THE PRICE IS RIGHT
For example, even before the pandemic started, RetailMeNot published an intriguing survey on the psychology of the shopping experience, highlighting the fact that 62% of consumers “cannot complete a purchase before searching for an offer.”
The paradigm can be applied to our industry as well, and the tendency is confirmed by a recent Eye for Travel publication, which found that a staggering 94% of travelers use metasearch sites to compare hotel rates and find the best deal. Never like now, therefore, metasearch advertising should be implemented in your hotel marketing strategy. I would go as far as stating that metasearch should be your primary advertising channel.
A DECADE OF POST-SEARCH
There are numerous advantages in implementing a solid metasearch advertising plan, and -virtually- any property can benefit from it, both in terms of return-on-investment and increased brand awareness.
Metasearch engines are becoming such a crucial strategic factor, that many in our industry even started questioning whether these platforms should no longer be considered advertising channels, but rather distribution ones. Having been operating in the hotel metasearch advertising landscape since its early days, over a decade ago, I’ve had the privilege to monitor the evolution of each engine closely.
Our metasearch management platform –Meta I/O– currently connects over 10,000 properties worldwide, providing us with enough information to isolate recurring patterns among our customers. Based on our data, here are the main advantages of investing in metasearch advertising today:
10 REASONS TO INVEST IN METASEARCH ADVERTISING:
#1 Metasearch advertising is the best option to channel-shift revenue from OTAs to direct.
When travelers are looking for your brand online, in fact, they are at the bottom of the funnel, meaning that they’re very close to the actual transaction. It is not surprising, therefore, that the metasearch advertising’s average ROI for our clients is usually higher than all the other campaigns’ (classic search engine ads, display, affiliate marketing, OTAs native ads, etc.);
#2 Metasearch advertising generates incremental revenue.
Additionally, metasearch advertising generates incremental revenue. Google, for example, allows advertisers to run, on top of the classic booking link campaigns, property promotion ads (PPA), to “increase consideration of their property by promoting it into a prominent position in hotel search results,” and so do Tripadvisor and trivago. This means that hoteliers can target their potential guests even during the first stages of the search, and increase their brand awareness;
#3 Metasearch advertising is virtually risk-free:
Most campaigns, in fact, can be run on a commission-based / pay-per-stay model. While the average OTA commission is between 15% and 30% of the value of the booked stay (not to mention additional discounts, such as Booking.com Genius promos, Expedia member rates, mobile discounts, etc.), metasearch engines require a more modest investment. TripAdvisor charges between 12% and 16%, trivago provides a “high/low” switch, and Google offers advertisers complete freedom over the commission rate they wish to apply;
#4 Metasearch advertising is highly sophisticated, making it a great tool in the hands of revenue managers.
Especially on Google, advertisers can pick from several bidding multipliers, and bid higher or lower for factors such as location, LoS, check-in day of the week, booking window, device, and check-in date. Our Sales & Marketing Director, Christophe Pereira, wrote an extensive piece on this topic;
#5 Metasearch engines play a role in every touchpoint of the traveler’s journey.
It is not uncommon for a user to visit multiple metasearch engines before making a booking. Being visible with your IBE on as many metasearch engines as possible, therefore, dramatically increases your chances of getting booked;
#6 Metasearch advertising is easy to implement.
While most traditional campaigns require long setups, tweaking, and testing, metasearch ads can be up and running in just a matter of days. It’s almost a Plug&Play approach: as long as you pick the right technology partner, feeding metasearch engines with your ARI is a pretty straightforward process;
#7 Metasearch advertising is flexible.
There are multiple approaches to optimizing your ads. Hoteliers can choose whether to invest in PPC to minimize cost of sales and maximize ROI, or play it safe and pick the commission model. Even better: advertisers can apply a CPC approach for a specific market and a Pay per Stay one for another, or switch between the two based on variables such as seasonality, ADR, pick-up, etc.;
#8 Metasearch advertising is free.
Well, at least some of it. As you may already know, back in March 2021, Google launched “free booking links.” Thanks to this implementation, even properties that are not running GHA campaigns can now benefit from Google’s metasearch engine additional brand exposure, by organically showing their best rate to travelers. While I am writing this article, moreover, Google is running a few beta-tests to increase the visibility of these organic links;
#9 Automation can boost your ROI.
Because of the high bidding sophistication of the metasearch campaigns, advertising managers have to make many crucial decisions to get the best out of their strategies. The application of automation can dramatically improve your ROI, by optimizing your campaigns and reducing the manual workload needed, and adapt the smart automated bidding strategy based on your business objectives;
#10 No click is wasted.
Metasearch advertising is inventory-triggered: the ad will not show up if you don’t have available rooms for a specific date. When you run classic search ads, on the other hand, you simply pay for the click or the impression, whether the traveler finds availability or not, which is why metasearch advertising is the safest arrow in your marketing’s quiver.
TO META AND BEYOND
The term “meta” comes from the Greek, μετά, which can be translated to “after” or “beyond.” Semantically speaking, therefore, when we talk about metasearch, we refer to something which lies beyond the traditional concept of search itself. The very notion of metasearch is, per se, transcendent: it redefines the way we act online. That is why I was not surprised when Zuckerberg announced his company’s rebranding. We are living in a post-search world, and hotel marketing is no exception. So, if you’re still skeptical about investing in metasearch advertising for your property, it’s probably the right time to review your strategic priorities. 10,000 + of our clients already did that. Can they all be wrong?
At WIHP, we ensure you have access to a transparent and universal metasearch platform, easy to integrate with most booking engines, enabling you to extend your metasearch campaign capabilities. Get in touch today and explore how we can help you boost your Direct Booking.