ADAPTING TO GOOGLE’S METASEARCH EVOLUTION & NEW DMA REGULATIONS

Discover strategies for hoteliers navigating Google’s Metasearch Evolution and new DMA regulations.

Amidst sweeping changes in EU advertising, Google’s shift away from commission-based metasearch bidding marks a significant move towards a cookieless future coming in 2025, streamlining its product offerings. This change poses challenges for businesses accustomed to a hands-off approach to metasearch. Now, with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the EU, hotel marketers must navigate a digital marketplace impacted by regulatory shifts and industry dynamics, which could lead to increased OTA costs and the loss of invaluable guest data.

What does this mean for you? Well, it’s important to grasp the DMA’s goal of creating a fairer online environment. However, these rules could have unintended consequences for hotels’ direct booking methods. We’re here to help you navigate these changes and find the right balance between generating revenue and spending marketing resources efficiently.

UNDERSTANDING THE DIGITAL MARKETS ACT (DMA)

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) is a regulatory framework proposed by the EU to address competition issues and ensure fair practices in the digital marketplace. It establishes rules for digital platforms that significantly impact the European market, such as large online platforms, otherwise known as “gatekeepers” like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and self-proclaimed gatekeeper—Booking.com.

The DMA seeks to prevent anti-competitive behavior, promote innovation, and protect consumers’ interests by imposing obligations on these platforms regarding data sharing, interoperability, and fair competition. Overall, the DMA represents a significant step towards regulating the power of big tech companies and fostering a more competitive and transparent digital ecosystem.

However, what is intended to promote fairer competition may actually play into the hands of OTAs and intermediaries who have not yet been labeled as gatekeepers.

THE ROLE OF DMA : WHY IT MATTERS FOR YOUR HOTEL

As the DMA regulation comes into play, especially with metasearch, we’re noticing a decrease in clicks and resulting in bookings from Google to customers’ direct websites in the EU. These changes redirect traffic to comparison sites and OTAs, which haven’t yet been labeled as gatekeepers by DMA and now enjoy higher placements on Google.

Given this shift, the question arises: how can customers protect their direct booking strategies and continue to leverage click-based channels like search and metasearch, which are vital parts of a future without third-party cookies? These strategies are crucial not only for profitability and driving incremental bookings but also for capturing valuable first-party data—especially as third-party cookies deprecate. Owning the guest booking journey will become increasingly valuable.

DMA’S IMPACT ON ONLINE PLATFORMS & MARKET DYNAMICS

The DMA’s push for diversified placement on Google is paradoxically creating a potential dependency on OTAs, which conflicts with hoteliers’ long-standing goal of direct customer engagement. This shift could lead to increased OTA costs and the loss of invaluable guest data—assets that are the backbone of personalized marketing and customer service for hotels.

Amidst these developments, efficient metasearch channel management is your greatest asset. Leveraging seven different metasearch channels makes sure your hotel’s visibility remains robust, sidestepping the pitfalls of singular reliance on Google—and Sojern can do this for you without the high cost of OTAs and loss of guest data.

With our guidance, you can lessen your dependence on Google Hotels Ads by using a mix of metasearch publishers. This diversification helps mitigate the risk of booking declines, which is especially important for those who relied heavily on Google’s CPA bidding model.‍

SOJERN’S APPROACH TO METASEARCH & SEARCH OPTIMIZATION

As we’re about to say goodbye to commission bidding, it’s important to mix up your metasearch strategy. Diversification isn’t just a trendy word. By extending your hotel’s reach across multiple metasearch platforms, you can mitigate the risks associated with the removal of Google’s commission bidding and the stringent DMA regulations.

When you work with us, we can help you engage with seven different metasearch channels to do more than just cushion the blow. We can open up new territories for capturing direct bookings, controlling costs, and preserving your goldmine of guest data.

But this is only the beginning. To navigate the changes brought by DMA regulations and Google’s removal of commission bidding, here’s how we can support you:

  • We can help you evaluate your overall guest engagement plan, both before and after booking, to create a seamless and personalized guest journey. By understanding your guests’ needs and preferences at every stage of their experience, you can build stronger relationships and drive repeat business by leveraging our comprehensive suite of guest experience solutions.
  • Through careful analysis of travel intent signals from key data partners, we identify and engage potential guests before they even visit your site. Our advertising solutions help you stay top-of-mind throughout their travel planning process.
  • You can implement a diversified metasearch strategy to maximize your visibility and drive more direct bookings. By leveraging seven different metasearch platforms, you can mitigate the risks associated with relying solely on Google and OTAs, ensuring that you reach a broader audience and capture more bookings.
  • By focusing on retaining existing guests rather than solely acquiring new ones, you can boost profitability and solidify your market position.
  • Strengthening your channel strategy to align with evolving market dynamics and regulatory standards further reinforces your competitive edge.
  • You can maintain visibility across Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), SEM, and metasearch channels to ensure your brand remains relevant and accessible to travelers. Our approach extends beyond traditional channels to include Display and Social advertising, allowing for effective re-engagement with guests post visit.

The writing may be on the wall for commission bidding, but the story is far from over for your metasearch strategies. With proactive channel diversification and staying updated on the changes in the digital marketplace, you can still emerge on top. As impression shares fluctuate, it’s crucial to reassess your hotel’s approach to metasearch and distribution channels.

If you’re unsure of where to start, reach out and we’ll guide you through the DMA regulations and Google’s commission bidding changes, helping you navigate these challenges and emerge stronger than ever.

 

“THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY SOJERN”

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