Tag: analytics

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Who Sends Guests (at a glance)

Who sends guests? That was the question innkeepers wanted to know when Scott spoke recently at the Bed & Breakfast Association of Virginia 2014 annual conference. In two Google Analytics sessions, Scott began by asking what the innkeepers wanted to know. Answers ranged from "How long people stay on my site" to "What do people do on the site" but the number one question was "Who is sending me guests?" Using updated and revised versions of the Google Analytics presentations from prior sessions, we discussed the basic Google Analytics tools that will help you answer the question of who sends guests, as well as how long they spend on the site, and what they do there. If you would like to cut to the chase, just be sure you are logged in to Google Analytics, then click these links to download the basic dashboard, and the B&B Directory traffic dashboard. You may need to edit the list of directories on the dashboards to reflect your paid listings. To do that, Open the dashboard, then click the pencil icon at the upper right of each widget that has "Source" in its title (Visits by Source, for example). In the next screen, look at the "Filter" line (see image at right) and read through the list of directories there. Add the domain (such as bedandbreakfast.com) of any you use that are not listed (very important!) and remove any you don't use (less important, as they will be ignored anyway). Make sure there is a "pipe" character ("|" but without the quotes) between each directory (the pipe means "OR"). Save it and you're done. Data should show up immediately, and you can see the directories who are sending you guests. For even more detail you can set up Ecommerce and Goal tracking, and…

Google search changes again

Google search changes again. There are Panda changes and Penguin changes, now Hummingbird changes, and Google has removed keywords from our Analytics, and we have to figure out what to do with Google+ and Google Local Business listings aka Google+ Local (or is it Google+ Local Business Pages this week?). What is an innkeeper to do? How can you keep up with all the changes, in order to make sure your business is successful? [caption id="attachment_878" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo by ljmacphee on Flickr[/caption]As one of my teachers (far too long ago, now) used to say, "When you are up to your ears in alligators, it is difficult to remember that your objective was to drain the swamp." He meant, of course, that the pesky details that force themselves on your attention will often keep your focus away from your real objective. In this case, the details of each change in the online marketplace can keep you from working toward your ultimate goal. More Google search changes In addition to the changes mentioned in the opening paragraph, there are two very recent major changes from Google that clamor for your attention. The first, and older of the two, is the carousel in local search. Not all searches result in a carousel, but this is changing and growing as Google rolls it out. It places a black-bordered filmstrip-style carousel at the top of the search results, with photos related to the search result to catch your eye. The second is that Google has made all searches "secure" searches (meaning they use a secure https connection), with the result that Google no longer reports keywords from its searches in Google Analytics. Neither of these two changes is minor. Being in the carousel means you show up (with a photo) at the top of…

How Effective is Your Website?

How effective is your website? You probably check where you come up in search engine results, claim your Google+ Local page, link to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more, and use Instagram and Pinterest, right? But once your guests get to your site, what do they look at? How effectively is your website delivering the goods? You could ask the same question about your blog. You may write about different things (food/recipes, things to do in the area, specials, events, etc.), but which ones do the visitors to the site actually read? Is your blog or website really effective at delivering on the promise that the guest finds in the search results? There is a way to see if your website is effective For a technical explanation, and more ways to analyze things, you may want to check out Avinash Kaushik's recent blog post, that provided the idea for this post. For our purposes, we'll look at a fairly simple way to check what guests find useful on your blog or website (and what they don't). In other words, how effective your website is. In fact, at the end of this post is a link to a spreadsheet that will give you very pretty results, if you provide the raw information. Get the Categories your site uses The first thing you'll want to do is look at your website (or blog) and consider the primary categories of the site. This may be the top level menu items on your navigation menu, or you may need to do a bit of organizing. For many inns or B&B's, this might be: Rooms and Rates About Breakfast Availability Specials Things to Do Directions If you have other areas, like a Photo Gallery, or whatever, feel free to add that, too. If you're looking at…

Tracking Revenue by Referral Source – Google Analytics

An innkeeper who attended one of my Google Analytics talks at the PAII conference in Las Vegas earlier this year wrote to ask how to track average revenue by referral sources on RezOvation (he didn't say, but we'll assume RezOvation GT, at this point). The steps given here are specific to RezO GT, but the basic approach is the same for any booking engine. The primary difference is the way you would enable GA tracking and Ecommerce tracking on your booking engine. The innkeeper wanted to use average costs, so at the end we mention the way to set that up with Goals. However, using Ecommerce tracking is much more effective, as it will use actual transaction values. There are a few steps to be done with RezOvation to make it track across their booking platform. You may have done some of these already - depending on where things stand so far. Consider this sort of a checklist: 1. In RezOvation GT's (I'm assuming you're using GT - if you're using RezO Web it may be a bit different - older RezO products, like RezO Desktop may not work entirely), in the Configuration/Settings for the System (I can't recall if it is called General or System, or whatever), find the Booking Engine Settings, and make sure you put your Google Analytics ID number in the box. While you're there, click the box to turn on Ecommerce Tracking, too (if you do this, you'll need to go to your Admin settings in GA and check the box to indicate this is an Ecommerce site to see the Ecommerce reports). 2. On each web page you'll need to add a couple of lines to the JavaScript that calls Google Analytics. Basically you're telling GA to consider the RezO booking engine as if…

Guests Come From Search, Young Guests Come from Mobile

Where do bed and breakfast guests come from? How do the find you? At the Mid-Atlantic Innkeeping Conference there were some great presentations. One of the special opportunities was to hear from the members of LocalU, a group of nationally recognized experts in local search - who present papers and seminars on local search opportunities. This one was geared toward B&B's and small lodging properties. Much of the valuable information has been presented in a blog post by Mike Blumenthal, one of the LocalU members, in the form of a survey of members of the public on how they find a bed and breakfast. Many of the results are not so much surprising, as validating. That is, many of us understand that our current guests are 45 years old or older, and that they are often less up-to-date in technology than younger people. We also understand that younger people are more likely to use mobile devices for things that older people would do on a laptop or desktop computer. The eye-openers come when this information is validated, and put into context, so we begin to see what the future would look like, and how we can begin now to make our preparations. The survey is on the LocalU blog, and is well worth reading.

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