What Are Travel Meta Search Engines and How it Impacts Travel Agencies?

Travel-Metasearch-Engines

Travel metasearch engines have been around for some time. But, recently, it has become one of the hottest trends in the travel industry as more and more travelers are choosing it as their preferred method for finding and comparing prices.

In this blog, let’s find out how travel metasearch engines can help your hotel gain more online visibility and sell more rooms.

What is a Travel Meta Search Engine?

A travel metasearch engine is a price comparison website that compares hotel rates from different sources across the internet, OTAs (online travel agents) or directly from hotels. It must be noted that these metasearch engines are not a booking channel. They are merely a platform through which booking channels can market themselves.

The business model of travel metasearch engines is similar to most digital advertising platforms. They earn money through CPC (cost per click), CPI (cost per impression), CPA (cost per acquisition) and hybrid ads (a combination of CPC and CPA).

According to Koddi, these are the top 10 metasearch markets in the world.

  • US
  • UK
  • France
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • India
  • Brazil
  • Spain
  • Mexico

What Are the Top 5 Travel Meta Search Engines?

Here are some of the most famous travel metasearch engines.

 TrivagoKayakSkyscannerGoogle Hotel AdsTripadvisor
Founded20052004200220002000
LocationGermany
United States

United Kingdom

United States

United States

No of areas served

55
WorldwideWorldwide100Worldwide

Owned by

Expedia group

Priceline group
CtripGoogleTripadvisor
Quotes by founders“We’re a company with so much
focus on learning that, whatever
happens in the future, we will
always be able to adapt.”
- Rolf Schrömgens
“We want to be the app you
can’t live without. I want people
to think of travel and go straight
to Kayak, not Google because
Kayak is better.”
- Steve Hafner
“Hotels and airlines spend millions, if not billions, on their brands and on the experience and contact with the customer. It’s important that metasearch doesn’t interfere with that.” - - Shane Corstorphine“From our perspective, we see
flight search as an upper-funnel
product and hotels as a
lower-funnel product, and our
revenue story is that Hotel Ads
is the key revenue driver in the
travel space.”
- Oliver Heckmann
“We have all of the major domestic hotel chains on board and we continue to sign up individual hotels and additional chains around the globe. We pretty much have the Instant Book option on almost every hotel that matters, already. Either directly or through one of their suppliers.” - - Stephen Kaufer

How Are Travel Metasearch Engines Changing the Industry?

Initially, travel engines aggregated rates by gathering them from sites across the internet so that consumers can compare it before making a final decision. Their main partners were OTAs such as Expedia and Priceline. But due to a complicated setup process and campaign management, many hoteliers avoided using the medium.

Things have changed now. Most hotels can easily get listed depending on the booking engine. For example, instant booking features where users remain on the metasearch site to book has produced a hybrid online booking environment.

One of the biggest changes is being driven by the search giant Google. When it comes to traffic growth and CPC, Google Hotel Ads is overtaking other metas. The search giant has integrated rates into Google maps. They are way ahead of the game and their meta is the most preferred choice for travelers. As more and more vendors get listed on Google Hotel Ads, Google will have more power to dictate the booking preference in the years to come. Hoteliers must maximize this channel or else it will cause a decrease in direct bookings.

Now, the online world is slowly shifting to voice-based search. The major meta-search engines are beginning to create their presence on Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. Hoteliers who are worried about this shift can rest assured that metasearch engines will come to the rescue.

Why Should Hotels Get Listed in Travel Metasearch Engines?

Marketplaces that compare prices which vendors offer help consumers make an informed decision. Every consumer wants to feel like they are doing their due diligence before choosing a price. By listing on metasearch engines, hoteliers can give users the knowledge that they are getting a great deal.

Moreover, listing hotels in metasearch engines is not only about growing revenue. It gives hotels a chance to engage with an entirely new set of customers.

PACE Dimensions’ analyzed 10,000 travel websites and found out that metasearch accounts for over 45% of global unique visitors in travel. This number is greater than the number of unique visitors for OTAs in the US.

Metasearch is a valuable space for hotels because it gives them a greater opportunity to compete with bigger travel agencies and get more direct bookings. Plus, they can spend their marketing budget in an efficient way because the bidding system gives hotels control over how they show up with other competitors. Over time, it will give them more freedom to adjust the marketing strategy and increase ROI.

Within 10 years, the hotel metasearch has progressed into a sector that generates $6 billion in advertising. Metasearch engines such as Google Hotel Ads and Tripadvisor is becoming a one-stop-shop for researching and booking hotels. So, it is the perfect time for hotels to start investing in metasearch.

Interesting Statistics About Travel Meta Search Engines

Mirai, an expert in hotel distribution gathered many important data which depicts the growing importance of travel metasearch engines. Here are some of the major findings.

1. Investment made in ads (Google & Bing) vs metasearch engines.

Meta-Search-Stats-Per-Year

2. Number of times the investment in metasearch grows than ads.

Investment-in- Metasearch-Grows-than-ads.

3. How metasearch engines are dominating the traditional ads?

4. Dominance of Google Hotel Ads over others

Google-Hotel-Ads-Over-Others

5. How Google is the leading company in terms of investment

Weight-of-Companies-Receiving-Investement

What Are the Pros and Cons of Travel Meta Search Engines?

Travel metasearch engines have its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s find out about them.

Pros

  • Improved online brand visibility and better ROI
  • Lists all the hotel rates in one place
  • Price transparency
  • Provides reviews in one place which helps customers to make better decisions
  • Always displays the best rates
  • Increased direct channel bookings

Cons

  • Cost of getting listed on meta appears to be excessive for some hoteliers
  • No proper customer service or support to solve disputes
  • Amount of choice can be overwhelming to customers
  • Managing the marketing department adds extra responsibility

Before you make the decision to list your hotel on metasearch engines, you must take the above points into consideration. Do you have help to manage your campaigns? Does your budget permit the allocation of third-party optimization services? And are you prepared to pay commission fees for direct booking?

If you don’t have a team of marketers, you will not be able to manage the volume of work required to rank high in the metasearch engines. In such situations, you can outsource the work to get instant advertising expertise from professionals who can offer focused attention on a daily basis. If you are looking for such kind of assistance, you can get help from our digital marketing experts at ColorWhistle.

In Conclusion, Travel Metasearch Engines is Going To Be a Real Game Changer

Travel metasearch engines will help hoteliers to reign control of their distribution pricing. This means that hotels must take serious steps to create a strong presence in meta sites.

But, hoteliers take an off-hands approach. Many are in the mindset that once they are listed, bookings will keep flowing. This is a misconception. Hoteliers must start thinking of meta sites as an online advertising platform.

Since meta sites work with real-time data, dynamic price marketing is gaining momentum. To succeed, advertising budgets must be set on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Most meta sites offer real-time bid management and ROAS (Return On Advertisement Spending) tracking. So, you can easily measure how well your marketing dollars are being spent.

Even though travel metasearch engines are changing the hotel marketing game, clients do not get a complete value proposition. For hoteliers, driving traffic is the only part role in this equation. Positive reviews and word of mouth is still essential for building trust.

In addition to spending and managing budget, listen to the needs of customers and promptly address the negative feedback in these mediums. Above all, make sure that your hotel is offering true value and amazing service to your customers.

ColorWhistle’s agility in learning travel tech helps to keep our consumers ahead of the curve. If you need any help in travel website development for your travel agency don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to help.

Which travel metasearch engines are you using to advertise your hotel? Share your experience in the comments section below.

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About the Author - Anjana

Anjana has been a ghostwriter for the past two years working with writing challenged clients. Currently, she is a copywriter at ColorWhistle managing content-related projects. She also writes SEO articles for businesses that want to get a good search engine ranking. To write distinctly creative and unique content, she collaborates with the website design and digital marketing team.

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