Is this the shortest path to a direct booking?

What is metasearch advertising? A channel by channel guide to understanding the metasearch landscape

Hotel Marketers trying to understand WHEN to invest, WHERE to invest and even HOW to invest in metasearch ads have found themselves a little glossy-eyed as they stare at yet another steep learning curve.

We’ll take an introductory look at Metasearch with a channel by channel look at how metasearch ads work.

When hotel marketers talk metasearch, sometimes language gets in the way. So the first thing we need to do to understand metasearch in 2019 is, well, define our language.

For instance, metasearch is NOT the same thing as metasearch advertising.

What is metasearch for hotels?

Metasearch for hotels is the standard aggregation of a hotel’s rates in a search engine. NOTE: This will happen whether you are advertising or not.

What does that mean?

That means the OTAs will display their rates to consumers searching your hotel name. And guess what? Your official website direct booking rate WILL NOT be displayed unless you pay to advertise.

What is metasearch advertising for hotels?

Metasearch advertising for hotels is how hotels pay to display their book direct rate within the metasearch results.

Why would a hotel pay to display rates in metasearch results?

Good question: A hotel marketer would leverage metasearch ads so that users book direct (through their vanity site or instead of booking through the OTAs.

Sound familiar? 

Yes, we’re still fighting the same old fight against the OTAs. It’s a tale as old as time. Just like we fight the OTAs in paid search results, trying to drive traffic to our vanity site.

NOW, we fight to display rates. Take a look at how metasearch results display in Google.

Google Metasearch Results


When a hotel pays to advertise on Metasearch, those rates are displayed right next to the rates of the OTAs. How they display is important because…

Now a traveller can shop rates from all channels in ONE location and in ONE easy search.

A traveller shopping rates doesn’t have to go to TripAdvisor, then Expedia, then to the hotel site to compare rates. Hoteliers need to stop and pay attention to this.

Because a shorter path to a DIRECT BOOKING is making metasearch advertising a top contender for your ad dollars.

Where do metasearch ads display?

Metasearch Ads appear on all devices across multiple channels such as Google Hotel Ads, Tripadvisor, Kayak, Trivago, Wego and more.

Below is a visual breakdown of THE BIG THREE: Google, TripAdvisor, and Kayak.

1. Metasearch on Google

If a user searches the NAME OF A PROPERTY on Google, here’s what they will likely see:

Breakdown of Google Search Results


Things to note:

1. Notice how the hotel metasearch ad is designated with the official site label. If a user clicks on the ad, they can be taken directly in the hotel’s booking engine.

2. Rates are displayed right next to each other for easy comparison.

3. If a hotel is out of rate parity, the search results make that readily apparent to the consumer.

2. Metasearch on TripAdvisor

Metasearch advertising gives the hotel the option of running ads on a variety of platforms at once. For instance, advertisers can select Google and TripAdvisor but opt out of running ads on Wego or Kayak.

Here’s a breakdown of Metasearch results on TripAdvisor when a user searches by HOTEL NAME.

Breakdown of TripAdvisor Metasearch Results


Things to note:

  1. Rates are once again listed in direct competition.
  2. Rates listed in primary results have greater visibility than rates listed in secondary results.  Not only does the hotel need to pay to turn up in search results, but the hotel needs to bid high enough to get primary placement.
3. Metasearch on Kayak

When a user searches by HOTEL NAME on KAYAK, here’s what they will likely see.

Breakdown of KAYAK Metasearch Results


Things to note:

Like TripAdvisor, KAYAK has primary and secondary results. The secondary placements are not visible in the initial search, the user must first click to reveal all rates.


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