What does MetaSearch Mean to Independent Hotels & Resorts?

First, exactly what is Metasearch?  In the context of online travel, it is the aggregation multiple travel suppliers and or Online Travel Agencies (OTA). One of the first to really do it right, was Kayak.com They searched multiple suppliers and OTA’s for its results. Basically, a metasearch engine or service like Kayak, scours the internet, for the best deals and serves them up to the user.


However, the industry is changing. Priceline, Expedia and Tripadvisor – the “big three” – are swallowing up many smaller players. Priceline group bought Kayak.com for $2.1 billion in 2013.  Expedia’s been on a buying spree too. So, now the OTA’s own Metasearch sites, among others. How does this affect hotels?

Fewer choices and more consolidation means the aforementioned “big three” are developing a tighter oligopoly over hotels, cars and any other services they offer. In essence, the big 3 control control access to most of the ‘inventory’ – hotels, cars, cruises and more, seeded to the GDS system.

Its hard to say how things will play out, but the more control the OTA’s and Tripadvisor have over the market, the more hoteliers and resort operators face oligopolistic market conditions.

This means less control for hotels & resort owners, less choice of where to market, and less profit due to these ‘middleman’ is taking a big cut. What can strategies and tactics can an independent hotel or resort employ to minimize the impact?

  1. Drive as much internet search traffic as you can to your property.
  2. Make sure your hotel name is unique in terms of search ability on the internet.
  3. Work with other sites or services which drive traffic directly to your home page.
  4. Consider being a part of loyalty rewards brand like IndyKey to give guests a reason to book directly with you (to earn points) and benefit from the wider network of a franchise-like network, without the franchise fees.