Hotel metasearch engines provide an excellent opportunity for those in the hotel industry to reach a wider number of customers. This is because many potential guests turn to these platforms for price comparison purposes before making a booking. In this article, you will find out more about these platforms, along with a list of some of the most popular hotel metasearch engines you should look to connect with in order to boost your bookings.
- What are Hotel Metasearch Engines?
- What is the Difference Between Hotel Metasearch Engines and OTAs?
- List of Hotel Metasearch Engines to Boost Your Hotels Bookings
- How to Connect Your Hotel to A Hotel Metasearch Engine?
- How Can I Promote My Property on Hotel Metasearch Engines?
- Tips to Increase Bookings Through Hotel Metasearch Engines
- List of Online Travel Agents to Increase Your Hotel Bookings
- The Most Important Distribution Channel for Your Hotel
- More Distribution Tips to Optimise Revenue
What are Hotel Metasearch Engines?
A metasearch engine is an online search tool, which draws its results from several other search engines and produces its own combined results list. Hotel metasearch engines tend to function as rate-shopper platforms, allowing users to view an aggregated list of hotel room mates, drawing from online travel agents and web search platforms.
This allows users to see room availability, as well as the rates offered on different platforms, all from a single list. For customers, this makes it easier to book a hotel room for the lowest price, while for hotels, it represents another important online distribution channel, alongside OTAs and your own hotel website.
What is the Difference Between Hotel Metasearch Engines and OTAs?
There remains significant confusion within the hotel industry about how hotel metasearch engines differ from online travel agents. Despite this, the two concepts are distinct. In simple terms, OTAs sell products, services or inventory on behalf of providers. Examples of providers include hotels, airlines, car rental companies and similar businesses.
The OTA will charge the provider a commission fee, in exchange for completing the sale. Hotels use OTAs to expand their reach and the commission is seen as a price worth paying for the extra demand. Hotels may connect with the OTA directly, or via one of the global distribution systems the OTA uses to make its bookings.
By contrast, metasearch engines work by drawing results from other search engines, such as OTAs, and presenting the information in one place. Customers cannot typically book directly from the metasearch engine, because they do not usually sell inventory. Instead, customers click through to an OTA or other platform and book their room there.
There are a variety of ways hotel metasearch engines make money. For example, some receive a percentage of the commission an OTA receives when a sale is made, while others sell advertising space on a cost-per-click basis.
List of Hotel Metasearch Engines to Boost Your Hotels Bookings
There are a number of hotel metasearch engines that your hotel can connect with, in order to expand your reach and boost your hotel bookings. Below, you will find seven of the most significant and popular examples.
Google Hotel Ads launched in 2011 under the name Google Hotel Finder and is integrated with the wider Google search engine. As a result, hotel ads – complete with price comparisons from different OTAs – feature within relevant Google search results pages and while using Google Maps. For many people, Google is the default starting point when searching for travel products, so it is a key hotel metasearch engine, which generates huge traffic.
Click here for more information about Google Hotel ads.
Founded in Düsseldorf, Germany in 2005, Trivago is owned by Expedia Group and operates in more than 50 different global markets. The platform serves as a hotel price comparison website and is one of the largest hotel metasearch engines in the world, offering comparisons from more than a million hotels and over 250 different global booking platforms. The company makes money by selling CPC advertising space to hoteliers and hotel booking platforms.
Click here for more information about Trivago.
TripAdvisor was founded in 2000 and has its headquarters in Massachusetts in the United States. It started life as a travel review website and still functions in this way, but has also emerged as a metasearch engine too, covering a variety of different travel products, including hotels. This means customers can easily check reviews and compare prices on the platform. Again, much of its income is generated through offering cost-per-click advertising space.
Click here for more information about Tripadvisor.
Kayak is a metasearch engine, which is available in more than 30 countries. The website launched in 2005 and was purchased by Booking Holdings – the parent company of Booking.com – back in 2013. It is able to display results for more than 2 million properties, drawing its results from hundreds of third-party websites and platforms. Kayak is also notable for its review feature, which ensures that users only see genuine reviews from verified hotel guests.
Click here for more information about Kayak.
Another subsidiary of Booking Holdings, HotelsCombined is based in Sydney, Australia and aggregates room rates and review scores from various online platforms, including the main online travel agents. It is also especially well-known for its reach. In fact, HotelsCombined is currently available in more than 200 countries and in 40 different languages. A hotelier programme also allows those in the hotel industry to manage and keep their own listing page updated.
Click here for more information about HotelsCombined.
Wego was initially launched in 2005 and is based in Singapore. It currently offers support for users in more than 50 countries, although its core markets are Asia Pacific, the Middle East and India. Results are generated by searching OTAs like Booking.com, Priceline, Agoda and Trip.com, along with platforms like Airbnb and Hostelworld. However, in addition, those in the hospitality industry can also keep their own property listing updated.
Click here for more information about Wego.
Skyscanner is owned by the Trip.com Group, and is based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The company was founded in 2003 and, as the name suggests, it began as a metasearch engine for comparing flight prices. However, it has since expanded to include other price comparisons too. The SkyScanner Hotels service was launched in 2014 and hotels can connect to the service directly, or via GDS systems, central reservation systems or channel managers.
Click here for more information about Skyscanner.
For your hotel to show up in results pages generated by hotel metasearch engines, you will need to connect your hotel to online travel agents, like Booking.com, Priceline and Expedia. However, due to the way OTAs optimise and provide information to metasearch engines, it is important to connect to multiple OTAs and to prioritise those in your local market and in key markets you are looking to target. Doing so will maximise your chances of showing up in results.
On top of this, some metasearch engines allow you to create a profile for your hotel, continuously manage the content on it, and use services like direct advertisements and performance monitoring. Many platforms will also allow you to connect directly, so that you can exchange information on room rates and availability.
How Can I Promote My Property on Hotel Metasearch Engines?
When it comes to actually promoting your property, there are different options available and individual metasearch engines differ in terms of their approach. The three main options are as follows:
In the vast majority of cases, hotel metasearch campaigns that operate through an advertising model will be paid for on a cost-per-click basis. This means that your hotel advertisement is displayed by the metasearch engine when relevant search queries are made, and users then click on the advertisement to go to your website.
The key advantage of this approach is that you only pay when the advertisement is clicked, meaning you are not charged when the advert is displayed but fails to attract interest. However, it is important to set the right prices to achieve a high conversion rate, or else you risk paying for ad clicks that do not actually generate sales.
With a commission-based metasearch campaign, your hotel does not pay for advertising space, but instead pays a commission fee on room sales that are generated through hotel metasearch engines. Put simply, this means paying metasearch engines a percentage of the money the customer pays to complete their booking.
The precise percentage that hotels are required to pay caries from one platform to another. The main advantage of this approach is the fact that it is effectively risk free, as you will only pay for successful sales. However, one potential disadvantage is that hotel metasearch engines may base your visibility on the ROI you generate.
Combination models function as a hybrid between the two other approaches, with elements of both commission-based payment and cost-per-click bidding. For a hotel, this model can help to avoid the visibility problem that may be associated with a pure commission-based model, especially if you run a smaller hotel.
The cost-per-click nature of the advertising encourages hotel metasearch engines to provide advertising space. However, the downside is that there is still an element of risk associated with the model, as your hotel will pay for clicks, regardless of whether or not they eventually result in a customer booking a room.
Now that you have an understanding of how metasearch engines can help those in the hotel industry, along with a list of some of the most popular hotel metasearch engines to try to work with, it is important that you also take some strategic steps to ensure your efforts are actually successful.
In the article “Tips to Increase Bookings Through Hotel Metasearch”, you will find some specific tips that can assist you with the task of using metasearch engines to generate more bookings.
While hotel metasearch engines represent an excellent opportunity to reach a wider audience, the full benefits of this distribution channel can only be fully realised if your hotel connects with the right online travel agents, providing you with access to customers in your key target markets.
In the article “Online Travel Agents to Increase Your Hotel Bookings”, you will be able to find out more about the value of OTAs and explore a list of some of the most popular OTAs for hotels to connect to.
The Most Important Distribution Channel for Your Hotel
While both metasearch engines and online travel agents present valuable opportunities for hotels to reach a wider customer base, it is necessary to understand that bookings generated through these channels will require your hotel to pay somewhere along the line, whether it is for advertising space, or a commission on the booking itself.
By comparison, bookings that customers make via your own hotel website are not subject to this same requirement to pay out. Instead, you will keep all of the money generated from the booking, which can boost your overall revenue results. Therefore, from a hotel management perspective, this is the most important distribution channel and you should try to take action to generate more direct bookings from your own website.
In the article “Tips To Gain More Bookings With Your Hotel Website”, you will learn how to increase direct bookings with you hotel website.
Many modern travellers turn to price comparison platforms, in order to find the best room rates in their chosen destination. By connecting with the hotel metasearch engines listed in this article, you can increase your chances of reaching these customers and boosting the number of hotel bookings you generate.
More Distribution Tips to Optimise RevenueThe distribution mix that hotels choose to use have a significant impact on their marketing and revenue management strategy, and on their overall success. In the following articles you find more distribution strategies to optimise your revenue:
- List of Corporate Travel Agents for Hotels to Gain More Business Travellers
- Global Distribution System (GDS): What Are the Benefits for Hotels?
- Hotel Advertisement; 10 Effective Hotel Advertising Strategies
- Hotel Distribution Channel Manager: What Are the Advantages?
- Hotel Marketing; The Latest Trends in the Hotel Industry