Tag: seo

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How to Provide the Information Guests Want

Our first post in this series provided an overview of how guests find and book a lodging property, based on research from WIHP, a hotel marketing agency. The four step process assumes the future guest has selected a destination area and then proceeds through the steps of (1) discovery of a particular property, (2) seeking information about the property to see if it is a good prospect (the zero moment of truth), (3) the guest on your website (the first moment of truth), and (4) the guest at your property (the second moment of truth). Our second post discussed the process by which a guest "discovers" (or learns of) your property as a possible place to stay. Our topic today, then, is the "Zero Moment of Truth," or the time when the guest has decided on a location to visit, has learned of your property as a possible place to stay, but has not yet seen your website, and wants to find out more about your property. [pullquote]Around 80% of searches for more information are on a search engine. Ignore that at your peril.[/pullquote] The findings from WIHP indicate that nearly three-quarters (72.9%) of all prospective guests will look for your property on a search engine. Another 9.6% will look on a mapping website. Since most (but certainly not all) mapping sites are affiliated with search engines, this amounts to around 80% of all searches for more information going through a search engine. That is a statistic to be ignored at your peril. Another 7.3% seek information from a review site (such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc.). After that the numbers fall off radically for travel guides (3%) and social media sites (0.8%). Just a side note - if you're counting on your social media sites (Facebook, Google Plus, etc.) to…

Facebook: Beyond the Basics (Presentation)

The Maine Innkeepers Association Educational Seminar for April, 2011, was held on April, 28, 2011, and the subject was Social Media - Beyond the Basics. We gave a brief presentation on Facebook: Beyond the Basics, emphasizing engagement and mentioning, to a lesser extent, optimization and measurement. Here is the video (transcript below): Transcript: Hello, this is Scott from AboutTheInn.com. This is a short presentation from on using Facebook, that's beyond the basics from an event on Social Media put on by the Maine Innkeepers Association that was held on April 27, 2011. So as we move beyond the basics of Facebook, we'll be focusing on three areas. The areas will be engagement, to some extent optimization and measurement of the progress, but primarily we'll be focusing on engagement. We'll do mostly Facebook, a little bit on Twitter, and to some extent these things all apply to LinkedIn. They also apply to other things where you may find your customers, but most of the principles are uniform - there are some differences and we'll talk about those as we go along. So first of all we need to consider just what the goal is. Often times we get absorbed in Facebook or Twitter, or whatever your platform of choice may be, and we think about how we're going to do it, and how we're going to find time to do it all, and we really don't think about what we're really trying to accomplish. So much as I hate the terminology 'heads in beds', that is the bottom line, because when we sell rooms, for lodging properties, that's how we pay the bills, no matter how we want to characterize it. So we need to consider whether or not we have a plan, and the plan should include engaging guests and…

Analytics simplified – GA Evolution

From conversations with innkeepers at some recent conferences, we know that innkeepers understand that web analytics are important, and they are searching for ways to use and understand them, but are not finding that to be an easy task. We were looking at tools that provided some additional capabilities for Google Analytics, and came across GA Evolution, and think it may help some innkeepers get useful results, without overwhelming amounts of raw data. GA Evolution is not intended to provide all the information in Google Analytics. For example, it provides no information on where your visitors came from, time on site, etc. However, it does a really nice job of slicing and dicing the information about visits, page views, bounce rate, etc., while remaining easy to use. Getting Started [caption id="attachment_274" align="alignright" width="300" caption="GA Evolution Metrics"][/caption] In order to get started with Evolution, you'll need to have a Google Analytics account, and it must already be collecting data on your website (that is, it must have been installed for a month or more, or Evolution won't have much to do). If you haven't yet set up Google Analytics, you'll find an overview of the steps needed to set up Google Analytics in our article providing an overview of analytics. Once it is active, you can set up Evolution, and then all you need is a month or more of statistics-gathering by Google. If you have a GA account, log in to the account and authorize Evolution to access your GA data. If you have multiple sites and/or profiles in GA, you can select the one to use, then choose the data to graph and away you go with nice, simple graphs of only the information you want to see! Getting the Data [caption id="attachment_275" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="GA Evolution Data"][/caption] Once…

In-Page Analytics from Google

If you're like me, you've used Google Analytics for quite some time, and find the wealth of information quite useful. One area that has always been a bit frustrating, and not as useful as it seems it should be, is the Site Overlay report. When you would click on this report, a window would open showing the home page of the site, then an overlay would appear (making the site page fade a bit), with some statistics on different links, showing how frequently they were clicked. Depending on your browser and operating system, sometimes this display would not clear properly, causing problems with browsing later. In any case, the information was tantalizing, but but not always clearly understandable. Google has now replaced Site Overlay with In-Page Analytics (right). This display is very similar to Site Overlay, but seems, at least at first blush, to work much better, and is in a frame in the page, instead of a new window. Google says the feature is still considered beta, meaning things may change, or may not always work correctly, but so far it seems smooth in our exploration of it. The little percentage numbers near a link indicate the percentage of clicks for that link. Hovering the cursor over the number drops down a small window with details indicating the number and percentage of clicks, the goals information if they are configured, and, if ecommerce is configured, transaction and revenue information relative to the link. For most this will be a nice improvement over Site Overlay, and may be very helpful in diagnosing the performance of your web site. What do I mean by that? Suppose you believe that your site visitors will click on certain links on your home page, such as your rooms page or your availability link. In-Page…

Google Instant: Love it, hate it? It’s here.

What is Google Instant? Search results while you're typing. Not the little drop-down thingie that anticipates what you'll type, but actual results (complete with local map, for appropriate searches) that change as you type. See the screen shot below for an example. Notice that while the user has typed in "bed and" Google suggest has added "breakfast" and the search results are for the full term "bed and breakfast". If you change the third word to bath, the results change. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? The answer to that question depends on a number of factors. Google's Matt Cutts says you should give it a chance, as it will speed up your research, getting you results really quickly. He also addresses concerns that this will destroy, or at least change Search Engine Optimization (SEO). No doubt it will change SEO, as search, like the internet itself, is not static. Things change, and businesses adapt. SEO adapts regularly to new algorithms, new players (Bing), etc. This is just another new factor. It will change things. How it will change them remains to be seen. For a fun example of using Google Instant, and a really effective ad, see Google's video, below. Thoughts? Comments?

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