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BBOnline Traffic Results Confirmed

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. Property2011 Visits2012 VisitsPct Change Property A588256-56.46% Property B1,105350-68.33% Property C883343-61.16% Property D693178-74.31% Property E937451-51.87% Property F892277-68.95% 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…

Social Media: Are You Getting the Most from It?

Transitioning from our recent posts on measuring social impact with Google Analytics and Using Google Analytics' Multi-Channel Funnels, we presented a webinar for the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) discussing ways to measure the results of using social media, and tools to help make the best use of your time. The presentation is below, with general commentary (not a transcript) below. Social Media: Is it Worth It? View more presentations from Scott Thomas. What is our objective? Without defining a goal for social media, we can't really tell if it is of any value. Goals might include a large number of followers, engagement with your followers, visits to your website, or bookings at your lodging property. Virtually every social network will tell you how many followers you have. A big number is impressive, and certainly some measure of word of mouth may help with brand exposure, but for a small business, followers alone are hardly a practical goal. Systems also can tell you whether your followers are valuable, but these systems do not measure whether they have monetary value to you. They measure whether your followers have a lot of followers, whether they seem to have influence, or whether they share your posts with their followers. They may also place value on whether your followers interact (engage) with you. Facebook's Insights show how well your followers engage with you. Engagement can have value, as with 'word of mouth' marketing, but in and of itself, it is of little value to a lodging property. That doesn't mean you don't want followers or engagement - only that followers or engagement, themselves, are not the measure of value we are looking for. Website visitors from social sites can be a bit tricky to measure - all the more so because links in…

BBOnline – Now We’re Really Worried

Recently we posted about a very significant decline in the amount of referral traffic we had observed coming from BBOnline.com. Several innkeepers posted in the comments, some noticing similar drops. Some, like ours, have been enormous, while others have been "only" 40-50% (during a time when referrals from most other directories have increased!). We have not heard from anyone who has observed anything other than a significant drop in referrals. As we had mentioned, we had written to BBOnline to ask if they were aware of this, and if they were doing anything to rectify it. Since the article appeared we have received a reply, which scares us all the more. [pullquote]To say that the reply from BBOnline is disappointing is an understatement.[/pullquote]To say that the reply from BBOnline is disappointing is an understatement. Since we have no desire to be seen as attacking BBOnline, and we do not intend to embarrass the writer of the email, we'll only share excerpts of the reply. Our original email to them was simply a report of our Analytics, showing the huge dropoff in referrals dating from the time of their website update (December 7, 2011), and asking if they were aware of it, and asking for assurance that they were working on a solution. Disappointingly, the reply was more notable for corporate sales-speak than for content. BBOnline's Response, Point-by-Point 1. We have taken many steps to improve the SEO of the site. BBOnline states that their "brand new features", constant changes of the way listings appear, and tracking of user behavior has improved the SEO. Wow, where do you start? It is true that many articles on SEO best practices will talk about keeping your content fresh, but other than that, where is the genuine SEO work? Are title and meta tags…

Google Analytics – Beyond the Basics

Following our recent posts on Google Analytics, How to Evaluate Your Paid Listings in Five Minutes or Less, and How to Take Charge of Your Online Marketing Statistics, we presented two sessions on Google Analytics at the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) annual conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, in January, 2012. The slide deck below is from the first session, Google Analytics - Beyond the Basics. Our other presentation, Measuring the Success of Your Online Marketing, was posted yesterday. Below is the slide deck from the presentation. Below the deck is the link to the downloadable custom report (make sure you are logged in to your Google Analytics account, using the new GA, then click on the link and you should get the custom report in your list of Custom Reports. As mentioned at the presentation, the report assumes that your GA goal for Booking is Goal 1 (in Goalset 1) and your goal for Engagement is Goal 6 (the first goal in Goalset 2). You should modify the report to use your actual goals, if they are different. Google Analytics - Beyond the BasicsView more presentations from Scott Thomas. If you only wanted the link to the custom report, called the Source Efficiency Analysis report, you will find it at http://goo.gl/Cx0VG.

Measuring the Success of Online Marketing

As a follow-up to our recent posts on Evaluating Your Paid Listings and Taking Charge of Your Online Marketing, we presented two sessions on Google Analytics at the recent Innkeeping Conference for the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) at its annual conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. At the conference, time made it necessary to hurry through some of the slides, near the end of the presentations, in particular. As a result, we are posting the slide decks here, so you can revisit them and copy down any necessary information, links, etc. The first of these is the session called "Measuring the Success of Your Online Marketing", and the slides are below. Measuring the Success of Online MarketingView more presentations from Scott Thomas.