer questions about the best bid strategy or cost model that makes the most sense for your hotel or how you can best supplement your other marketing efforts.
The competition to be discovered by travelers is heightened as the hospitality industry makes a comeback in 2021, and there is no doubt that metasearch marketing is one of the top tools to be top-of-page and top-of-mind as people begin booking.