What are Meta Search or Meta Engines in the hotel industry?

Optimize 360 What are Meta Search or Meta Engines? Hotels

What are Meta Search in the world ofhotels ? How do they work?

How do you make sure you appear? How do you manage them?

A whole host of questions that many hoteliers are asking themselves, because after the OTA (Online Travel Agencies), they have become a major vector for customer acquisition for hotels.

Optimize 360, Search Engine Optimisation Agency specialising in the hotel industry, gives you the essentials you need to know.

meta engines

1 Meta Search (or Meta Engines). Definition and operation

The Meta Search (as opposed to the OTA - BookingExpedia, CTrip...) are hotel and room price comparison engines that draw their information from several search engines.

They are therefore supposed to produce and present a summary of the searches, and reclassify an offer in a synthetic and sorted way according to your search criteria.

The best known of these are:

Initially, they were not designed to enable direct bookings, but to direct users directly to the Booking Engine of the OTAs (or to that of thehotel live if they are part of their booking programme)

On the other hand, Google is currently migrating towards the second category (that of OTAs), since it has recently made it possible, via its 'Book on Google' system, to complete the booking and payment process in its own system.

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2 How does Meta Search work?

Without going into their technical operation, what may be of interest to hoteliers is how they work from a commissioning point of view.

Apart from Google Hotel Ads, which uses a system that is either au CPA (cost per acquisition), the Commission, or the CPC ( Cost per Click ), the vast majority of others are CPC.

A bit like Google Ads, l'hotelier only pays if the link to its booking engine is clicked.

You therefore need to sign up to their respective subscription and payment plans.

You should be aware, however, that an independent hotelier on his own will not be able to connect to it technically.

He must either go through his Channel Manager ( D-Edge Availpro, SiteMinder...), or by operators specialising in Meta Engines (Wihp, Miraï, Koddi, Derby Soft, TripTease, Myhotel Shop...) who have set up the necessary data exchange connections (availability of rooms, prices with and without taxes, variable information in the broad sense, and on the other hand with those of each Meta Engine on the other).

It's important to remember that all these connection and metaengine management partners are not equal.

This depends not only on the quality of the connections they have managed to negotiate with each comparison operator, but also on the quality and ease with which they enable hoteliers to manage their budget expenditure and the resulting return on investment analyses.

Whether for the channel managers who propose it, or for the operators who synthesise it, the level of control and availability on each Meta engine can vary.

Optimize 360 can give you all the information you need to help you choose your best partner based on these different criteria.

3. Why use Meta Engines for a hotel?

Like OTAs, Meta Search is a complementary means of distribution and a channel for acquiring and recruiting new customers.

Even though the global market share of the two main OTAs (Booking and Expedia) is around 70%, the Meta Engines are coming on board and positioning themselves as sources of traffic and additional showcases.

Some are even closely affiliated with the OTAs themselves. Trivago, for example, belongs to the Expedia Group, and Kayak to the Priceline Group, which owns Booking.

There are so many hotel operators, some of them interconnected, that it can be difficult for a hotelier to find his way around...

This ecosystem can be described as a veritable jungle or "backwater". 

Optimize 360 hoteller ecosystem

In short, let's consider that these Meta Search operators are an additional source of awareness, distribution and acquisition for hotels.

4 How can you manage and control Meta Search and make it a profitable acquisition channel?

First of all, you need to be able to have an overview of the investments to be made by acquisition channel, and then within each acquisition channel by country, by format (desktop or mobile), etc.

In this sense, only specialist Meta Search suppliers can provide you with the necessary management tools and give you a summary overview.

Meta Search management dashboard

To make it a profitable recruitment channel, which is entirely possible, you need to be able to fine-tune your investments.

Test the channels one after the other, and choose and prioritise those with the highest ROI.

The Optimize 360 teams are at your disposal to help you define and use them to best effect.

Meta-search campaigns cannot be improvised. You often have to get away from price parity intelligently and appropriately, and keep a close eye on the total investment (price difference + CPC investment) in order to remain more profitable than the OTAs.

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