When we started Koddi, there was still a lot of mystery in the world of metasearch. There were probably less than 50 true experts in the entire world. Few people had real insight into how these campaigns worked across the market. When telling the story of our business, we’ll often share how, in our early days, we had to beg potential customers to focus more on the metasearch channel.
And so it went for years that metasearch was the younger, smaller sibling in the digital family. However, over the past 24 months, we’ve seen metasearch grow into a key channel, often the largest in terms of driving incremental revenue to the brands with whom we partner.
Even at this level of impact, metasearch is often the least understood channel in a digital portfolio. It is common for big advertisers to have Directors of SEM, SEO, Display, Social, Analytics, and so on, but we rarely see Directors or Sr. Managers of Metasearch.
Metasearch requires knowledge across the digital spectrum in order to maximize success:
Going a level deeper, we see incredible results from teams that also have technical and distribution experience. Individuals and teams with experience across the spectrum move faster and drive more volume and return.
This is a lot of knowledge to collect and conquer. Internally, we remind our team that this is where all digital marketing is going in the future. Metasearch requires thinking for scale and automation across disciplines today, making it a great training ground for tomorrow’s digital leadership.
To be great, the new class of digital leaders – in metasearch and beyond – needs to hone a set of skills across disciplines. However, expertise in everything isn’t required. Being an expert in a handful of focus areas is more than enough with the right foundation of general knowledge.
Having a true understanding of the business allows you to develop better instincts about the campaigns being run and what is driving changes in a campaign. There are three perspectives we like to think about:
1) The traveler. Spending time understanding how the traveler thinks, researches, purchases, and experiences gives you the ability to see trends others may not. What are they doing when they find your site? What information do they need to purchase? Will it be on visit one, ten, or thirty? Why?
2) The hotel. It is impossible to truly know the market without spending time around hotels. It can be helpful to do this not only as a guest but also as staff. The staff at hotels know more about their business and their guests than the hidden-away marketer ever can hope to know. It’s important to understand what Revenue Managers or Directors of Sales do and why they make the decisions they make.
3) The market. The market has a perspective on what’s going on at any given time and often can give incredible depth and context to performance. The market understands seasonal trends and knows what’s going on with pricing. It sees spikes and dips, as well as demand and reasons for it. The market perspective can be that of a few hotels in an area, of an entire region, or both.
In many cases, it isn’t possible to synthesize all of this information at once. Specialized experience and knowledge create intuition that is helpful, not only in analysis but also in day to day communication.
We require everyone on our team to go through a little bit of technical training, even if their job isn’t technical. So many of the digital conversations of the future will have a technical angle. Equipped with a comfortable working knowledge of technology, our employees can speed through issues that would otherwise require additional resources.
Even a little knowledge can go a long way, and it’s most important to understand:
Accessing, extracting, and analyzing data are all important technical skills that empower digital leaders. Getting to the answer fast can be the difference between maximizing an opportunity or missing out. Three courses that will propel digital leaders are:
One of the often untapped benefits of participating in metasearch channels is the level of competitive intelligence it generates for advertisers. The most sophisticated and successful advertisers in the world mine this data and leverage it to improve their business by enhancing connectivity, customizing engaging user experiences, improving rates and distribution, and providing near real-time market intelligence to their teams.
In other digital channels, you might be able to use different tools to be able to see who is bidding on a keyword or going after a similar audience. In metasearch, you can understand down to an impression level what other rates are in the market and from where they originate.
Because metasearch sits at the intersection of so many different channels, it has the ability to positively impact and influence all them. Look for some of the opportunities below to maximize results across the digital portfolio:
We believe that metasearch will continue to thrive due to the level of utility it provides both users and advertisers. It will also continue to evolve, growing beside and with other digital channels. As the lines between channels blur, and advertisers focus more on the user and the action than the medium, the skills that make for an impressive metasearch leader today will be the foundation for the world’s most successful marketers tomorrow.