A metasearch engine is a search engine that goes through hotel rates and availability across the web displaying and comparing the combined results all in one place, saving the customer time spent clicking on multiple websites. This means that such metasearch engines as Tripadvisor, Trivago, Webjet and Skyscanner allow smaller hotels to be on the same playing field as larger hotels or chains, since they use their platforms as a place to advertise hotels, regardless of size, cost or revenue. There are a number of advantages linked to the use of these sites over OTAs or spending thousands on advertising.
One of the principal advantages associated with metasearch engines is that they drive more bookings directly through the hotel website. While OTAs reserve bookings through their own pages and take a significant commission from the hotel owners, sites such as Trivago display all rates, including those displayed alongside rates presented by OTAs, meaning that if the rate on the hotel website is more competitive, customers will more likely book directly, hence bypassing the commission. However, for this to be effective for hotels, they will need to have a booking engine in place, as customers like to book instantly online rather than having to send emails or make reservations over the phone.
Metasearch engines also allow hotels to run promotions, whilst allowing current deals to be combined with real time availability, meaning prices can be changed instantly. This allows small hotel owners to meet their customer’s needs, providing them with all the information they require to book their room in real time. Not only is this important for the customers in providing them with an honest price, it is also vital for hotels because there may be certain times of the day when prices should be lowered to yield more bookings, therefore being able to instantly display these on other platforms could prove essential to generating revenue.
Finally, metasearch engines allow independent hotels to amplify their online presence in a method that doesn’t mean spending thousands on advertising. Metasearch websites create an additional advertising opportunity at a low cost, whilst at the same time cutting out the commission-based middleman, such as in the way OTAs operate. Due to the fact they operate on a pay-per-click business model, there would be no charge at all should customers go directly to the hotel website. Furthermore, the reviews, ratings and photos that feature on the sites offer hotels the opportunity to develop an honest relationship with their customers, while at the same time creating a community that would otherwise not exist.
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Companies like IBC drive new direct bookings via Google, metasearch channels, optional GDS, International Vacation Hotels distribution and more. They even pay the CPC and CPA fees for IBC channels, saving hotel owners even more money. This enables independent hoteliers to compete with larger corporate chains for online bookings at much lower rates than online travel agents and brands. Such firms as IBC are experts in getting an official listing on metasites such as Google, Trivago, Kayak, Trivago and Skyscanner, therefore allowing hotels to take advantage of all the benefits available.
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