Industry Update
Opinion Article24 April 2017

Fastbooking infographic shows Google dominance

By Mihaela Lica Butler , Reporter for Hospitality Net

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As every hotel marketing professional knows, online distribution is all about targeted traffic and leveraging channels. Metasearch begins to dominate where once organic search and ad retargeting were the hoteliers' "marque" booking vehicles. A new report from FASTBOOKING shows a couple of trends as metasearch becomes the most important advertising channel, even more than Google AdWords. Here's the gist of that study accompanied by an infographic showing the takeaway for hoteliers, along with something of a surprise from Google.


The metasearch analysis compared key metasearch players like TripAdvisor, Google Hotel Ads, Trivago, and HotelsCombined for various performance indicators. The study demonstrates that regarding volume, cost, ROI, and trend analysis, metasearch is growing to dominate even Google Adwords advertising as the most cost-effective advertising tool. Compared to Google AdWords and display ads, the top metasearch platforms have evolved into superior revenue driving funnels. In the study, FASTBOOKING looked at years of metasearch data within its own matrix of campaigns to single out the strategies and channels that generate the best revenue.

Here is a lengthy and in-depth article about the study by Jean-Louis Boss, CEO at FASTBOOKING, that shows clearly TripAdvisor and the others becoming more refined revenue generation tools. As you can see in the accompanying infographic, this platform has maintained a constant ROI for hoteliers.

However, the graphic also reveals another interesting trend: Google Hotel Ads are now outdistancing even TripAdvisor! Boss covers the microeconomics of metasearch strategies in his article, but our takeaway is Google's clear move to dominate the spectrum. The real story is market share. Have a look at this revealing infographic, and we'll sum up afterward.

Launched quietly back in 2011 as Google Hotel Finder, Google Hotel Ads have metamorphosed into a click volume mechanization machine. What started as a quasi-experiment appears to have become an ROI machine as well, at least according to the data. As the infographic shows, Google Hotel Ads came of age in 2016, surpassing even TripAdvisor in click volume and profitability. The report also shows Google Hotel Ads delivering the most qualified traffic to hoteliers.

And like Jean-Louis Boss says in his piece; "
As Google is integrating the ads deeper into its search results, maps, and other products, it is poised to become one of the leading hotel metasearch providers in the market."
For us, the most important aspect will be the industry reaction to Google's competitiveness going forward. What some industry experts warned of as far back as 2009, has now materialized. What will be interesting will be the industry push back, and especially the resultant innovation/strategy by TripAdvisor and the others. How will the key players adjust to glean their fair market share now?

Good news for hotels is that there are channels that permit them to increase direct revenue entirely independent of other distribution channels. Even though Metasearch is in its infancy as a distribution channel and we know changes are coming - it is a welcome evolution for hotels that want to balance their distribution from being overly OTA-dependent.

Click here to download the full infographic.

Mihaela Lica Butler

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