Hotels around the globe are being told to prepare for the metasearchera, and that includes changing their marketing strategies, outlook, and software systems to make the transition from solely direct and OTA bookings to direct bookings via travel oriented meta search engines such as TripAdvisor. Meta search is fast becoming the ‘goto’ method of travel booking, up by 13 percent in the past year alone. Why? Not only are the younger generation of travellers more web savvy, but travellers today are also striving to find the best deals to meet strict budgets. Utilising meta search channels isn’t just about staying in the game, it’s about diversifying audiences, increasing visibility, and boosting brand reputation across multiple platforms.
Meta search allows for visitors to book either through OTAs or through the brand website, helping to increase direct sales. Meta search sites such as TripAdvisor have been for favouring OTAs with which they have a partnership, but direct information is available, which is more than can be said for OTAs themselves.
Striving to be different is one way that hotels can set themselves apart from the crowd, but being too different can be detrimental to business. An important thing within the travel industry is competitor analysis – discovering what the competitions are doing that’s directly leading to higher rankings. This could include targeting a specific demographic, offering special rate, or ensuring online marketing materials which are SEO friendly. Competitor analysis can be particularly beneficial to hotels within the business districts or near airports, where there is no ‘average’ guest. Marriott Hotels are an excellent example of a brand placing more resources into competitor analysis.
The hotels should take online marketing strategy seriously and allocate budget for better online presence.