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.

Getting Started with Google Analytics

At the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) annual conference last week in Las Vegas, we presented two sessions on Google Analytics - Getting Started with Google Analytics, and Google Analytics - Climbing Higher. This week we'll post the presentation from the session entitled "Getting Started with Google Analytics" and next week we'll post the follow-up presentation. You can download the Dashboard mentioned in the presentation by logging in to Google Analytics, then clicking on this link to add it to your Dashboards. We hope you enjoy our presentation, and that it will help you with getting started with Google Analytics. Tune in again next week for our more advanced presentation, Google Analytics - Climbing Higher.

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…

Google Analytics and Your Booking Engine

Several of our previous posts on analytics have dealt with the "how to" aspect of setting up various things you might want to track across your website and your booking engine. A recent online forum discussion among innkeepers about this topic prompts an overview of what things you can track, why you might want to track them, and some potential problem areas. 1. Is your site set up to use Google Analytics? [pullquote]Does your booking engine support ecommerce tracking? Is it set up correctly?[/pullquote]Do you have Google Analytics set up on your website? It should appear on every page (any page that doesn't have it, will not be tracked). How do you verify that it is set up? Open your favorite browser and visit your website. In most browsers, you can press Ctrl-U on the keyboard to view the source code of the page you are viewing. On all you can right-click on the page and select View Source (or something very similar) to see it. Look through the source (or press Ctrl-F to search, if you prefer). You are looking for code which will include "_gaq". By the way, if you find code that includes "_gat" you are using the older, slower, form of Google Analytics, and it should be updated to use what is called the asynchronous code. If you don't find either the "_gaq" or "_gat" sections, you don't have Google Analytics installed. Once you find the code, check to see what it looks like. Basic tracking looks like this (the XXXXX-X is your Google Analytics ID, and don't worry if the lines don't break at the same points): <script type="text/javascript"> var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-XXXXX-X']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol…

Comparing Directory Performance at a Glance

Last week we talked about how goals in analytics are used in Multi-Channel Funnels to show you how referral sources can be sending value (including bookings), that doesn't always show up in the standard analytics reports. This week we'll take a different approach, and look at creating a Dashboard designed to give you, with only a quick glance, an easy way of comparing online directory listing performance. From the start, we want to emphasize a word of caution - we are not suggesting that this dashboard will replace a more in-depth comparison of online directory performance, or that it should be used instead of the Multi-Channel Funnel approach from last week's post. This dashboard is intended to provide a quick overview, so you can get a sense of relative performance. It should not be used for important decisions, but more as an easy way to "keep your finger on the pulse" of performance. We had previously written about simplifying your Google Analytics usage by using dashboards. This time we'll just create a straightforward dashboard to gather information about online directories for comparison on one screen. If you aren't interested in how it works, and just want to install it as a custom dashboard in your own GA setup, just be sure you're logged in to GA, then click here to install it. Whether you just click and install the directory performance dashboard, or you read through the discussion below, you'll want to customize one line in each of the six widgets on the dashboard. See those notes below. Create a New Dashboard To create a new dashboard, click on Home, then under Dashboards, click +New Dashboard, select Blank Canvas, and give your dashboard a name, such as Paid Directories, or something similar. Adding Widgets We'll add six widgets (you can…

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