You’ve had your resort’s website professionally designed to showcase your property’s best features. You’re driving traffic there through a carefully thought-out marketing campaign that includes a social media strategy, email, blogging and possibly pay-per-click ads. Now, it’s time to find out how your guests are actually engaging with your website once they land there.
One of the easiest ways to do this is through Google Analytics – Google’s brilliant free tool dedicated to visitor statistics. Google Analytics can tell you everything from what pages your visitors are looking at the most to what time of day they visit and how long they stick around for, but all this info can easily overwhelm if you’re inexperienced with the data.
Here are a few tips to help you cut through the numbers and get more out of the metrics in Google Analytics.
What to focus on
It’s easy to get caught up over one metric when you first start examining your site’s stats. Perhaps understandably, many become obsessed with the number of site hits, and just want to see this number rise steadily each month.
That’s all well and good, but your site could be pulling in hundreds, perhaps thousands of visitors who don’t fit into your target guest group and hit the back button as soon as they land. On the other hand, there’s so much data at your fingertips within the Google Analytics dashboard that you could lose hours a day pouring over obscure analytic data without piecing together the big picture of how your site is actually performing.
Here are some of the most important metrics you should really be focusing on:
- Number of visits
- Number of unique visitors
- Average visit duration
- Bounce rate
- Number of mobile visits
- Organic search visits
- Best performing landing pages
- Exit page stats – the pages from which most people are leaving your resort’s website – can you identify where guests may be dropping out of the booking cycle?
- Goal conversion rate - how many people visit your site and complete a ‘goal’ (email list sign up, booking, etc)
How to measure success
There is ‘no one size fits all’ approach when it comes to analysing a site’s performance. If your resort has a landing page prompting visitors to fill in a form, you can expect to see far higher bounce rates than a long, interesting blog article, for example. However, there are several patterns you can look for when trying to measure success.
- Measure your efforts against past analytics. Even if your previous stats aren’t great, you can use them to gauge your progress and see if you’re moving in the right direction.
- Keep a close eye on sudden changes which could signal problems or conversely, indicate successful campaigns. For example, if you see your booking rate soar the day after you launch a fresh email campaign, you know you’ve hit on a winning formula you should reuse. If your average visit time suddenly plummets after a site layout update, you might want to reassess the changes.
- Compare your data against industry stats, if you can find them, to see how your online booking rates match up to other hotels and resorts.
Examine data over time
Those new to Google Analytics can feel discouraged by a few days of slow traffic and low bookings, but it pays to look at the bigger picture. Examine your data over a longer span of time, and compare to previous periods. By looking at your stats over months and years, rather than days, you may identify that your resort experiences a bookings slump at the same time each year, and plan a campaign to try and change this. You may also cheer yourself with the fact that although bookings have been low during the past couple of days, they are still up on the same period the following year.
Act on your findings
By now, hopefully you have a better idea of how to make the most of your Google Analytics data. However, don’t forget that your resort won’t actually see any benefit from all this data analysis unless you use it to evaluate the success of your current marketing campaigns and plan and implement changes to better reach your guests.
Does your resort use Google Analytics? Let us know in the comments below.
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