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What is metasearch?
What is metasearch?
Holly Groom avatar
Written by Holly Groom
Updated over a week ago

A metasearch engine is a price comparison website that compares hotel rates from across the internet. It works on a basis similar to most digital advertising platforms: businesses ‘bid’ on advertising slots that appear to the users they want to attract. Depending on the site, and who is operating your digital marketing, businesses pay on a CPA (cost per acquisition) or CPC (cost per click) basis. The fundamental thing to note is that metasearch is not a booking channel: it’s an advertising platform on which different booking channels can market themselves.

A metasearch engine won’t list the rate from a hotel website, even if it’s the best rate available online, unless the hotelier is actively bidding on advertising slots. The hotel might be visible anyway, but that’s because partner OTAs will be bidding on those slots ‘on behalf of’ the hotel.

If a customer clicks on a hotel direct channel advert on a metasearch engine like Google Travel or TripAdvisor, the customer is redirected to the website, and if they go on to book they are the hotel’s direct customer. The only instance where this isn’t the case is if a customer clicks through to an OTA from the metasearch website.

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