When it comes to driving direct bookings, many hotels only have a limited number of tactics to employ.
NB: This is an article from Travelboom
Hotel marketing tools like organic content, social postings, email marketing, and others all help drive interest in a property, but these tools aren’t effective when it comes to identifying the exact moment a potential guest is ready to book. Paid search (Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, etc) delivers phenomenal results but still lacks the ability to dynamically display an actual nightly rate.
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This is where meta search becomes so important, particularly for independent hoteliers. According to a 2018 study by EyeForTravel, 73% of travelers use meta sites regularly when planning a vacation. Keep in mind that this study is from 2018 and consider how much Google has changed the SERP (search engine results page) since then, pushing Google Hotel Ads to the top of the page. In 2022, the number of users consciously, or unconsciously, using a meta search system is significantly higher. To use a “technical measurement,” literally everyone is doing it now!
The adjacent search results page for “myrtle beach hotels” shows a typical destination result where you have at least one paid position at the top, a significant meta presence in the center, and the organic results below the fold (followed by more paid ads).
What many hoteliers may not know is that regardless of if you (as the property manager) are participating in a meta campaign, you are already showing up with a rate. The OTAs are aggressively bidding and displaying a nightly rate for your property. This is why we recommend every property have an aggressive meta strategy to ensure their best book-direct rate is showing in Google Hotel Ads.
It’s the same as bidding on brand terms in your hotel PPC campaigns. If you’re not participating, someone else will take your spot on the SERP and steal a potential booking. (see screenshot below.) One thing in these two images is abundantly clear, an organic strategy alone is not enough in today’s SERP landscape.
The above only accounts for one fraction of the space that meta search systems encompass. Beyond Google Hotel Ads (GHA) you have several major players:
- Microsoft Hotel Ads
- Hundreds of niche engines…
A savvy hotelier will understand that they must have a presence on all meta engines in order to maximize direct bookings. If not, they would be seceding ground to the OTAs and giving up easy direct bookings.
Guide to Meta Search Management For Hotels
Now that we know how critical it is to participate in the meta search space, hoteliers need to ensure they “can” participate. This will largely depend on your booking engine and PMS provider and the level of management access available to you.