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How to Adjust Your Metasearch Bids for Maximum Direct Bookings

Metasearch serves as a powerful tool for hotels, wielding considerable influence within the online travel sphere. Established giants like Expedia, TripAdvisor, and have long leveraged this platform to funnel bookings towards hotels. However, while these bookings once seemed advantageous, they often come at the expense of reduced profitability for hotels, which prompts a strategic pivot towards maximizing direct hotel bookings over OTA channels.

Beyond financial considerations, there are two additional compelling reasons for prioritizing direct bookings. Establishing a direct relationship with the guest proves invaluable for pre/post-stay communications, loyalty programs, and other personalized services. Secondly, the acquisition of first-party data through direct bookings enables hotels to enhance their email marketing efforts, refine guest profiling, craft tailored messaging, and optimize their advertising strategy.

Now, how can metasearch help you achieve this shift? Once you've taken the plunge into metasearch, it's time to equip yourself with the tools that can amplify your direct bookings. In the upcoming sections, we'll delve into the specifics of metasearch bids and their role in elevating your hotel's online presence.


What exactly are metasearch bids?

“Metasearch Bids” is short for “ Metasearch Bid Modifiers”. Hotel Metasearch Bid Modifiers allow us to adjust our default bid by a percentage at various levels. Based on your goals, they enable us to increase or decrease what we are willing to bid on each click or transaction. This allows us to target your hotel’s specific revenue production needs, acquire more valuable traffic, and reduce focus on segments that are not effective in driving bookings or revenue production.

What type of metasearch bid modifiers are there?

Most metasearch channels offer bid modifier capabilities, allowing advertisers to fine-tune their strategies based on performance data. Here, we'll explore some common bid modifiers, what they entail, and how to approach them effectively.

  • Bid strategies - A metasearch bid strategy involves carefully determining and adjusting bid amounts to optimize the visibility and performance of hotel listings on metasearch platforms, aiming to attract more direct hotel bookings while maximizing return on investment. Two of the most common bid strategies used are first position share & visible position share. Let’s dive into what these both are and how they can help your hotel:
    • Visible position share: This is the percentage of time a hotel’s listing is displayed within the visible area of search results. Most hotels typically use this strategy as a starting point when they’re new to metasearch. This strategy is more focused on the return of your metasearch marketing efforts.
    • First position share: This refers to the percentage of time a hotel’s listing appears at the top position (or the first result). When using metasearch, you might not typically start here, depending on your budget or performance to begin with. However, over time, you might realize that after using visible position share with a good return, you might want to test getting more visibility, knowing confidently you’ll get more bookings but at a higher scale and possibly a lower return.
  • Check-in date - A bid-modifying tool that allows you to increase or decrease bids for specific dates while looking ahead of time. You might have slower or higher peak times throughout the season of your hotel. This tool will let you adjust those dates to help you be more efficient and focus on direct bookings when they happen most often or when they need to happen.
  • Day of the week - This refers to the days of the week your guests are booking. Overtime, you can analyze this data and decide which days are worth investing more marketing dollars into and vice versa. Hotel need periods vary for different properties but it is common to see hotels needing to fill midweek or weekend periods. Increasing visibility for searches for these types of stays can help increase direct bookings.
  • Days to arrival - Making adjustments to this tool is unique because it gives you the flexibility of targeting guests that intend to book your hotel the same day or days in advance. You might discover that your guests are more prone to book a week or two from their actual check in date. This tool will allow you to make adjustments accordingly to invest more into those days of arrival and therefore yield more direct bookings during those days. This example below shows that guests look at booking mostly 15 or more days out in advance. In this scenario, you can push more of your metasearch bids towards these length of stays. 

  • Length of stay - This is the amount of time your guests stay at your hotel. Rather than focusing on all length of stays to get direct bookings, why not push more budget into the select amount of days your guests typically book? Or when occupancy is healthy but not 100% you can use this tool to help enforce minimum length of stays. In other words, you can focus on longer length of stays instead of one or two nights to help fill in those gaps.

  • Guests - What kind of audience does your hotel like to cater to? Are you a romantic getaway? If so, focus on getting more bookings for two guests. If your hotel is in a location that draws in families, invest more money into getting direct bookings for guests of 5 or more.
  • Device type - Your guests might prefer to book on one device over another. Typically for hotels, guests tend to book on Desktop devices. When using metasearch, you should follow the data to determine which devices your guests are booking the most. From there you would adjust accordingly to push your metasearch bids towards one device and vice versa.
  • Audience - Not just within metasearch but with any channel of your online presence, you should know your audience in and out. Doing this will make your metasearch efforts more efficient by getting direct bookings from an audience that is more likely to book. Examine the guests of your audience. Why would they book your hotel? What things does your audience like doing in their spare time? What’s their personality? The more you know about your typical guests, the more you can shift your metasearch towards those more likely to book directly with your hotel.


How does adjusting metasearch bids help me get more direct hotel bookings?

Earlier we talked about established giants in the metasearch game (i.e. Expedia, Trip Advisor, etc.) and that they’ve leveraged metasearch for years. Approaching metasearch with the expectation of stretching your budget across every aspect of your bid modifiers may not yield the desired results in terms of driving direct bookings. It’s like taking a mom-and-pop shop and trying to compete with Amazon – while admirable, it’s better to focus on areas where your competition might be overlooking. By strategically adjusting your metasearch bids, you can capitalize on these opportunities and maximize direct bookings.