We love data here at DAE. We especially love using it to craft really targeted and optimized marketing strategies. Thanks to Google and a plethora of other online tools, there’s so much data out there that can help travel and hospitality businesses up their game. If you’re looking for some targeted ways to pivot your marketing strategy and boost reservations this year, there’s tons of data to help. We wanted to dive in a little bit today and show you just a few of the key metrics we look at for our hotel and resort clients and why they should matter to you!
1. Total Revenue from Reservations
Obviously, one of the key metrics to track is revenue from reservations. Revenue impacts a lot of your decisions, including your overall marketing budget, staffing, and more. Tools like Google Analytics offer e-commerce tracking that makes it incredibly easy to see and understand your online reservations. Once you understand the numbers and trends, you can make better marketing decisions and more actionable goals.
For example, if you know winter is your slow season, use your marketing resources to focus on some holiday promotions and the magic of a winter getaway. Showcase winter-specific upsells like spa packages or extended stay rates to boost your reservation values. Understanding seasonality trends also allows you to better allocate your marketing budgets so that you’re reaching the right travelers at the right time of the year.
2. Average Transaction Value
Along the same lines, you’ll also want to track the average value of each reservation you’re getting. Again, Google Analytics makes this very easy to do within their ecommerce dashboard! Comparing that value against total reservations and revenue lets you see if people are booking longer stays, upgrading to higher priced rooms, and taking advantage of your upsell opportunities.
Understanding this number can help you make smarter marketing decisions in the long term. You can use that number to decide when it’s best to invest more advertising dollars to promote upsell opportunities, higher-priced rooms, and amenities. You can also use the data to adjust your messaging and content strategy to help encourage people to book longer stays and take advantage of higher-priced offerings at your hotel.
3. Traffic sources
A strong marketing strategy means not putting all your eggs in one basket, offline or online! Online, combining paid efforts, like digital advertising, and organic efforts, like content marketing, social media, email, and search engine optimization, gives you a much more well-rounded approach. Tying your offline efforts to your online strategy is also important, and measurable! Adding UTM codes when sharing a link online or when using shortened links and QR codes in your print materials allows you to easily track where traffic is coming from — both online and offline — in Google Analytics.
Diversifying your traffic sources means you won’t be overly reliant on any particular channel or strategy — which is bound to have changes and fluctuations. By tracking where exactly your traffic is coming from, you can get a good idea of how the efforts are working together, what’s working and what’s not, and decide where to invest more time or resources. Tracking traffic trends across channels can also help you troubleshoot problems quickly (such as sharp declines in organic traffic indicating a website issue).
4. Pages per visit
If visitors aren’t engaging with your site and moving on to other pages to learn more, that could indicate a problem. There’s a lot of competition in the travel and hospitality industry, so you want to do everything you can to provide relevant information that guides people to book their stay, rather than getting distracted or jumping ship to a competitor’s site. In general, the longer you can keep them engaged, the more likely it is they’ll make a reservation or keep your hotel top of mind when they actually are ready to book.
Google Analytics allows you to see not only how many pages per visit a user is looking at, but also the flow of that visit through Behavior Flow reports! You’ll be able to see bottlenecks in traffic, which pages you’re losing people on throughout their journey, and more!
While this number is important, be sure to compare it against other data, like reservations and recurring visits. You likely will have people that visit your site multiple times to learn more about your hotel, amenities, and services. You’re also getting site visits from those that are familiar with your business already and ready to book. In those cases, customers probably won’t need to engage with multiple pages, especially if your site is well optimized for your audience’s path to purchase!
If your organic search results for “book a hotel room near me” point directly to your reservation page, those visitors should have very few pages per visit and great conversion rates! If those searches are instead landing on your home page, they’ll have to click through the site, and you risk losing them along the way. Once you get the reservation, how can you provide even more value to that audience and keep them engaged before their stay? They may find hotel updates and local itineraries helpful as they plan their trip, so those could be possible content opportunities that keep them engaged.
5. Search engine real estate
Overall, if you’re not ranking in top Google results for relevant phrases, it’s almost like you don’t exist. You want to keep an eye on how much real estate you take up on the search engines for relevant searches. This goes beyond organic search rankings to include Google My Business listings, ads, how well your social media profiles rank, etc. If you don’t have great search visibility, it’s probably time to invest in aggressive digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to improve your real estate on those coveted search results pages. This will have a huge impact on revenue and bookings as well as brand awareness and authority. You’ll also want to keep an eye on trends and what competitors are ranking for to make sure you’re keeping up and meeting the needs of your customers with great content.
You can spot-check your current search visibility or use tools like Google Search Console or Moz to get regular reports. Understanding what search terms you should be ranking for is really important, and tools like Google Trends and the Google Keyword Tools help marketers discover the most highly searched, relevant keywords to target and optimize for!
6. Locations where your revenue & traffic are coming from
This is another key metric we’ve been looking at especially closely during the pandemic. Through tools like Google Analytics, you can see the geographic areas of people who’ve actually converted on your site and booked a reservation, as well as where the majority of your traffic is coming from. While this may not seem all that important, it’s actually really valuable information. For example, if the majority of people are converting from the nearby drive market, you may focus your ads and content on weekend getaways and road trip opportunities that a local audience might be interested in for some quick wins and revenue boosts. On the flip side, if you’re getting a lot of traffic from further away but they’re not actually booking, that audience could just be more in the daydreaming phase or require more information about things to do in the area and why it’s a great place to visit. You can also overlay the Transactional Value with the geographic location to determine where your higher spend visitors are coming from, allowing you to target that market with upscale offers to increase your bottom line.
How do I know what I should be tracking for my hotel?
With so many digital marketing metrics available to you, understanding how and what to pay attention to is no small feat! Don’t get overwhelmed by the numbers, think holistically about what you’re doing, what your marketing goals are, and then use the right data to guide your decisions. Just because you can track all the data, doesn’t mean you’ll be using it all at the same time.
For example, your revenue numbers are not going to guide your decisions on whether or not a brand awareness campaign is working well. Increases in social media reach, brand mentions, or branded searches are going to be the numbers that illustrate your wins. If you’ve got a marketing campaign focused on a seasonal promo, on the other hand, your revenue numbers and transaction values are going to be much more important than your specific search positions on Google. As you’re setting goals for each of your campaigns, think through the entire strategy so it’s clear to you and your team what success actually looks like, then select the most meaningful data points to track along the way.
If you’re struggling to understand how to tie your campaigns or marketing initiatives into your bigger picture goals and mapping them to the right data points, we can help! To figure out what metrics to pay attention to, we talk to our clients about their overall goals — whether that be more reservations, increased brand awareness, or even a specific event promotion — and craft and implement a marketing strategy that’s in line with those goals. As noted, there’s a wide variety of data available to help us make decisions and track our progress toward specific benchmarks. .
Like we said, we love talking data, so if you ever want to chat about what data you can use to craft a killer marketing strategy for your hotel, we’re the team for you!