Metasearch PPS or PPC – which is right for me?

Claire Sawier
October 21, 2020
metasearch pps or ppc featured image
Hotels welcome new Google Pay-Per-Stay (PPS) as a risk free way to advertise directly on Google Hotel Ads. But what about traditional Metasearch PPC? We look at the differences and advise hotels on when to use Metasearch PPS versus Metasearch PPC.

Metasearch advertising is a vital part of your hotel’s Digital Marketing mix. With 90% of travellers using metasearch when searching for hotels there can be no doubting its importance. 

When Covid-19 first hit, Google launched Metasearch Pay-Per-Stay (PPS), a risk free, no booking, no fee metasearch model that enables hotels to engage with Google Hotel Ads and only pay for the business they get.

Which is right for me?

But what about traditional Metasearch Pay-Per-Click (PPC)? Should hotels that have been advertising successfully on the more familiar Metasearch PPC model switch to risk free Metasearch PPS instead? And should hotels that currently use Metasearch PPS stick with this model forever?

The answer to both questions is no, and the reason is that Metasearch PPS and Metasearch PPC are different. They are not just the same product with different payment options – they are different products offering contrasting payment models.

To help decide if your hotel should be on Metasearch PPS or Metasearch PPC let’s look at some of the differences:

Payment model

Metasearch PPS
With PPS you pay per stay.  Cancellations are not charged for.

Metasearch PPC
With PPC, you pay for every click whether the guest stays or not and whether the guest cancels or not.


Metasearch PPS
Currently only available on Google Hotel Ads (the largest of the metasearch channels).

Metasearch PPC
Gives you access to all metasearch Channels – Trivago, Tripadvisor, Kayak, Momondo, Mundi, Skyscanner, Bing Hotel ads and more.

Brand visibility

In both cases your ad will only be seen when you have availability on your booking engine.

Metasearch PPS
You do not have any control over your visibility. The Google algorithm alone determines what searches your ads will appear for. 

Metasearch PPC
You have full control over the visibility of your ad and can decide what searches your ads will appear for (by country, length of stay, booking window, day of week, hour of day, and device).

Return on Investment (ROI) 

Metasearch PPS
ROI is fixed. The cost remains the same and there is no opportunity to optimise ROI. 

Metasearch PPC
You can optimize ROI to lower your cost per acquisition (CPA) over-time.

When to use PPS vs PPC

Metasearch PPS is ideally suited to hotels that are new to metasearch and want to try it out with zero risk. All you need is a connectivity partner. Every single hotel should be in control of their presence on metasearch, and this is the best way to start. 

If your hotel is currently using Metasearch PPS and is getting a good volume of bookings it may be a good time to consider moving to the more growth orientated Metasearch PPC model.

metasearch start grow scale

A good metasearch specialist partner like Bookassist will manage and optimise your campaigns to grow booking volume, lower your overall CPA, and increase ROI.

Ideally hotels should move from the start phase using Metasearch PPS to a growth phase using Metasearch PPC in a relatively short time scale. The key is to get started on Metasearch PPS and then move to Metasearch PPC to grow and optimise your metasearch business.

The set and forget approach of Metasearch PPS is easy and risk free but don’t get stuck here too long – you could end up paying too much!

But I already invest in Search PPC

If you already use traditional search PPC you may think that you’re covered and do not need to be on metasearch but the fact is, you need both. You need to be where your customers are, and they are using both search engines and metasearch engines to research and book hotels. 

Metasearch PPC/PPS and Search PPC are complementary. Combining a search ad with a metasearch placement significantly increases your presence on the search results page.

Metasearch allows you to target specific check-in days, booking windows and lengths of stay, something Search PPC can’t do. On the other hand, traditional Search PPC allows you to bid on certain keywords, something Metasearch PPC can’t do. Traditional Search PPC is therefore critical to brand building and awareness enabling you to reach people while they are in research mode, as well as booking mode. 

The Bottom line

Every hotel should include metasearch as part of their direct strategy so that they can capture those metasearch bookings that are already going to OTAs. Rather than being represented on metasearch channels solely by OTAs, hotels should engage directly with metasearch to immediately gain bookings and save money due to the lower direct commissions involved compared to OTAs. The best way to get started on metasearch is with Google Metasearch PPS, but don’t get stuck there or you’ll miss the opportunity to optimise, grow, and scale.

Metasearch PPS versus Metasearch PPC

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