Appearing in metasearch engine results can be a critical and effective tool for driving direct bookings on hotel sites, but most brands are ceding to online travel agencies in that arena. OTAs control 96% of first page booking listings on metasearch pioneer Kayak, according to L2’s Insights Report on Metasearch for Prestige Hotels. The remainder is controlled by non-Index brands (2.3%), leaving Prestige Hotel brands to appear in just 1.3% of Kayak’s first page results.
The average brand appears on the first page of Kayak results for 64% of the markets where it is present. A few exceptions have mastered the art of visibility on Kayak; Hilton, Steigenberger, and Wyndham properties appear in first page results for 100% of markets.
The exceptions are an example of the uneven distribution of brand visibility within the site. In a study of 66 Index brands, 22 had 76% to 100% of their results appearing in Kayak’s first page results. In contrast, 18 had 25% to 50% of their properties in Kayak’s first page results. Just one brand (Okura Hotels) had none of its properties appearing in first page results.
U.S. hotels lost more than $5 billion in commissions and discounts to OTAs in 2012, making direct bookings a priority. Kayak is an ideal place to start, as it hosted 1.6 billion searches in 2013 and is expected to triple that by 2019.