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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…

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…

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…

BBOnline Improving? Dubious for Most

Our recent posts wondering if our observed improvement in the number of referrals from BBOnline was a sign that the troubled directory was returning to its former status as one of the higher referring directories turns out not to have statistical support across the board. [pullquote]Far too many properties are seeing numbers that still appear to be in free-fall.[/pullquote]We asked other innkeepers to provide stats showing traffic changes for specific dates (just so we would all be looking at the same numbers). Quite a few innkeepers shared their numbers, and others were shared (anonymously) by consultants in the industry. To recap, our Bed & Breakfast in Freeport Maine had seen a drop of nearly 90% in traffic from BBOnline following their site redesign in the fall of 2011. Nearly all properties who responded to our posts at that time reported similar drops in referrals. Last month we reported that, in recent months, we had seen significant improvement in their numbers - not back to the former levels yet, but significant, all the same. We asked innkeepers to provide information to see if this was a universal improvement, or if the beleaguered directory was still in the doldrums. [pullquote]Fully half the properties responding found that their recent referrals from BBOnline had dropped to zero![/pullquote]The results we received provide a fascinating cross-section. Properties responding were from all over the USA (and, of course, some were anonymous, so we don't know anything about them). Nearly half the properties responding found that their recent referrals from BBOnline had dropped to zero! Still others had cancelled because of the declines, prior to the dates we examined. Of those still receiving traffic from BBOnline, slightly more than half are seeing increased traffic, while slightly less than half are still seeing significant declines. Overall, the average property…

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