Why Meta is Important for Direct Hotel Bookings
When it comes to generating direct bookings, many hotels have only a limited number of tactics to employ. Hotel marketing tools such as organic content, social media posts, email marketing and others all help generate interest in a property, but these tools are not effective when it comes to identifying the exact moment a potential customer is ready to book. Paid search (Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, etc.) provides phenomenal results but still lacks the ability to dynamically display an actual rate per night.
This is where meta-search becomes so important, especially for independent hoteliers. According to a 2018 study by EyeForTravel, 73% of travelers regularly use metasites when planning a vacation. Keep in mind that this study is from 2018 and consider how much Google has changed the SERP (search engine results page) since then, pushing Google Hotel Ads to the top of the page. In 2022, the number of users consciously or unconsciously using a meta-search system is significantly higher. To use a “technical measure”, literally everyone does it now!
The adjacent search results page for “myrtle beach hotels” shows a typical destination result where you have at least one paid position at the top, a significant meta presence in the middle, and organic results below the fold (followed by more paid ads).
What many hoteliers may not know is that it doesn’t matter if you (as a property manager) participate in a meta-campaign, you’re already showing up with a rate. OTAs bid aggressively and display a rate per night for your property. That’s why we recommend every property has an aggressive meta-strategy to ensure their best direct booking rate shows up in Google Hotel Ads.
It is the same as bidding on brand terms in your PPC hotel campaigns. If you don’t participate, someone else will take your place on the SERP and steal a potential booking. (See screenshot below.) One thing in these two images is very clear, an organic strategy alone is not enough in today’s SERP landscape.