How Google changed Metasearch
By Alisa Voitika, Brand & Content Manager at Triptease
In 2018, 72.5% of consumers surveyed by EyeForTravel said that they used metasearch sites regularly in their pre-booking journeys. In their latest free report, the Triptease team unpacks the importance of metasearch to the modern traveller - and why the channel is more crucial to hoteliers than ever. Read on for an extract of the 2019 Hotel Metasearch Handbook.
Why does meta matter?
Over the last couple of years, metasearch engines have been experiencing a period of rapid evolution. The main metas are a world away from the simple price comparison listing sites of just five years ago. They attract potential bookers with great user experience, trip planning opportunities, social proof and even travel inspiration.
Many hoteliers, however, are still outfaced by metasearch. Even experienced professionals admit that for a long time they were much less confident with meta than with other distribution channels. Many wrote it off as too confusing, or simply 'not worth it'. But meta has changed. Nowadays, it's almost no longer an option: it's a necessity.
Alasdair Snow, Chief Product Officer at Triptease, has compared choosing not to participate in metasearch with accepting that there's 'a shopping list that you're not on'. Metasearch auctions are a chance to go toe-to-toe with OTAs for the customers you care about most. That's why Triptease is bringing you a metasearch survival kit for hoteliers, including meta must-knows, insights and data for hotels seeking to succeed in today's rapidly-changing distribution landscape.
Predictions for 2019
"We think that the prominence of meta bids over organic search results will be increased on Google next year. Be well represented before it's too late and you're no longer appearing in searches." - Alasdair Snow, Triptease
Next year, while Google will remain the leader in most regions, competitiveness with other meta sites will push them to evolve their features. They may well bring out new possibilities for hotels advertising on their channels in terms of more hotel brand personalization options, mobile-only features and improved campaign features.
In terms of new players in this arena, while Amazon's first foray into travel didn't end up taking hold, it would be to unwise to rule them out as a potential future OTA or metasearch engine. Already one of most traffic-heavy "buy anything" websites in the US and increasingly popular among users in APAC, it could become crucial for hotels and OTAs looking to target audiences in that region. "I think if Amazon finally makes an entry to travel, it will be with a hybrid of metasearch and OTA where different agents and hotels compete for the best rate and inventory on Amazon," says Joe Pettigrew, Director of Revenue Maximization at Starwood Capital Group. "Similar to Book on Google or Tripadvisor's Instant Booking. This is the only way I can see Alexa natively supporting travel bookings in the future."
We also expect to see improvements to mobile user experience roll out next year at the major metas. Skyscanner's Head of Strategic Partnerships Gil Harel explained at the Direct Booking Summit: Americas why mobile was a key focus for the organization: "We wanted to make sure that Skyscanner was providing a great user experience on mobile, rather than directing users to another site. Now we offer direct booking, where the advertiser actually has a 'storefront' on Skyscanner and the booking takes place on our site.
"Adding direct bookings led to a 50% uplift on mobile. It allows you to sell hotels to the consumer in a very easy way."
Are you ready for metasearch in 2019? Get more predictions, tips, and insights from hoteliers at the top of their game in Triptease's free report. Download it today!
Triptease is a SaaS startup building industry-leading software for the hotel industry. The company was co-founded in 2015 by Charlie Osmond, Alasdair Snow and Alexandra Zubko and has offices in London, New York and Singapore. Triptease's most recent funding was lead by British Growth Fund alongside Notion Capital and Episode 1.
The Triptease Platform is built to help hotels take back control of their distribution and increase their direct revenue. The platform identifies a hotel's most valuable guests then works across the entire customer journey - from acquisition to conversion - to make sure they book directly at the hotel.