The latest developments in metasearch will make it more flexible, more helpful, multi-platform, better targeted and less focussed on single products.
Robin Sutherland, Travel Supermarket managing director, told Travel Distribution Summit delegates that metasearch will evolve into less of a “blunt instrument”.
He said the channel will increasingly offer a less rigid experience with consumers able to be a lot more flexible with their search requirements.
“Too many travel sites are restricted upfront making people choose a date or destination before they start their search,” he said.
“Delivering flexibility can be a bit of an effort and can be a pain, but the value is there. Technology has moved on and there is the ability to really make it work now in an effective way.”
The second trend, Sutherland said, was “from ‘DIY’ to ‘here to help’.” “Meta has traditionally been about giving people a long list of product in price order.
“The onus has been very much on the consumer [to filter], but going forward I see that changing whether it be through product differentiation, content or personalisation or ultimately recommendation.”
Sutherland added there was an opportunity for metasearch to move to displaying packages created dynamically “particularly when holidays can be cheaper than flights for certain dates and certain destinations”.
Mobile will also play a key role in the development of metasearch, Sutherland said, with the key challenges being whether to favour apps or mobile web and how to make the customer journey seamless across platforms.
“Also, you have to have effective ROI across platforms, to make sure you are spending marketing money wisely,” he said.
Finally, Sutherland said metasearch will evolve from a blunt marketing channel based on volume and a flat PPC model to a “partnership”.
“The key evolution is happening in terms of how companies are setting up partnerships with suppliers. It’s about being flexible, have a marketing partnership for each of your partners.”