How Did You Do Last Year?

It's that time again. A new year, and with it lots of good intentions resolutions to improve business for the new year. This is the time to go back over some statistics from last year to try to genuinely understand how you did last year, especially compared with the prior year, and to see what worked, and should be kept, and what didn't. I've written previously about year-end reviews, so, instead of re-inventing the wheel, I've revised and updated the three posts for 2014/2015, along with the spreadsheet for checking on room performance, which you can download from the posts. As mentioned in the posts, if you don't have a way of tracking this kind of information, start tracking it now. Use the spreadsheet, and update it once a month. It will take you half an hour a month, and at the end of the year, you'll have valuable information to use when looking back at 2015. These posts describe the most important aspect - using Google Analytics' Ecommerce tracking to validate how paid referral sources are performing. As mentioned there, you should consider other factors in addition to Ecommerce results when decided to keep or drop a paid source. However, Ecommerce tracking is so valuable that one more thing needs to be said: If your booking engine doesn't properly support Ecommerce tracking, get another booking engine! Five years ago it may have made sense to say, "My booking engine doesn't have ecommerce tracking, but it will soon. I'll wait." Five years has passed and they still don't support it. Get one that does! The Year End Review posts are: Year End Review: Making a List (Creating a spreadsheet to track room performance) Year End Review: Who's Naughty or Nice? (Looking at month-by-month performance) Year End Review: Cutting Through the…

Google Analytics: Tracking the Money

At the recent Hospitality Marketing Summit Conference in Denver, I gave three presentations on Google Analytics. This is the third of those three, Google Analytics: Tracking the Money. The earlier Google Analytics presentations were Google Analytics: Follow the Money and Beginning Google Analytics. Google Analytics tracking using Ecommerce tracking can be a very effective way to evaluate paid listings. However, it is necessary to use a booking engine that supports Ecommerce tracking, and then set up Ecommerce tracking properly. You can achieve similar, though less precise, results using Goal tracking if your booking engine doesn't support Ecommerce. But why? Ecommerce has been around far too long, and it is far too important, for booking engines not to support it. You should be using a booking engine that supports it. Slide descriptions are below the embedded slideshow. Slide 1: Overview: We'll discuss what we want to know, and how we track it. Where to find this information, and how we can simplify getting the information we need. Slide 2: We may want to know who sends visitors to our site, but visitors are not bookers. We want to know who sends the visitors who book. And we want to be able to compare paid sources to see how they perform. Slide 3: Sources sending visitors to our website are tracked in the Acquisition menu section in the Google Analytics tracking world. Clicking on Acquisition -> All Traffic, or to get a report without search engine traffic, Acquisition -> All Referrals, will show a list of who sends visitors. In order to filter out and view only the paid listings, we can create a custom Segment (a grouping of referral sources we choose) so that we can compare them directly. If we want to know how much revenue we have received from…

Beginning Google Analytics

The second session I presented at the Hospitality Marketing Summit in Denver was entitled Beginning Google Analytics, and was an overview of how to find your way around the Google Analytics screens, and how to find just the information you need. In other words, to get those who are beginning to use Google Analytics started without all the clutter of a complex product. A few minutes into the session the hotel had a power cut - and everything went dark! The projector was off, my laptop was on battery, the room and hallway lights were out. It was just me, in a dark room full of people looking for information. It stayed that way for the rest of the session. Thankfully, those attending were great sports, and wanted to continue. So I went through the "slides" - attempting to describe what I would have shown, and explaining as best I could with no visual aids. To that group, this post is dedicated, as the "invisible" slides are below, with my descriptions below that. Slide 1: Overview. We'll be covering Navigating the Google Analytics screens; How to focus on the most important areas; and how to automate repetetive tasks. Slide 2: As we navigate the screens, we'll look at date ranges, and how to change them, understanding the graph at the top of most reports, understanding and using the table of data in the reports, and we'll look at the most relevant menu selections along the left side. Slide 3: Looking at the Graph, the default shows points for each day in the date range. You'll find that changing to the other options can be useful. This is useful if you are looking at a month or two. If you are looking at only a few days, Hourly might be useful.…

Google Analytics – Follow the Money

At last week's Hospitality Marketing Summit Conference in Denver, Colorado, I presented several sessions on Google Analytics for Innkeepers. The first of those sessions, entitled Follow the Money, gave an overview of how Google Analytics can help innkeepers evaluate their paid marketing to see if they are getting good value for the investment, that is, to see if they get an adequate return on investment. The slideshow is below. Beneath it is a description based on my HMS Conference session. I hope you enjoy it! Slide 1: Title Slide 2: Overview - the presentation will cover (1) reasons people give for not using analytics; (2) a case study; and (3) some words of caution. Slide 3: Here are several (bad) reasons people give for not using Google Analytics. The link is to a prior post on this blog, with even more reasons. Slide 4: What do you, the Innkeeper, really want to know about visitors to your website? The answer is generally the same: What sites send visitors (and how many), what sites send bookings, and how does one paid source compare with other paid sources. Slide 5: Bear in mind, that while sites that send lots of traffic are nice, visits are not bookings. You can't spend visits. By themselves, they don't produce income. There are a lot of reasons people visit your site but do not book. Slide 6: If you can learn which sites send visitors who book, then you can find the return on investment (ROI) for a paid listing, and compare the actual value of your paid listings. Slide 7: How do we evaluate this? Many innkeepers go by "feel" - they "feel" that a site isn't providing bookings. Others ask the guests, and we know that isn't reliable information! Slide 8: The better way…

Where Have We Been? Where are we going?

Where have we been? Apologies for not posting for quite some time (though I continue to share on Twitter and Facebook the posts of others that I find useful or interesting). I have two "excuses" for not posting. Neither is perfect. One is that since we sold our B&B in May of 2013, we "tuned out" a bit. Sorry. The other is that I've been doing a bit of consulting that creates a bit of a conflict of interest for some types of posts. That said, I do plan to post from time-to-time, but don't be surprised if it isn't terribly frequent. Do feel free to connect via Facebook (if you PM me on Twitter, I might not find out about it for months, as I find the signal-to-noise ratio on Twitter to be unacceptably static-filled. Email via the contact form on this blog is always fine, though. Meanwhile, what's up? This week I'll be in Denver for the inaugural Hospitality Marketing Summit Conference, created and hosted by Acorn Internet Services and Whitestone Marketing. I'll be doing three all-new sessions on Google Analytics for lodging properties. All three sessions will stress making Google Analytics simple and useful. We'll focus on getting right to the heart of what you want to know - what sites send visitors who book. I'll also be co-hosting one with Acorn's Lisa Kolb on testing the Google-friendliness of your site. In addition, I'll be doing several one-on-one mini-consultations, as well as hanging out wherever and with whomever is interesting. ;-)

×