January 23, 2020
Reading time
3 min

Part II: The most common errors on metasearch - how to make your campaign a success!

The goal is clear: to increase direct bookings and thus sales via the hotel's own website while keeping costs as low as possible. By now, everyone is aware of the importance of metasearch campaigns. However, such a campaign is not a successful self-runner. We continue the first part of our series "The most common errors on Metasearch" and show how your campaign will be a success!

Error #4 - Non-trackable bookings are not considered

Even though we live in a technologically advanced world, we cannot follow every single user on their entire booking journey, even if this is often mistakenly assumed.

For example, a significant number of users use cookie blockers, which make it impossible for online marketing providers to track customer behaviour online.

Another major problem is the so-called "multi-device issue": Users first search for an accommodation on their mobile phones, but then use their laptops for booking. It is therefore possible that the person making the booking became aware of your hotel due to your ad on trivago, clicked on it, but used another device to go to your website and book directly.

We estimate that 25% to 30% of all bookings due to metasearch campaigns cannot be tracked via normal user tracking. Therefore, it is always worth comparing the data of the meta campaigns with those of your own booking engine in order to gain an insight into how many bookings were actually generated online.

Error #5 - A ROAS as high as possible

A further error often lies in the evaluation of the ads only on the basis of the return on ad spend. The key figure is erroneously considered too one-sided. Although the ROAS provides information on the actual profit achieved per ad spend, it does not inform you on the overall impact of metasearch campaigns.

When evaluating the advertisements, it is therefore essential to take into account the interaction of the individual campaigns. With a ROAS of 16% for the mobile ad on Tripadvisor compared to 240% of the desktop campaign, most hoteliers would probably rather switch off the mobile ad than continue running it, but this is the mistake.

Due to the cross-media booking journey of most users, it makes sense in some cases to leave the ads live even if the individual performance is supposedly unsatisfactory, as this can have a positive effect on the overall result. In the example, the overall result of the Tripadvisor campaigns should be considered and not the individual ads.

Error #6 - Missing onsite-conversion optimization of your website and booking engine

You are running a metasearch campaign with the aim to improve the bad conversion rate of your website or booking page? This is another erroneous assumption! These are two completely different situations.Metasearch campaigns are used as an instrument to draw the attention of users and thus start at the beginning of the sales funnel. However, they cannot induce the user to actually book. So the ads have no direct influence on the conversion rate.

Rather, the requirement for a successful metasearch campaign and the increase in the willingness of users to book is a conversion-optimized website or booking engine.

This should be analyzed with regard to user friendliness and content. Also the effect of the design should not be underestimated, for example colours have different effects on the user. A red booking button is sometimes more dissuasive than a green colour. The be-all and end-all, however, is mobile optimization. Travellers are now primarily using their smartphone and tablet instead of their computer. Even though most visitors still book via their desktop, the number of mobile bookings is also increasing.

Before you decide to launch a metasearch campaign, you should first make sure if your current website and booking engine are suitable for this and, if necessary, have them optimized by experts.