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Metasearch OTAs: Your customers are using them, are you?

February 8, 2014 Headline News, OTA News 1 Comment Email Email

Metasearch OTAS enable consumers to search all the major OTAs at once through a single website simultaneously ­ making metasearch OTAs a one-stop shop to find the best hotel for an upcoming vacation or a business trip.

Currently, the most popular metasearch OTAs are Hotels combined, Kayak, Hipmunk, Trivago and TripAdvisor, but new ones are being developed every day.

The new buzzword for the hotel industry is ‘metasearch’. Although there have been metasearch channels for years already (such as Sidestep ­ who has now been purchased by Kayak), only now are hoteliers really paying attention to this rapidly growing channel. This awareness is being driven by a change in consumer behavior, as many consumers prefer to use a metasearch engine because it aggregates all available online rates for each property in a destination. More-fun-in-the-Philippines_250X250px

While the metasearch channels are fantastic booking tools for consumers, it is also a game-changer for hoteliers ­ but whether it is a positive or negative change will depend on each individual property’s revenue management strategy. Here’s why… 

Metasearch OTAs expand your property’s compset exponentially.

Instead of the small number of hotels that would be part of your property’s traditional compset, metasearch OTAs expand your compset to every hotel listed on every OTA on the Internet. Even if a property is only listed on one OTA (i.e. Expedia – therefore not making it a part of your Booking.com compset), metasearch sites will present the Expedia listing to consumers as well, turning that property into a direct competitor.

That can drastically increase your competition, and requires that you constantly offer the most competitive rate possible, updated in real-time as the market changes. And if you thought it was hard to get a direct booking in past years, it will prove even more difficult as metasearch channels have expanded the competition for each property exponentially… and this trend will continue to grow, meaning that more channels will launch over time. Without the sophisticated revenue management technology necessary to update pricing as the market changes, and without channel management technology to manage your rates on all of your online channels, hotels will find it almost impossible to keep up.

If done properly, metasearch OTAs can drastically increase your online visibility.

Properties that do have the necessary technology to support their revenue management efforts on the metasearch OTA channels will find that they have much greater online visibility and reach than they would normally, without signing up with new OTA channels. This is because by having a presence on the major OTAs, your rates will be pulled into the metasearch search engine results and will be visible to any consumers who are using the site to book a hotel stay.

Metasearch OTAs enable you to direct bookings through the channel of your choice.

Once a consumer has decided to stay at your property, they will most likely choose to book the room through the channel offering the cheapest nightly room rate. Because metasearch engines list the cheapest rate available for each property directly in the results, consumers will book via the site/OTA that is the cheapest. This means that if your property is listed for $200/night on Expedia and $201 on Booking.com, consumers will (almost) always book through the least expensive site. It is important to be aware of this consumer habit, so that you can make it work for you. While we don’t suggest keeping your rates out of parity, if that is your revenue management strategy, make sure that you price your rooms on the OTA channel with the lowest commission rate at the lowest nightly rate (even by $1) to ensure that consumers choose to book there.

If you need further proof of the importance of the metasearch channel in consumers’ day-to-day lives, look at other aggregator-type sites that have become very popular. Reddit, which aggregates discussions and content posted by users, is the most popular social media site in which to read about the news; 62% of its monthly users are using the site in this way[i]. In another industry, an aggregator site called YIPIT aggregates all deals sites like Groupon, Living Social, Bing-Deals into one list by destination.

As consumers become more tech-savvy and focused on being more efficient, metasearch engines will become the OTAs of the future. In preparation, make sure that you adjust your revenue management strategy now to get the best possible results from this highly profitable channel.

By Jean Francois Mourier, CEO of REVPAR GURU

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. In my experience the only time an OTA advertises a difference in price is when the OTA instigates it. Using a channel manager that feeds the same rate off our own website to all other sites ensures parity from the supplier.

    The consumer needs to learn that dealing direct will get the best result. I often get asked “Is that your best price?” and often negotiate to secure the booking if need be.
    Try negotiating with an automated computer screen and see how far you get.
    Book direct for the best deal should be the industry mantra.

    Metasearch businesses such as those mentioned in the article are yet another blight of parasites sucking the life out of an already crippled tourism industry.
    They have nothing to offer, no product that can stand up on its own.

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