This year has seen a major increase in direct booking campaigns from the big chains. We’ve watched Hilton and Marriott engage in extensive promotion of their brand websites using loyalty rewards and discounts to entice conversions and we expect to see that trend grow in 2017.
But where does this leave independent hotels?
While the big chains with their large teams dominate the market, smaller hotels are tasked with attracting direct business with little in the way of time, resources or the technology to compete. That means many rely on OTA bookings instead. But total reliance on OTA bookings does not make sense, when a direct booking can represent as much as a 25% revenue boost compared to the same transaction from an OTA. This is where metasearch comes into play.
What if an independent hotel could tap into the success of metasearch marketing without the hassle of managing multiple channels – and do it on a limited budget?
Dispelling metasearch myths
The metasearch landscape is daunting and challenging even for the big players. There is room in the market for everyone, even the smallest businesses. Knowledge is power, so first let’s address some common myths and misconceptions about metasearch.
Myth number 1
“I cannot afford to participate in the metasearch programs because I cannot compete with the OTAs on bidding channels.”
The CPCs associated with metasearch channels can indeed become very expensive and must be managed closely. These must also be tempered against your goals. If the goal is to always be in the top spot, you can expect a lot of competition and proportionally higher costs.
However, independent hotels can help themselves in many ways by including special rate offers that are lower than the OTAs. Most meta channels determine positioning first by the lowest rate, and then off the CPC. By offering a direct discount, you could in fact have a higher position at a lower CPC than what is being paid by the OTAs!
Myth number 2
“I cannot possibly manage so many different channels across multiple extranets.”