By Mark Lewis-Brown, CEO & President at Vertical Booking USA
Travelers love the metasearch channels; they pull all of the available prices from the different online sites into a single list of search results, easily sorted and easily booked. They spend less time searching and are more likely to find the best possible rate for their stay. What’s not to love?!
While I know hotels appreciate the bookings that they can get through the metasearch sites, the channel can create lots of headaches for a hotel’s staff, especially those on the reservations team.
Even still, metasearch is a very important channel for all hotels – no matter their star rating, size, location or independent/branded; here’s why: “12% of hotel reservations are made through metasearch channels and they assist [in funneling] 25% [of bookings] to other channels.”
Mind officially blown! That’s a huge number of bookings (and potential revenue!) that your property will lose if you’re not using the metasearch channel.
Another perk of the metasearch channel: the increasing competition in the online marketplace means that metasearch will continue to work in your favor over time, especially in highly competitive markets, because the popularity of the channel is likely to continue to increase exponentially, as more booking sites are launched.
I know, I know… you’re tired of all of the reservations-related confusion related to the metasearch channel. That’s why I’m here, today, to show you how to make the metasearch channel work for you, instead of the channel making more work for you:
Step One: Technology is your friend
Trying to manage a technology-based channel without technology is like trying to contain a herd of sheep without fences: time-consuming, crazy-making and, let’s be honest, flat-out impossible. Those sheep (bookings) are going to be running away, only to get caught by someone else (your competitor).
Baaa-d idea, right?
There is no human alive or no reservations team big enough (and available 24/7 enough) to effectively manage every single channel manually. Even if there were (let’s play pretend for a minute), hotels’ operations would still be compromised by a very common problem: human error. A missed reservation here, a duplicate reservation there, an accidental overbooking everywhere; the ways that human error can negatively impact a property’s occupancy and RevPAR are endless!
Bottom line: technology is a MUST-HAVE for hotels to effectively manage reservations from the many online channels – direct bookings, the OTAs, metasearch, mobile, last-minute apps, etc. – and offline ones – walk-ins and phone.
So, what technology should your property be using to most effectively manage your metasearch channels?
There’s only one technology solution that you will need to effectively manage the metasearch channels (as well as ALL the others) effectively: a channel manager with a built-in metasearch management tool.
This solution will connect your hotel with the OTA channels, automate your pricing updates and inventory management processes, AND manage the metasearch sites – and all of this can be accomplished using a single dashboard.
By connecting the solution to your Google Analytics account (again, very important feature!), it makes it easy for you to more effectively establish the ROI that you earn from each channel; because metasearch is so expensive, you’ll want to make sure that you’re listing your inventory on the sites that are making you the most money.
Step Two: Lean on the Experts
Especially at a boutique property, the reservations and revenue manager(s) may feel that the financial fate of the entire hotel rests on their shoulders but it doesn’t have to.
The technology provider (from whom you got your channel manager + metasearch management solution) will offer comprehensive tech support services, from implementation, to integration with your other operational technology, to day-to-day questions and everything in between, these experts are there to make it easy for you to use the highly profitable metasearch channel, without all of the headaches.
And that’s it; with these two very simple steps, you can now confidently say: metasearch, managed!