Metasearch and Travel: Cross-Channel Optimizations

For 15 years, Online Travel Agents (OTAs) dominated the travel market. OTAs such as Expedia and Booking.com established a chain of keywords that ranked high in the search engines. The search was both powered by organic and paid methods. This allows any hotel that ranked higher in the search engines to get the clicks and increase the chance of bookings.

However, the metasearch channels have now gained the upper hand. Popular metasearch channels include Google, TripAdvisor, Trivago, and Kayak. These metasearch channels used local and global positioning strategies through which the behavior of the internet users was changed.

What are Metasearch Channels?

Metasearch seems to be quite a fancy name. However, as discussed in our previous blog post, these channels are just like search engines. A user puts in their requirements for what kind of travel options they are seeking and the channel will return multiple results from hotels meeting the user’s requirements. These results are then compiled in one place.

How Do Hotels Benefit from Metasearch?

Given how metasearch is causing disruption in the travel industry, hotels, resorts and other travel authorities have been forced to make connections with them. This connection ensures that the hotels and their offered travel packages are featured in the results. Metasearch channels help increase the number of clicks by directing the traffic towards the websites of the hotels.

Taking It Beyond Traffic Generation with Metasearch Channels

Over the years, hotels have realized that metasearch channels are not just a tool for lead generation. The reason is that achieving a specific number of clicks does not mean that people will actually book a travel package. This discussion can be taken into much more depth given that not all leads are quality leads. The gist of the situation is that hotels realized the need of formatting their marketing campaigns so as to generate actual bookings through the metasearch channels.

Benefits of Metasearch Cross-Channel Optimization

Here is how an hotelier can benefit from metasearch cross-channel optimization:
The number of metasearch channels is expanding. It is no surprise that hoteliers want to connect with them in order to optimize their current marketing strategy. The competition in the travel industry is always becoming tougher, especially given the disruption caused by metasearch channels. Cross-channel optimizations require strategy and testing between channels so hoteliers can manage multiple channels effectively.

Marketing campaigns need to be managed so as to get the required results. Managing each metasearch channel separately can cause mistakes. It will also be more complicated to determine how much success a hotelier is harnessing from each channel.

When there are multiple connections, there is big data as well. This data is quite significant to marketing research. Hoteliers need information on customer behavior and interaction to improve their marketing strategy.

How Metasearch Channels Affect Hotel Performance

Metasearch channels can be used way beyond lead generation. In order to benefit from them, metasearch channels must be viewed as marketing channels. An hotelier can increase their chances of direct booking if the elements of metasearch channel can be optimized.

Similar to Paid Search, each channel is evaluated and optimized accordingly. Let say the hotel would like to see each channel ROAS at 400% and above. TripAdvisor has much higher spend, but has a less efficient ROAS of 205%. Trivago on the other hand has much lower costs, yet the ROAS is much higher at 850%. Cross channel optimizations entail how we can improve TripAdvisor ROAS to meet client goals. By reducing bids and budget to TripAdvisor, and reallocating them to Trivago we can expect TripAdvisor ROAS to improve. As a result, you will likely see a decrease in Trivago. Hopefully remaining above the client 400% goal.

A metasearch channel can positively affect the performance if certain aspects are taken care of and accounted for. The hotel profile needs to be up to date. With cross-channel optimization, such activities are easier to conduct. On the other hand, never forget that metasearch channels toughen up the competition in the travel industry. This requires hotels to conduct regular rate parity checks. Determine where you can offer a better rate or how you can justify an increased cost.

One of the advantages of some metasearch channels is that hotels get access to real-time reviews. These reviews can either make or break the hotel. The reviews within the metasearch channels need management and evaluation.

It is also important to keep in mind that metasearch is bound to go through evolutionary stages. This will result in a more complex environment and also increase the demand for metasearch cross-channel optimization software. The increasing complexity of metasearch channels gives rise to the demand for better marketing strategies and improving budgets. Varying metasearch channels also have their unique approaches. Keeping up with each approach separately can heighten the pressure on marketing experts. Remember to consider each channel, test to find what works, and determine how to allocate budget and targeting in order to see improved performance across all channels.

Want to learn more on how Paid Search can help your business? Read our case study on how Revel Systems saw 429% increase in Lead Generation with a lower CPL.

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