While OTAs have long been a dominant source of indirect hotel bookings, metasearch sites have recently become much more relevant in hotel marketing and distribution channel discussions.
OTAs are indirect booking channels that own the relationships with your guests. Metasearch sites, on the other hand, are primarily not booking channels. They are advertising platforms on which hotels (and OTAs!) can market their inventory. From the price-sensitive consumer perspective, metasearch sites have the distinct perceived advantage of being a one-stop shop—it’s a way to research hotels available during their desired travel dates, read reviews and compare prices between different booking channels (including the OTAs).
However, we’ve recently seen a blurring of the lines between OTAs and metasearch sites. First, a sweeping trend of industry consolidation has led to acquisitions; like Kayak by Priceline and Trivago by Expedia. Also, much like the OTAs, TripAdvisor and Google have integrated inventory into their search results with a Book Now button, leading many to wonder whether a hybrid OTA/metasearch model is on the way.
Given this information many hoteliers are asking, do I really need to invest time and money in metasearch?
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