How Can Meta Search Engines Benefit Small Hotels?

A meta search engine is a type of online distribution channel that small hoteliers can use to promote their business.

Small properties build up their profile, and display live rates and availability to people using the sites.

Here’s how meta search engines can benefit small hotels, bed and breakfasts, inns and guesthouses.

Search vs. Sell

Meta search sites sell from a flexible, informational standpoint.

Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) say:

“Make a booking for this hotel through us!”

Meta search sites say:

“We’ve searched the web for live availability and rates from both OTAs and direct from this hotel’s website. A bunch of past guests have also added their own photos and reviewed them. You make the decision.”

What Guests Say vs. What We Say

You can showcase your brand, because your profile is seen as being more credible. Meta search sites make a point of encouraging positive reviews and authentic photos.

Pay For Referral vs. Percentage Of Profit

If you choose the traditional pay-per-click method, it means you will have higher margins. They’re not taking a percentage of commission per booking.

However, since TripAdvisor and Google have both added instant booking options, they are also offering a commission-based model to small hotels, where you only pay for the referral after the guest has stayed with you.

Also, many travelers may find you on a meta search site and decide to visit your site to book directly. This is known as ‘the billboard effect’. In that case, you’ve kept 100% of the revenue!

Distribution Mix vs. Eggs In One Basket

Partnering with meta search sites allows you to mix up your distribution channels so that you’re never overly dependent on one over the other.

For example, if you are too dependent on an OTA, they can easily increase their commission and you won’t be able to say no. Partnering with meta search engines allows you to evenly distribute your rooms across varying channels.

Direct vs. Channel Bookings

Meta search drives direct bookings because it gives an opportunity for travelers to complete the booking on your website (in the case of the pay-per-click model) or choose to book direct, but without leaving the site (in the case of the ‘instant booking’ options now offered by Google and TripAdvisor).

If your booking engine is like Little Hotelier and it is integrated with TripConnect, this is the perfect situation.

Visitors can click through to your website and complete the transaction on your website’s booking engine.

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