2015 is shaping up as the year of travel metasearch.
While each site varies in style, presentation and ease of use, the goal of each metasearch website is the same: to search a maximum number of hotel sites to provide a maximum number of available hotels for their customer to choose from, for any given date. It’s time for hotels to rethink metasearch as not just a marketing and distribution channel, but also as a conversion tool that can help them to better compete against the OTAs.
Metasearch is becoming increasingly more prevalent in the standard hotel search and booking process. Traffic to metasearch sites has been steadily increasing with over 36% of online travellers using comparison sites to seek the best value before booking. This is evident from 13% growth in the metasearch traffic over the last year amongst varying age groups.
The increasing need for hotels to drive bookings towards direct channels and away from the OTAs has also led to the rise of travel metasearch sites. Travellers are often hit with 20+ sites before they make a booking decision. Metasearch and a strong brand website will provide a great opportunity in competing with OTAs to increase your direct bookings.
Including a direct-to-property booking link on metasearch channels gives hotels a better chance to capture guests as they comparison shop. While metasearch has made it possible for consumers to scour hundreds of booking sites for the best price, many travellers still prefer to book direct with the hotel for a flexible cancellation policy and the promise of better service and perks, but only if the price is comparable and the booking process is simple.
Metasearch should be included in hoteliers’ efforts to shift bookings away from the OTAs to their own direct channels. Now is the time to allocate a budget for metasearch marketing to fully leverage the direct booking trend.