August 2, 2012

Google Analytics for Your Website

You are not alone if you find it easier to give business advice than to implement your own suggestions. In BnBFinder.com’s June newsletter, we wrote about Multi-Channel Funnels (MCF) for those of you who are more technically inclined (but if you’re not, don’t stop reading yet). I know guests look at your inn on numerous websites before they make the decision to book, and I know they can’t tell you where they found you. So, we shared an excellent article from About the Inn on how to set up Google Analytics to help you see all the places guests are finding your inn, and not just the last place they looked before making a reservation. In Chapter 15 of Running a Bed and Breakfast For Dummies, I discuss the benefits of implementing Google Analytics into your website.

Hamilton House Estate, Hot Springs, AR
We know sites like BnBFinder.com are one stop along the guests’ searches even though they say they found you “on the Internet,” “on Google” and so on. We receive the same answers when we ask guests how they find our Travel Gift Certificates; so, we decided to follow our own advice and implement MCF to track gift certificate orders. Just like you, I know guests/buyers look on many different sites before booking/purchasing, yet I was still amazed with some of the results.

In the same way guests visit multiple sites when selecting an inn (often several times), the percentage of gift certificate purchasers who made multiple visits over a number of days was still surprising. Over 40% of purchasers required two or more visits to our site before making a purchase, and about 2% took 28 days or longer to make up their minds! Most people think a conversion is someone clicking on an ad (or a link) and making a purchase (or booking) in one step. But with MCF, we could see many people clicking on multiple ads, links, bookmarks; subscribing to our newsletter; doing searches; and, often seeing our gift certificates in multiple places, waiting a few days and then purchasing.

The same process is happening when guests are selecting an inn. They may find your inn on a site like BnBFinder.com and Google you, or check out your reviews on TripAdvisor. But, if they had not found you on BnBFinder.com, they never could have Googled you or looked for you on TripAdvisor. Understanding this process helps you to know why guests answer the way they do when asked, “How did you find us?” It also helps you make solid and informed advertising decisions with your precious marketing dollars. Be sure to read Chapter 15 for the basic information on Google Analytics, and then if you’re interested in taking it a step further and implementing MCF, contact your webmaster who can walk you through the process or install it for you.

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