Making the most of Google Analytics and the tools available can pay dividends when it comes to capitalising on trends online and the digital customer journey. Adam Hamadache, former hotelier and CEO at DHM, the Digital Agency for Hoteliers, explains how ignoring everything on Google Analytics except these five key features will help focus your website strategy.
As free tools go, Google Analytics is about as good as it gets, if (and it’s a big if) you know how to use it. With such a wealth of data seemingly flying at you from all angles, it’s easy to get lost, feel overwhelmed and inevitably, never look at it.
If this describes your relationship with Google Analytics, you’re not alone. This article will help you focus on the five key stats you should review regularly so you can ignore everything else.
1. Acquisition Overview
Simply put, this shows where you are getting your website traffic from, how they behave on your website and importantly, who goes on to book. Typically, you’ll find that organic search, direct (when a user types in your website manually), referral (the user has clicked onto your website from another site), social and paid search are your top five traffic sources, but the real insight will come when you look at the Behaviour and Conversions columns.
Knowing for example that the bounce rate of your paid search will show you how much money is being wasted by users who click on your ad, but do nothing and leave. Anything over 45% is considered high and may indicate that your ads need a little refining, or indeed that your website load speed needs some work. What will be most interesting though will likely be seeing which traffic source is driving the most transactions, and which sources could do with a little work.
2. Ecommerce Overview
On this page, you’ll see your total revenue, the ecommerce conversion rate, number of transactions and the average order value. Worth mentioning that in order to see these numbers, you’ll need conversion tracking setup on your booking page and/or PMS – if you’re with one of the major PMS or booking engines, this will be easy to set up.
Having access to these key stats will allow you to benchmark your website’s performance month-to-month and year-to-year. Arguably the one to keep the most watchful eye on is the ecommerce conversion rate which is defined as the percentage of sessions that resulted in an ecommerce transaction. I’ve seen this as high as 4% and as low as 0.02%, dependent on enormous amounts of factors, for instance, if the hotel is at the luxury end of the market it’s likely to have a much lower conversion rate given there will be plenty of users who would love to book the hotel, happily browsing the website, but will decide it’s too expensive for them. The key is to understand what your website’s conversion rate is for a given month and work to improve it based on last year’s figure. This process is called Conversion Rate Optimisation.
3. Mobile Overview
This is a slightly deceptive name – it should be ‘device overview’ as it provides the key stats for the three types of device: mobile, desktop and tablet, usually in that order.
You will tend to find that mobile has the highest volume of users but desktop has the highest number of bookings. In the example below, you’ll see that mobile represents nearly 60% of sessions, so it’s certainly worth reviewing your website regularly on your mobile device to understand if there’s any part of the user experience you need to improve.
4. Demographics Overview
It’s quite astonishing how much Google knows about us, especially if you use any of the free Google applications available such as Gmail.
Whilst this page will only give you a relatively small sample, it’ll likely give you a good understanding of who’s visiting your website: how old they are and whether they’re male or female. Knowing this can help you to refine your website’s content to be most suited to the most prominent user.
5. Geo Location
Chances are your international business has all but dried up given recent events, so it’s a good idea to know where in the UK your website users and bookers are coming from.
By visiting the Audience / Geo / Location tab, and then clicking City as the primary dimension you can start to see where the most lucrative locations are. In the example below, Manchester is only at number 7 for most visits but represents the highest conversion rate by some margin. With this insight you may decide to run a targeted ad campaign on Google or Facebook in Manchester with dedicated landing pages explaining transport options from Manchester etc.
Naturally there’s a great deal of these suggestions you won’t necessarily be able to implement yourself, but directing your attention to the stats that matter will certainly help you to steer your hotel’s marketing strategy to ensure you’re narrowing in on the most impactful activities.
About the author
Having achieved 96% direct bookings in his own hotel, Adam Hamadache founded digital marketing agency DHM in 2013 to help hoteliers achieve similar results.