TravelTrends in Metasearch Marketing – Part 3
Metasearch Marketing & Advertising Trends - Travel Agency 85SIXTY

Trends in Metasearch Marketing – Part 3

We sat down with our resident Metasearch Marketing & Advertising expert, Dean Schmit, to continue our series on Metasearch Marketing trends he sees in 2023, heading into 2024, like Campaign Management Meets Revenue Management.

In our last article, I provided some key tips on how to increase your metasearch campaign Click Through Rates (CTRs) by utilizing proper Google Callout messaging.   These simple changes can be easily implemented in less than 24hrs to see immediate results.

Ready to take things up a notch?

How Date-Based Bidding Combines the Two

One of the key advantages to metasearch marketing is that it is tied to specific dates.  These can either be default dates selected by the site or User Selected dates.  This feature has allowed marketers to customize their bids based on many factors including Day of Week (DoW), Length of Stay (LOS), Days to Arrival (DtA) and more.

However, this still leaves us throwing darts and hoping to hit the bullseye when it comes to adjusting our strategies based on specific dates.  We are also thus forced to apply different tactics depending on our role within the organization.

As a marketing campaign manager, I am tasked with generating KPIs that usually focus around Return on Ad Spend (RoAS).  Because of this, I am generally trying to take advantage of influencing factors that are most likely already contributing to solid performance for my hotel.

  • For example, if a city-wide convention is selling out hotels across the market during a particular week, I know this is an opportunity to see a high RoAS.  In short, I’m going to fish where the fish are so I can generate the most promising results.
  • Conversely, the Revenue Manager is tasked not only with maximizing RoAS, but also making sure they are filling specific need dates.  This may require accepting a lower RoAS on those dates in an effort to drive more traffic volume.

These two strategies have historically run in separate silos with very little collaboration between them.  However, these roles have been slowly evolving and blending together and COVID served as a catalyst to speed up this process.

Enter metasearch marketing.  Many experts will claim they can only target factors such as Days to Arrival and DOW patterns described earlier.  However, recent developments by Google have already altered the playing field and now enable bid adjustments to specific dates.

Imagine for a moment how this can be applied.  Let’s say you’re a beachfront hotel and have an airshow with breathtaking demonstrations flying right in front of your property a few months from now.  This will be a very popular event, and I really want to influence a channel shift from OTA to direct bookings.  I can bid aggressively on my property-level campaign for those specific dates! The popular event will contribute to higher converting clicks so even with an increased CPC I will still see a strong RoAS.

Date-based Bidding - Metasearch Advertising Agency - 85SIXTY

How to generate incremental traffic with Destination Ads

Conversely, let’s say I am NOT that beachfront hotel but rather a few blocks away at the same destination.  Channel shift is nice, but what I REALLY need is to get incremental traffic from shoppers who aren’t already looking for a specific property. 

Those consumers are searching for things like “Hotels in Pensacola” which are simply non-branded search terms.  In metasearch marketing we call these “Destination Ads” and Google refers to them as “Property Promotion Ads” or PPA.  The benefit of non-branded search terms, even in traditional SEM, is they capture higher funnel, incremental traffic that may not have been looking for your hotel.  The disadvantage is they tend to have lower conversion rates, higher CPC and often force us to compete with major brands.

Google Property Promotion Ads - Metasearch Travel Agency - 85SIXTY

What if we could target those specific event dates and be super aggressive towards our campaign only for people searching that specific window?  We can!  Employing this strategy benefits us by:

  1. Not competing with big brands for 12-months out of the year.
  2. Gaining incremental traffic from shoppers who may not have known about our hotel.
  3. Seeing a higher return as a result of high market demand contributing to a higher rate of conversion.

We could also make a legitimate case for applying the exact opposite approach.  Whereas I already expect to sell out over a particular set of dates, perhaps I do not want to spend marketing dollars on people searching that time period.

What strategy would you employ if you could adjust based upon occupancy and marketing demand?  The simplest approach would look something like this, however many levels exist between these two points.

Metasearch Advertising Strategy - Travel Agency 85SIXTY

The key to being able to leverage these strategies comes down to one primary component:

Date-based Bidding Strategy for metasearch advertising - 85SIXTY

This same functionality also allows us to apply a more targeted approach to managing rate parity issues within our metasearch campaigns.  We will cover this more extensively in our next article!

Date-Based Bidding tactics are available today, however they do require some advanced expertise to properly utilize them. 

Want to learn more about Date Based Bidding?

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.


Read Our Previous Posts on Metasearch Marketing:

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