Lack of price accuracy is probably the most annoying problem in metasearch. One of the reasons is the several components to get to the final price, together with the disparity in legislations across the many countries regarding how to show prices.
- Tax base.
- Taxes (VAT).
- Local taxes.
- Resort fee (or others).
Instead, there is a global consensus of what worldwide users want: they demand knowing the final price they will have to pay. Any other price is irrelevant and confusing.
Big differences across countries
In many countries, such as in Europe in general, the existing legislation enforces transparency, and the price to show is always the final. However, in other markets such as The United States, it works in a completely different way and prices can be shown excluding all taxes and fees. That creates absurd situations such as the following where a user sees $325 in the meta but ends up paying $411 (26% more) to book the hotel. Crazy.
Google’s bet for transparency
Google has been the first to take action on this matter by adding the option to see prices in the way user prefers.
- Per night but EXCLUDING taxes and fees (this option is not available in Europe where it’s mandatory to show final prices)
- Per night but INCLUDING taxes and fees.
- Total price of the stay (all nights) INCLUDING taxes and fees.
In the following example, we can see how the price changes as we select each option, making the process much more transparent and simpler.
- Nightly Price: $140
- Nightly total: $140 + 10% VAT + local tax = $157
- Stay total: $157 x 2 nights = $314
As a hotelier, how does this new feature affect my meta investments?
You have to double check that your meta provider is breaking down all components of the price (tax base, taxes, local tax, and fees) in its integration with Google Hotel Ads. Otherwise, you will lose competitiveness appearing to be more expensive when you are not. This is what is happening to this important chain with one of its hotels in Paris. The direct channel maintains parity with OTA, but the “nightly price” view shows otherwise making the direct official site less attractive.
At Mirai, we take much care of all these details, perfectly breaking down prices in the different components. We not only do so for Google Hotel Ads but also for all other metasearch engines (Tripadvisor, trivago, Kayak y Skyscanner).