The UBIO Blog

Industry Insight
April 17, 2023
4 min

Hotel Metasearch: The impact of direct hotel rates on user experience

A staggering 89% of online consumers have switched to a competitor’s website after a bad user experience, a study by Zippia found. In addition to the common user experience considerations, hotel metasearch platforms have further challenges to be aware of - limitations in content, pricing inaccuracies or the inability to offer the lowest rates - all of which can have a significant impact, threatening reputation, competitive advantage and revenue.

Hotel metasearch that can access direct rates for all hotels, which are known to be the cheapest in over 50% of cases, give themselves a huge commercial opportunity. This empowers their customers to search, compare and book the best rates for their travel, improve their experience and results in greater brand loyalty, improved conversions and increased revenues. Leading metasearch platforms such as trivago and Google have already embraced UBIOs Smart Feed hotel content solution that provides direct hotel rates for metasearch at scale, enabling their users to discover, compare and book the lowest hotel rates.

The challenge of displaying comprehensive and accurate travel data

A challenge facing many hotel metasearch platforms is how to best access direct hotel rates, which are the cheapest over 50% of the time. The reality for the consumer is that hotel content can often be of poor quality on metasearch websites, lacking coverage or with limited direct rates. Metasearch platforms that are unable to provide consumers with the cheapest hotel rates creates a poor experience for their users, leads to churn and damages the brand.

Skift’s latest State of Travel report found that price is becoming more important than ever for consumers in the travel industry. With average daily rates and other prices rising, travellers are now spending more time researching and comparing travel options in order to find the best rates. Challenges around accessing and displaying the best rates, together with rate discrepancies, are impacting the user experience and having a direct effect on consumers' likelihood to purchase. According to TravelPerk, 29% of travellers prefer booking directly with 21% of them doing so because they are getting the best price.  

How most hotel aggregators tackle the challenge of accessing content 

Hotel aggregators typically attempt to overcome the challenges around content coverage and accuracy by doing more of what they were doing - leveraging direct APIs and using the content provided by OTAs, most often, and Expedia. This is failing to solve the underlying problem of the lack of direct rates though and it remains the case that over 70% of the hotel rates on metasearch platforms are not direct rates from hotels. 

Using OTA data on metasearch sites does solve the problem of coverage, but at the cost of losing differentiation, brand loyalty, and redirecting customers to competitive offerings that may have better pricing, more accurate availability and discounted loyalty rates. If a consumer recognises that they can discover and book directly with the OTA, why would they need to use the metasearch platform again in the future at all?

Direct hotel rates - is there a better solution? 

A number of leading hotel metasearch sites are turning to new connectivity technology to solve the challenge of accessing direct rates. This unique way of solving the problem is not reliant on hotels having API capability, or already integrating with OTAs. It does not require hotels to create any type of integration and means, simply, that metasearch platforms can access and display direct rates for any hotel that has a website. 

With the ability to access content and hoteliers' prices that were previously unavailable to them, metasearch sites can offer the best rates, and mitigate availability and price discrepancies. This empowers consumers to search, compare and book the best rates for their travel, improving their experience and the metasearch platform’s bottom line.

UBIOs Smart Feed hotel content solution provides direct hotel rates for metasearch at scale, enabling their users to discover, compare and book the lowest hotel rates. With 126 million data points, our customers tell us that being able to display the best rates directly from the hotels themselves is improving customer experience and helping them to differentiate in the market to increase revenues. You can check out the recent Skift article here on how trivago is using UBIO to access direct rates and create a capability for direct access between hotels and travellers.

Read more on UBIO's Smart Feed solution.

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