Google Analytics – Climbing Higher

At the end of January we gave two presentations on Google Analytics for innkeepers at the PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers International) annual conference in Las Vegas. Last week we provided the presentation called "Getting Started with Google Analytics". This week we'll wrap it up with our other presentation, Google Analytics - Climbing Higher. In this presentation we'll look at Ecommerce Tracking, Goals, Multi-Channel Funnels, and a custom dashboard for a quick overview of the performance of paid listings. You can add the Google Analytics dashboard mentioned in the presentation by logging in to your Google Analytics account, then clicking this link to add it to your Dashboards.

Year End Review: Cutting through the cobwebs

[Updated, December, 2014] In our previous posts, we've talked about organizing a year end review of your bookings and about the information that will help you identify guest booking trends and stronger or weaker performing rooms, providing an outline of the information you can track (or should start tracking) to prepare you for next year's review. In this concluding post we'll talk about a year end review of web analytics, specifically emphasizing paid listings. For the purposes of this post, we'll assume you have Google Analytics (or something similar - but we'll use GA for our examples and terminology) installed on your website. If not, you'll certainly want to have it installed soon, so you can track information for next year. [pullquote]Our Key Performance Indicators are Referrals and Bookings over time.[/pullquote]The primary things we want to look at (our Key Performance Indicators, or KPI's, if you will) are referral sources and bookings over time, and specifically bookings and participation in bookings from our paid listings. In plain English, how is our website doing at attracting traffic and converting it to bookings, and how are paid listings doing at getting us bookings. Referral Sources over Time For this piece of information, there are two things we want to examine. The first is quite simple - it is how did we do this past year, compared to the year before. To see this, in the Reporting section (top), we'll go to the left side menu, Acquisition -> All Referrals. Then go to the top right column where the date range is located, and put in the entire previous year (for 2014, that would be Jan 1, 2014 through Dec 31, 2014). Below that tick the box for Compare to Previous Period (or Previous Year) and click Apply. If you want to see…

Year End Review: Who’s Naughty or Nice?

The first part of this series discussed the sources of information for our year end review. In this post we'll look at ways you can "drill down" in the information you have to learn more about the year's performance. If you haven't been keeping records that will give you the information, we'll talk about how to get started keeping those records. We'll look at two different areas for our year end review. The first will be a look at bookings and revenue. The second, in the third installment in this series, will be website performance, referral sources, and the like. Year End Review of Bookings and Revenue [pullquote]There is gold to be mined in your guest records![/pullquote]Most (but, incredibly, not all) property management software or online booking systems will allow you to generate a report that will show the number of bookings you had over the past year, and the amount of revenue that represents. Fewer of them will allow either a direct comparison with the prior year, or at least allow you to run a second report for the prior year, so you can compare the figures manually. That's a good start, but there is so much more gold to be mined! Year End Review of Room Performance In essence, your guests are telling you, by their booking patterns, which rooms they prefer. Our objective is to see what they are telling us, and learn from it. So we'll begin by looking at the performance of individual rooms. Many PMS systems will provide a report of room performance, showing nights booked by room, revenue by room, and ADR (Average Daily Rate) by room. If yours gives this information, use it. Be sure you can compare it to prior years, as well. If your software doesn't do it, or if…

Year End Review: Making a List

Wouldn't it be nice to do a year end review of the year's bookings and see if there are areas that can be improved? As the calendar year draws to a close, our natural tendency is to take a look at how we did this year. But what will give you that information? Most of us will look at total revenue, total number of room nights sold, and perhaps one or two other statistics, and then hope we're on track and getting better. What else will help us measure our performance, and decide what changes could increase performance? In this post we'll talk about the sources of information we'll need. In our next post we'll talk about how to organize that information so we can evaluate not only our performance, but the performance of our paid directory listings and other paid advertising. Where Does the Information Come From? Our purpose is to review our annual performance in several areas, to see what changes might improve performance in coming years. Certainly knowing total revenue and number of rooms sold, compared to prior years, is helpful, but that hardly gives us any information to see how to improve. Information about bookings, revenue, etc. Ideally we would like all the information about our bookings and guest behavior for our year end review to come from the reports in our booking systems. As we've pointed out in our product reviews, the greatest weakness of most booking systems is their lack of adequate reporting. Even those few who do offer a reasonably good selection of reports may not have one that gives you exactly what you need. If you find that your booking system doesn't provide all the information you need in its reports, there are several steps to take: Determine how much of the…

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…

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