If you’re in the hotel industry then you’ve probably heard the term ‘Metasearch’ or ‘hotel metasearch’ countless times before.
And if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably wondered ‘what in the world does this have to do with me?’
You’re probably wondering what exactly metasearch engines are and how it can benefit you.
This article not only breaks down all there is to know about Metasearch engines but, it also provides the best engines available in the market and how to get the best out of metasearch.
Table of Content
- What is a Metasearch Engine?
- Difference Between Metasearch Engine vs Search Engine
- List of Top Metasearch Engine Examples
- Metasearch Engine Advantages and Disadvantages
- Advantages of Metasearch Engine
- Disadvantages of Metasearch Engine
- Use of Metasearch Engines in the Hospitality Industry
What is Metasearch Engine?
Today, users have their choice of many metasearch engines but, many people don’t know what it is. The meaning of a metasearch engine is in what it does-
A metasearch engine searches the databases of multiple search engines simultaneously.
So to paint a picture, a metasearch engine takes the input of a user’s single search and then sends out multiple queries to third-party search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc) and then presents the user with results from all of the search engines.
You could think of it as killing multiple birds with one stone. Getting all the search results with one single search.
A metasearch engine is an approach to providing a superior search service by integrating the results from several leading search engines.
The theory is that a service that takes the best of the best ought to provide something better than the sources of these results are capable of on their own.
Like all great innovations, Metasearch engines have a history and have undergone many evolutions. The most significant point in history will be its origin in the early 90s, a metasearch engine called SearchSavvy which is commonly referred to as the OG metasearch engine.
Then of course the MetaCrawler which to this day is one of the most popular and widely mentioned metasearch engines.
Most people are familiar with what a Search engine is. We think of search engines and often what comes to mind is Google or Bing or perhaps Yahoo. A metasearch engine is similar.
Difference Between Metasearch Engine vs Search Engine
If you’re just a regular individual who often makes use of search engines like Google to get information about things, you might be wondering ‘is Google a Metasearch engine?’
No, Google is not a Metasearch engine but, it is a Search engine. This brings about the next question-
‘what is the difference between a Search Engine and a Metasearch Engine’
After all, they are both accessible on the internet and are used for searching for information. So like what’s the difference? Why can’t we just use good ol’ Google for all of our searches?
Well, here’s the difference based on what happens behind the scenes and what is presented to a user.
Behind the Scenes
A search engine is a software that searches its own database using keywords or phrases to deliver results, especially of particular websites when searching the world wide web.
A metasearch engine is a program that sends queries to multiple search engines and delivers a result based on a combination of the answers from the different search engine databases.
Because of this, a metasearch engine is commonly referred to as an ‘aggregator’ since it aggregates results from multiple search engines
To the user, when you make a search on a search engine like Google, you get results from the world wide web, and information is ranked according to the parameters set by Google.
When you make a search on a metasearch engine, you get an aggregation of results from the multiple search engines to which your metasearch engine sent queries too. In essence, you get more information. Metasearch engines do not see the world wide web directly.
List of Top Metasearch Engine Examples
This is a great website to get the web, news, image, and video search results. It grabs information from various search engines such as Ask.com, About.com, Entireweb, Business.com, Gigablast, Wisenut, and ODP.
This uses various filters to show specific information. At the same time, you can also choose the number of results that you want to get on one page, filter the domain to include or exclude that, and more others. It sends queries to AllTheWeb and MSN.
This metasearch engine operates on country-based searches. For instance, if you are searching for something that is related to the US, you can choose the US version of Vroosh to get a better search result.
A metasearch engine that aggregates German and international sources and offers a professional search. It sends queries to top search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask.
A German metasearch engine, which was developed by SUMA e.V. in collaboration with the University of Hanover. Searches are anonymized with this service as well. Noteworthy are the web associator, which displays semantically similar terms to the search query, and code search which shows the open-source code.
A metasearch engine from Germany that conducts anonymized searches in about ten different sources.
This metasearch engine comes from the same company as Dogpile (InfoSpace LLC) and is another interface of the same search engine technology. Webcrawler and Webfetch also belong to InfoSpace.
Search.com is popular because of its simplicity and a great number of features. It presents a simple layout that looks similar to search engines like Google. This metasearch engine sends queries to Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask.
Unabot is a consolidation of all metasearch engines. That means, you will get a huge number of metasearch engines on the list, which can be used anytime. On the other hand, you can refine the search by country. It works like Vroosh and you can get results based more accurately.
Dogpile is an American metasearch engine that offers a variety of functions. For example, Preferences (search preferences), or Favorite Fetches (searches from other users).
Ixquick is a Dutch metasearch engine that processes search queries anonymously and represents results with a star system. An interesting feature of Ixquick, are the various settings options such as advanced search, powerful refinement, and limitation to European servers.
It sends queries to more search engines than others and some of the search engines include All the Web, Exalead, Qkport, Ask, Gigablast, Wikipedia, Bebo, MSN, Winzy, CNN, NBC, Yahoo, EntireWeb, and OPD.
Metasearch Engine Advantages and Disadvantages
The use of Metasearch engines comes with its Pros and Cons. The Pros and Cons are discussed further below.
Advantages of Metasearch Engine
- By sending multiple queries to several other search engines this extends the coverage data of the topic and allows more information to be found.
- It also reduces the work of users from having to individually type in searches from different engines to look for resources.
- A metasearch engine can also hide the searcher's IP address from the search engines queried thus providing privacy to the search.
- For businesses such as Hotels, metasearch engines help generate direct bookings and thereby help in generating revenue.
Disadvantages of Metasearch Engine
- A metasearch platform won’t have collected data from previous searches, online usage, etc. Google, for example, collects data overtime to ensure your results are relevant to you.
- Pay-per-click links are prioritized and are normally displayed first.
- Metasearching also gives multiple identical results from the queried engines so results may not be as precise as when a user is using an advanced search engine.
Use of Metasearch Engines in the Hospitality Industry
Thanks to its core function of sending user requests to several other search engines and aggregating the results into a single list, metasearch presents a huge opportunity in the hospitality industry.
In relation to hotels and travel, Metasearch Engines are used primarily as a platform where several hotels’ inventory, rates, and availability are displayed in one place.
This information is pulled from hotel websites and/or Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) they work with. The Metasearch engine or website then displays it for customers to be able to compare between the various hotels.
The use of a Metasearch Engine in hotels isn’t limited to making inquiries about hotels or making comparisons but, it also includes direct bookings.
Through these Metasearch engines or websites, customers are able to directly make a booking in your establishment and redirect customers to your site where they can make payments.
Some popular hotel metasearch engines include Tripadvisor and Google Hotel Ads.
In 2018, a survey carried out by Eye for Travel revealed that 94% of travelers use metasearch sites to compare hotel rates. This shows indeed how relevant the use of metasearch engines is in hotels.
Find out in detail the value of hotel metasearch engines to your hotel and how to connect your hotel to top metasearch engines.
EyeForTravel. “94% of travel consumers compare hotel prices on metasearch.”
Eye For Travel, 26 November 2018.
Accessed 06 August 2021.