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Why It's Time to Include Meta Search in Your Distribution Portfolio

Meta search is considered to be one of the biggest digital marketing trends for hoteliers in 2014. It is anticipated to be the fastest growing method of brand awareness and growth, and hotels should be encouraged to utilize these channels, including them as part of their distribution portfolio.

Previously, OTAs have dominated the third party selling market. However, the numerous advantages of meta search engines are drawing more and more travellers to their sites.

The meta industry is currently so strong that it is expected that sales through meta search engines will account for 20 percent of all bookings by 2020.

The question is, what makes meta search so good, and why is it time for all hotels to include these channels amongst their distribution portfolio?

Meta Search Allows for Direct Bookings

While OTAs continue to lead the third party sales industry, they have one very big disadvantage for hoteliers - bookings are made exclusively through the merchant site, for which the brand will pay a nominal fee.

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 criticized for favoring OTAs with which they have a partnership, but direct information is available, which is more than can be said for OTAs themselves.

Traditional Search is a Dying Breed

Meta search may still be a back burner when compared to traditional searching, but reports show that meta search statistics are up by 13 percent in recent years and are continuing to grow. In this age of technology, traditional search is definitely a dying breed, as more and more Internet users opt to take advantage of the features of meta search that traditional search simply cannot offer.

In utilizing meta search channels, hotels can remain modern and relevant, and can widen and diversify their audience.

Comparison Features can be Beneficial

A popular feature of meta search channels is the availability to compare select hotels against each other - something that OTAs typically does not offer.

Believe it or not, comparison isn't solely based upon price. For example, it has been found that an estimated 71 percent of users look to basic information, while 67 percent of users compare photographs. Comparison may seem daunting, but it's actually a good chance to show off.

Upgrading to two-way connectivity can help you improve your channel content, by making it quicker and easier to update multiple channels with up-to-date information regarding the establishment.

With meta search considered to be one of the biggest marketing techniques of the year, there has never been a better time to add these channels to your distribution portfolio. Make sure you choose to work with digital marketing specialists with relevant channel connections to get it right the first time.