TravelTrends in Metasearch Marketing – Part 2
Metasearch Marketing - Google Agency - Image

Trends in Metasearch Marketing – Part 2

We sat down with our resident Metasearch Marketing expert, Dean Schmit, to learn more about the Metasearch Marketing trends he sees in 2023, heading into 2024, like Google Callout messaging.

In our last article, I outlined how the baseline data for Metasearch marketing has changed over the past few years as well as how any change to a single data point can have a ripple effect on the performance of all the others.

In the next series of articles, we are going to focus on specific KPIs and how to optimize them to improve campaign performance.

How has Google Callout messaging changed as we look ahead to 2023?

Today’s KPI I’m going to cover is Click-Through-Rate (CTR).  

Yes, the title of this article is “How Has Google Callout Messaging Changed?”  Stick with me, we’ll get to that.

Click Through Rate (CTR) is the primary KPI we are trying to influence with said messaging.  CTR is simply the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions.  Metasearch marketing generally follows a baseline CTR between 2%-4%. This can vary significantly, and the purpose of this article is to explore ways of increasing these to even triple (yes, x3) the normal rate!

First let’s talk about some red flags, more specifically what happens when CTR falls below the 2% mark. Good news: you didn’t get charged for a click, bad news: nothing books without a click either. Poor CTR is usually indicative of 2 possible causes.

The first scenario is often a poor ranking order and failure to use a proper customized icon.

The second and more likely scenario is that your rate parity is out of order. The very purpose of metasearch ads are to aggregate price and booking options from multiple providers. The moment one of those providers offers a lower rate than your own your CTR will suffer.

Rate Parity, or the lack thereof, has a critical impact on the performance of your metasearch marketing campaigns. These can, and should, be controlled, which we will address in a later article.

Let’s assume your rate parity is under control and your point-of-sale (POS) storefront looks good. How do we improve CTR and get the most clicks we can for the number of impressions?

The best answer is to utilize callout messaging.

So what is Google Callout Messaging and how can you utilize it?

Google Callouts have been around for some time but have changed significantly over the past several years. Callout messaging provides an opportunity for hotels (and OTAs) to lure the consumer with a simple, straightforward reason to book through their channel.

Prior to COVID, many callouts featured statements regarding free wifi, free breakfast, best rate guarantee and free enrollment.

Google Callout Messaging Example - Metasearch Marketing Agency

During the early stages of COVID, many of these callouts changed to focusing on cleanliness standards and health safety. Towards 2021 these evolved to focus more on free cancellation due to the unpredictability of health.

Google Callout Messaging - travel Marketing agency - 85SIXTY

As travel stabilized towards the end of 2022 we saw these callouts return to the old reliable messaging formats from days prior.

Google Callout Messaging - Travel Marketing Agency - 85SIXTY

While the free wifi and complimentary breakfast messaging is certainly tried and true, callout messages present an opportunity to feature a special amenity and/or creativity crafted to the uniqueness of an individual destination.

Google Callout Messaging - Travel Marketing Agency - 85SIXTY

Why is this important? Quite simply, it is difficult for the OTAs to follow.  OTAs are marketing hundreds of hotels in every destination and are looking for the plug & play content they can easily fill in.

Are you a pet friendly hotel? Does your hotel offer bicycles to help get around the neighborhood? Any special perks for booking directly? Local transportation?  Be sure to claim it!

The Google Callout messaging can easily double your CTR to 8% and even as high as 12%.  That being said, Google only displays the messages for the top-ranking points of sale which means position plays a factor in this as well.

Want to learn more about how you can make the most of your metasearch marketing campaigns in 2023?  We can help!  With more than 12 years of experience managing metasearch marketing for brands, independent hotels, and tech vendors/suppliers, we can develop a program that’s right for you.

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