Instant booking on metasearch sites is nothing totally new, but is becoming quite a big thing, with Google having recently doubled down on it.
If metasearch is leading to increases in conversion rates, it also shows that the classic metasearch model is shifting towards an OTA model.
Kayak has been offering hotel instant booking for more than four years on its US platform. If originally booking on Kayak was suggested on top of merchants’ results, it seems that the option is now ranked according to the price that the white label powering it is offering. Generally, either Booking.com or Hotels.com will handle the booking.
Kayak also offers instant booking on Air Canada flights, following an agreement it has with that airline.
Hipmunk, the San Francisco-based metasearch, has also been offering instant booking on hotels for a few years, thanks to partnerships with such OTAs as Getaroom.com and Booking.com.
What differs from Kayak is that, on Hipmunk, users are able to select the OTA that will handle their instant booking. This seems beneficial on the user end, as it gives the possibility to choose who to book with, and on the supplier end, as it offers better brand awareness and more qualified traffic.
Recently, Tnooz reported that Skyscanner is now offering instant booking on flights for certain routes, with OTAs such as BudgetAir or Bravofly handling the bookings.
Google has also debuted in instant booking on its hotel product. Users can book within a Google page for a selection of independent hotels, via third-party providers.
With all the major metasearch sites now having adopted instant booking, we might wonder if this is just a trend and that everyone is just copying their competitors. The answer is: not at all. And the reason is simple: conversion rate.
Conversion rates are apparently much higher when users are not being redirected to another website. This is easily understandable:
- OTAs might lose users while they are being redirected
- Some OTA funnels are not performing well
- Users, if given the choice, will be more inclined to book with the site they are already using
On mobile, instant booking might be even more interesting. All merchants’ do not offer an optimized mobile version of their sites, and having multiple tabs/windows open is not the most convenient thing. Having the search and booking made on one single website or app is just an easier process.
NB: This is a viewpoint by Clement Bourguignon, who runs the French-language news site Voyagesurlenet.com
Read full article at: Tnooz