Last week’s post, examining whether or not BBOnline’s staff had been able to rectify the huge drop in referrals and bookings after their site redesign a year ago, observed that more information was desirable, reflecting the results of other properties.

In the comments, Sarah provided some information, indicating a similar drop of 61.4% in traffic, noting that others had increased, while some had dropped slightly, but BBOnline’s drop was the most significant – by a lot!

We also were contacted by a consultant who works with several inns. He shared with us some statistics from several of his clients, and gave us permission to post them without identifying the properties. He also noted that several of his clients have dropped BBOnline’s directory, so these only reflect clients who are still listed on BBOnline.

These figures are all for Sept. 1, 2011 through August 31, 2012, compared with Sept. 1, 2010 through August 31, 2011, so should provide a good comparison to the figures in our previous post.

Property 2011 Visits 2012 Visits Pct Change
Property A 588 256 -56.46%
Property B 1,105 350 -68.33%
Property C 883 343 -61.16%
Property D 693 178 -74.31%
Property E 937 451 -51.87%
Property F 892 277 -68.95%

The average drop year-over-year is about 63.5%.

Our statistics indicate that, for B&B directories, such as BBOnline, every 100-150 hits yields a booking. If those statistics are even roughly accurate, they indicate that these properties have dropped from getting 6-10 bookings a year from BBOnline to getting only about 1-3 bookings per year. This is consistent with the reports that have come from other innkeepers.

How can you use this information?

As our previous post observes, it is important to use tools like Intell-a-Keeper or Google Analytics’ Multi-Channel Funnels, to make sure that credit is being given for all bookings that a directory may have helped to promote. That said, the big question, is what is the ROI (return on investment) of the directory?

If you know exactly which bookings came from BBOnline, add up your total revenue from those bookings (not including taxes). If you don’t know the specific bookings, then take your average length of stay in days and multiply it by your average daily rate (ADR). The result is the average value of a booking. Multiply that number by the number of bookings from BBOnline to get the approximate revenue from BBOnline.

Take the resulting figure (revenue from BBOnline) and subtract the cost of your BBOnline subscription. The result is the raw profit or loss from BBOnline. Divide that number by the cost of your BBOnline subscription to get the ROI.

There are no “hard and fast” rules about what your ROI should be. If a directory provides value other than bookings, that should be added to the figure for revenue from the directory. In any case, you would certainly expect the ROI to be more than 2 or 3. Some say it should be more like 8-10. Our view is that it depends on the benefits the directory brings you. A directory that gets you media coverage, for example, has brought you incalculable value, yet may not directly produce high numbers of bookings.