Best Practice Google Analytics for Hotels
Are you looking to use Google Analytics to boost your hotel or hospitality business?
Clockwork Marketing’s Pete Stevens provides some handy tips and performance indicators to help you utilise digital tools to your advantage.
It can be a challenging process to make your hotel marketing budget work effectively. After all, funds are always under pressure and you may well need to show where and why you are spending as you are.
One sure way to ensure your budget is working as hard as it can, is to begin by identifying two key areas in your business: what is successful and which areas could use improvement? Needless to say, reporting and tracking your digital marketing activities and website performance can provide vital evidence to guide your future activities.
While marketing activity is usually spread across a number of channels (email marketing, social marketing, online ads and review websites) in the case of a hotel, virtually all the traffic is coming to one place, your website. So understanding how visitors are getting to your website, which channels are working best, alongside finding out what visitors do on your site, is key to increasing conversions.
Google Analytics Basics
Google Analytics is a free, market-leading tool that allows you to do just that; understand your traffic and website performance. But where to start? There are dozens of reports and hundreds of configuration options available. Let’s break it down from the hotel’s perspective.
Imagine a country hotel, Gregory Manor in the Cotswolds, that is looking for ways to increase wedding bookings. The hotel marketing manager should follow these five steps.
1. Set Website Objectives
Objectives are the bigger things you want to achieve. Gregory Manor has a few bigger level, or “macro” objectives, such as to increase room booking, wedding enquiries and spa treatment revenue. Each macro objective can also be broken down into micro objectives. So if one of Gregory Manor’s major objectives is to increase wedding enquiries, we might come up with a number of micro objectives such as:
- Increase engagement with website wedding content
- Increase downloads of the wedding brochure
- Increase views of the wedding gallery
- Increase wedding enquiry forms submitted
2. Define Goals to Track
Goals are the things you want visitors to do on a website. These actions should support the micro-objectives and hence can be tracked. For example, here are some sample goals we might use to measure engagement for Gregory Manor’s wedding content:
- User views 3+ pages of wedding content
- User views 6+ pages of wedding content
- User spends 5+ minutes on wedding content
- User shares wedding content on social media
Goals that measure the conversions of wedding traffic are:
- Downloading wedding brochures
- Viewing wedding gallery images
- Completing a wedding enquiry form
These are set up in the Admin section of Google Analytics, some examples are shown below.
3. Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Each goal also needs KPIs. These are metrics that benchmark activity and tie into the hotel’s objectives. Let’s take some of Gregory Manor’s KPIs as examples:
- Increase engagement by 10% per month
- 30 pages shared on social media a month
- 55 wedding brochures downloaded a month
- 100 views of the wedding gallery a month
- 25 wedding enquiry forms submitted a month
4. Configure Google Analytics tracking and reporting
With the above information, Gregory Manor’s marketing manager or marketing agency can configure Google Analytics to track the goals and report against the KPIs. This is all done in Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.
Once set-up and tested, data is collected and can be reported on each month. Variances are highlighted and can be fed back into marketing plans to ensure activity keeps on track.
5. Use reports to understand website traffic and what site optimisation is required
The information that is generated from goal tracking is vital for understanding traffic and website activity. Segments can be applied for deeper insight, to cut the data into distinct groups, such as by device type (i.e. whether users are on phones, tablets of PCs), by gender or by marketing channel.
Gregory Manor can now see which channels are performing best. Is the email activity driving more conversions or is social traffic?
Are website visitors completing the goals you want? If not, then the messages, content and website structure may need changing. For example, if not enough users are downloading menus or viewing the restaurant pages, it might be time to include more food related content on social media, or perhaps take initiatives such as offers and events.
In our aim of hitting goals effectively, it is also key to remember that messages on digital marketing channels must always align with website content, with clear calls to action so that website visitors know what to do, where to click and are guided through your processes.
The results you get from Google Analytics can be both fascinating and revealing. Conversions may vary between men and women, for example, or between different devices. Visitors might be converting more on mobile than on desktop as a proportion of visitors by each device.
While Google Analytics cannot take action for you, or provide definitive answers then, you can certainly use it to draw simple conclusions, see which areas are working well and which need extra attention. If one device type is performing better than others, for example, the lower performing devices may need attention. In the example shown, the mobile traffic conversion rate is 57% compared to 90% and 83% for tablet and desktop traffic, indicating that the goals are difficult to complete on mobile devices.
Once we introduce various other factors, things get even more interesting. We can measure many different dimensions that may influence results. Understanding how conversions differ across different demographics and at different times of day, for example, can influence the messaging used for each medium and the time that messages are sent out by email, online ads and social. In the example shown, it can be seen that Female visitors aged 25-44 complete goals around 50% of the time, compared to Females aged 45-54 who convert 91% of the time.
Although learning Google Analytics is not an overnight process, it is an extremely useful tool to have at your disposal. After all, it is vital for hotel marketing managers to set clear objectives so that appropriate goals can be defined and tracked on websites. This gives them the insight to make an actionable change to their digital marketing and website content or structure to increase conversions resulting in a more efficient use of marketing budget.
Could your business benefit from additional digital knowhow?
Do you lack the time or understanding to get the most from website tracking tools and analysis? It can be a bit of a minefield keeping abreast of technology, let alone taking action to improve on shortcomings and boost turnover.
At Clockwork Marketing we offer services that are completely tailored to your needs, whether that means running all your marketing activities or providing specially targeted help in one target area. Our team includes experts in every field of modern marketing and website management, from technical staff and developers, to experts in social media, branding, copywriting and design. Contact us to discover more about the company and how we can benefit your business.