One of the most useful tools for a modern hotelier is website analytics. Not only can you figure out where your visitors are coming from (both in terms of location and referrals), but you can use it to design your sales funnel, and to set your marketing and e-commerce goals. All that’s needed is a free web app that is by far the most popular website analytics tool: Google Analytics. What began as a website analytics company called Urchin was quickly bought up by Google in 2005. Since then, Google has built out the service to include many useful features. And because it is such a common choice for web analytics, no matter what happens to your website, what system you use, or agency you work with, Google Analytics just works. Today, Google Analytics is one of the indispensable tools for any modern hotelier or hotel marketer. You may be asking yourself, “Why should I use Google Analytics for my hotel?” Well, there are three main reasons:
- To have a clearer idea of who’s visiting your hotel’s website: When most people visit, where they are from, and how they get to your site
- To find causes and solutions for variations: Number of clicks, real-time visitors, etc.
- Determine which distribution channel is most valuable, and which one contribute the most to your online visibility
Two Key Strategies for Google Analytics for Hotels
Hotels have two main areas of focus that they need to pay attention to when it comes to Google Analytics. The first is e-commerce. Google Analytics can be set-up to to show you how much revenue generated by your hotel website. The second is proper tagging. By organizing how content is tagged both internally and by your marketing agency (if applicable), you can better track website data and measure various performance.
1. E-Commerce Tracking
Getting e-commerce tracking set-up is important and requires that you work with your Booking Engine provider (such as Sabre Hospitality, TravelClick, SiteMinder, Avvio, Availpro, Bookassist etc).
All modern booking engines are compatible with Google’s e-commerce script. That script needs to be installed and will inform Google Analytics of every reservation that is made and the value of the reservation. Once you have this installed you will be able to see how much revenue your website is generating, which campaigns are generating revenue, which links are making you the most revenue, and much more.
Without e-commerce set up in Google Analytics you’re basically only measuring clicks. And while that does give some insight, it doesn’t give a lot of real data on what works and what doesn’t.
It was with this in mind that we built the Website section SnapShot Analytics. In it, we show all the parts of the Google Analytics e-commerce page that hotels should look at on daily and weekly basis, so hotels can make key decisions quickly. See the image above to get a better idea.
2. Standardizing URLs (UTM tracking/tagging)
But e-commerce isn’t the only useful part of Google Analytics for a hotel. Having good UTM practices for your links is crucial to consistent and measurable marketing and e-commerce strategies.
A UTM code is the code you see at the end of a link after the “?” symbol that will specify if the traffic came from an email, banner, social media etc.
Most likely, many of your URLs already have some form of UTM codes already. The problem is that different agencies have different standards and some traffic is tracked, other traffic isn’t. This makes it difficult really understand where your web traffic is coming from.
One free, reliable, and easy to use resource is Google’s own trackable URL builder. Just add your basic link, like http://yourhotelwebsite.com/ and a few other pieces of information you want to track and it will build a proper UTM link for you.
There are several reasons why it is important for your hotel to standardize your URL tracking. Firstly, this permits you to correctly understand where traffic to your website comes from. For example when you put a link on Facebook with the correct tagging, you can see if it is a link that you shared as part of campaign or if it is a link that a blogger shared, for example. Another way is with meta-search campaigns. By putting proper UTM tags on your links you will be able to separate the traffic that came from TripAdvisor through a meta-search campaign, through a business listing, or other source.
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