The complex world of metasearch engines is further complicated by constant innovation by the major players that makes them more and more difficult for hoteliers to manage. Investment, cost per click, cost per acquisition when the booking is made or when the stay is completed, overall visibility, bookings, revenues, profitability, markets, devices, booking reconciliation or attribution models are just some of the variables that you have to be aware of and know how to manage.
If we add to this the fact that you have to look at all of this for each of the main metasearch engines (Google Hotel Ads, trivago, TripAdvisor, Kayak or Skyscanner), we understand that this can become overwhelming for many hoteliers and difficult to manage to get the most positive results from your metasearch strategy.
If we analyse the evolution of metasearch engines in recent years and the lightning speed of growth in hotel investments to up to 64% of total marketing spend, we understand the sense of frustration in the industry of not having the tools needed to help manage investments better.
Mirai Metasearch dashboard
To help make something so complicated and unwieldy much easier and quicker to manage, we have created the Mirai Metasearch dashboard, designed to help you precisely and successfully implement your metasearch strategy in full knowledge of what is happening, where and when.
The Mirai Metasearch dashboard is available:
- At no additional cost for hotels that already use the Mirai booking engine, as always with Mirai.
- For customers of Mirai Metasearch, the advanced technology that connects your hotel to metasearch engines (regardless of the booking engine you use).
Single-screen visibility and control
One of the most time-consuming and awkward issues is just finding out what is happening from one metasearch engine to another. How much am I investing? How many visits do I get? Do these visits end up in bookings? How many bookings am I making? And most importantly, am I making any money?
We answer these questions as soon as you open the dashboard with a simple presentation of the key performance indicators for each metasearch engine, adding up all the investments and revenues to give you an overall view of the profitability of your metasearch strategy.
This overall view allows you to see all the most important data on a single screen. To allow you to dive deeper into the data, we have developed a Business Intelligence module which gives you total control over the data to be analysed: conversion ratios, visits, costs, bookings or returns on investment are just a few examples. You can set the dates you want for viewing data (last week, last month, year to date or customised dates and date ranges… you choose).
All the data is displayed very visually on graphs. You can display up to 3 graphs at a time and simultaneously combine more than one value. In addition to the on-screen graph display, you can also export all the data tables to Excel whenever you wish.
Analyse your results by market, by device and by metasearch engine
Having a 10x or 12x return in Google Hotel Ads is not the same as having an 8x return in TripAdvisor (or vice versa) or to know that in the US returns are 15x while in Spain they are only 7x.
Aggregated data is always important to get the “big picture”, but never for optimising investments and making decisions. On the other hand, not being able to analyse data in greater detail can lead to hotels making incorrect decisions based on global data.
The Business Intelligence module in the Mirai Metasearch dashboard allows you to see results for each metasearch engine, market, device, hotel or day, more easily identifying the areas for improvement so you can then make the right decisions.
An example of results segmented by feeder market to get a better understanding of where you need to focus attention to optimise:
Apply the filters you need to find the result you are looking for
In the same way that it’s not enough to just have global data, having aggregated data for each metasearch engine, market or device is also not very helpful. In many cases you have to dig a lot deeper. Do you want to analyse a group of hotels rather than all of them? Or just a certain number of markets such as the US and Canada or the UK and Ireland? It would be great to be able to do that, right? Well now that’s also possible, and details like these that make all the difference. We have added powerful and flexible filters so you can find exactly the data you are looking for.
Last-click attribution or assisted bookings?
One of the biggest debates in the online marketing world, and even more so in business models based on commission payments, is the so-called “attribution model”.
In the classic CPC (cost per click) online advertising model used by almost all media we pay X cents for every click on our ad. To evaluate the profitability of this investment, we just need to measure the revenue generated and then calculate the ROI. And that is the crux of the debate:
- Should I measure revenues based on the “last click”, just like in Google Analytics reports (its default configuration)?
- Should I measure revenues based on both “last click” and also adding bookings that have been “assisted” at any time by a metasearch engine?
- If I take “assisted” bookings into account, what time frame do I use for attributing value to that assistance? The standard 30 days which everybody else seems to be using?
- What about metasearch engines that use commission models? Do the same criteria apply?
So which attribution model is correct: “last-click bookings” or “assisted bookings”?
- The “assisted bookings” point of view makes a lot of sense. It rewards all of the sites that have influenced a booking. This is often which not just 1, 2 or 3 sites, in many cases it may even be up to 10. This allows you a broader vision of the business and all the numerous channels that often intervene in what is known as the “customer journey”.
- On the other hand, if we take into account all the metasearch engines that might “assist” in some way during the customer journey, isn’t there a risk of every booking being influenced by several different metasearch engines? That’s right, and each metasearch engine might also be involved two or three times! To see precise data on sales, we have to go to the “last-click” view, even though it doesn’t really assign to each metasearch engine the merit they deserve.
There really isn’t a “right” and a “wrong” way. Both are relevant and useful. As a hotelier you should be aware of both of them, know how to interpret them and, above all, know how to easily calculate them.
To make this easier, the Mirai Metasearch dashboard now has new functionality which allows users to change from “last-click attribution” to “assisted booking” views with just a single click. You will see that some results don’t change (such as clicks or costs), but others do (bookings, revenues, commission or ROI).
Export everything to Excel and continue your analysis
As metasearch engines are just one component of your total online marketing investments, and also knowing that everyone likes to analyse data in their own way, you can also download your data in CSV format so that you can open it and add it to your existing Excel models together with data from other sources (PMS, channel manager or marketing agencies).
One of the next things we will be adding to our dashboard is quick and easy CPC bid management for each of the different metasearch engines. This is a key functionality and we will be adding it as soon as possible.
This is not something entirely new for us. Our marketing team already uses a bid management dashboard, but this is an internal tool that has not been designed for hoteliers (although some of them use it) and has a few limitations that users should be aware of.
Booking lists and attribution
Another of the biggest challenges in correctly evaluating your metasearch strategy is something as basic as identifying the bookings made through each engine.
This functionality is essential for models based on commission payments such as the Google Hotel Ads Commission Programme (GHACP), allowing hotels to quickly and easily check whether stays were made as planned or whether bookings were cancelled or modified.
Having all the bookings in a dashboard (hiding personal data to conserve privacy) also allows us to better understand our customers and their booking habits, and also know which bookings have used one, two or more metasearch engines (where only one is “last click” and the rest “assisted”). The following example shows a booking in which both TripAdvisor and Google Hotel Ads have participated.
I want access to the Mirai Metasearch dashboard. What do I have to do?
If you are a Mirai customer (either for our booking engine or Mirai Metasearch):
- Keep calm! Our Marketing and Metasearch team continues to manage and monitor your campaigns to get the maximum possible profit out of every euro invested. We do all the work for you.
- If you would nevertheless like to see the dashboard, we can help you with that with no problem at all. The more access you have to data, the better. Contact your account manager and they will let you know what you have to do next.
If you are not a Mirai customer (neither for our booking engine nor Mirai Metasearch) and you would like to learn more, all the information you need can be found at Mirai Metasearch.