January 14, 2021
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3 min

Knowledge #2: The biggest hotel comparison portals at a glance - Which platforms should you rely on?

When it comes to comparing prices of hotel rooms, three platforms stand out: Google Hotel Ads, Trivago and Tripadvisor. Each of these meta searches is frequently used by millions of travelers around the world and is unique in its own way.

Why are meta searches so important for hotels?

Meta search engines are experiencing enormous growth and have become an important factor in the hotel and hospitality industry. They are now among the key advertising tools and a major contributor to direct bookings.

According to an EyeForTravel survey, 94.4% of travellers used price comparison sites at least occasionally to book hotels. 72.5% of survey respondents regularly used metasearch sites and 44.6% always used metasearch sites.

So, if you don't want to be left out in the hotel search, you should take the opportunity of being present on the biggest international travel and search portals. You will not only increase your visibility for travellers looking for hotels, but also significantly increase the number of bookings on your hotel website.

Which platforms are currently the leading meta search platforms?

#1 Google Hotel Ads

Google Hotel Ads, originally called Google Hotel Finder, was launched in 2011. It displays hotel rates in direct comparison to OTAs and showcases hotels on Google across multiple devices.

When, for example, a traveler searches for “hotels in dublin” on Google, they will get a list of results in Google Hotel Search and on Google Maps, where they can further choose between various accommodations.

 Example: search results in Google Hotel Finder to search query “hotels in dublin”

If, however, they search for a specific hotel, the results will be displayed on the right side of the result page, where the link to the hotel’s direct website together with the available room rates will be displayed together with the OTA links. The ranking of the link to the hotel's website depends, as with all meta searches, on various factors. Not surprisingly, the click price plays a major role.


The search results to a more specific query, where the hotel's website link is displayed in Google Hotel Ads placement.

#2 Trivago 

The Expedia subsidiary Trivago was founded in 2005. On that platform users can compare prices of hotels, hostels but also bed and breakfast accommodations. It checks prices of more than one million hotels worldwide from over 250 booking sites.

For example, if guests are looking for a hotel in Dublin, Trivago scans the catalog and shows the best price for all available hotels. 

When the user chooses a hotel, one clicks on the price of the corresponding provider - ideally your hotel website - and is redirected directly to the provider's website to complete the transaction.

With numerous filter options, guests will definitely find the hotel that meets their needs. Whether breakfast, pool, parking or WiFi - searchers can filter according to all preferences.

This speaks for the fast, simple and uncomplicated use of the platform. To find out how your hotel gets the best visibility through the filters, read our tips for good content marketing on meta search

#3 Tripadvisor 

The independent company Tripadvisor exists since 2000 and is based in the USA. It consists of a comprehensive system of reviews, customer feedback and rankings for hotels, apartments, restaurants and activities.

On the website, mainly online travel agencies, individual hotels and hotel chains promote their availability of rooms. The commercial links are displayed on the entry page of the respective hotel and in the list view of a specific destination. By clicking on the respective link of a provider (similar to Trivago), the guest is then redirected to the corresponding website to complete the booking.

Valuable direct bookings can also be gained on Tripadvisor.

More and more travelers read reviews before booking an accommodation, a restaurant or an activity. On TripAdvisor, users especially appreciate the numerous reviews and the comprehensive selection of travel information.

So which platform pays off the most?

Google is clearly ahead in meta search at the moment. But Trivago and Tripadvisor also have their advantages. While Trivago particularly captures travelers who are looking for a particular city but do not yet have a specific hotel in mind (generic traffic), Tripadvisor primarily receives traffic when guests already have selected a hotel and want to obtain additional information about the hotel, such as reviews from other guests (brand traffic).

What counts in the end is the revenue generated by the ad and the associated cost ratio. The bottom line for the hotelier is, of course, that costs and benefits should be in the right proportion. In general, we can say from our experience that the hotels which benefit most are which are broadly positioned in the metasearch world and run several campaigns at the same time.  

But there is no recipe for success. Because every hotel is individual. Accordingly, the analysis should be individual to determine which platforms make sense. Are you not sure what suits your accommodation or which channel is best to start with? No problem, our hotel specialists will be happy to advise you individually and without any obligations.