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[GLOSSARY] Most important marketing metrics for hotel e-commerce managers
A few weeks ago on the Travel Tripper blog we took a look at some of the key metrics that all hotel revenue managers should be aware of. This time, we’ve compiled a list of the most important metrics for hotel e-commerce managers—any members of the staff who manage the hotel website, digital marketing, social media, and any other digital efforts.
This digital marketing glossary offers a comprehensive list of the jargon regularly used in online marketing and analytics. It’s important to keep on top of these metrics in order to monitor your hotel website’s performance, whether that’s through Google Analytics or another platform.
Key hotel e-commerce marketing metrics
How did you acquire the visit to your site? This is a term used heavily within Google Analytics reports, and some examples of an acquisition source would be organic search, paid search, referral visit, and social visit.
This is a term used heavily with e-commerce sites and applies when a user starts a checkout process but then leaves before completion. This metric is a measurement of how often a user “abandons” the checkout procedure before the transaction (or hotel booking) was completed.
Acquisition cost (or CPA / PPA)
This is how much it cost to acquire the customer on your website or another digital channel. If you’re carrying out paid advertising with Google for your hotel, then your acquisition cost (CPA) will be the total spend divided by the number of bookings resulting from the campaign.
Another metric used heavily within the Google Analytics tracking platform, an assisted conversion is when one visitor source helped another when it comes to a booking. For example, say a customer first visited your hotel website from a paid search ad on Google. They don’t complete a booking at your hotel during that visit, but they remember your website address and return to the site a week later by typing in the URL directly (a direct visit). If they complete a booking from the 2nd visit, then the original paid search visit is attributed with the “assist,” or an assisted conversion.
Average session duration
This is the average length of time that a user spends on your hotel website. Used in Google Analytics, this metric can show how your customers are interacting with your website content. Generally speaking, the longer the time the better, as your visitor is more engaged with your content.
A very common metric, a “bounce” is simply when a user visits your hotel website and almost immediately leaves the site without any interaction. A high bounce rate (70% and above typically) can be a sign of a badly designed web page, or one with content that doesn’t satisfy what the user is looking for.
Click-through rate (CTR)
This is a term often used with paid search advertising, and determines how many clicks an element received as a percentage value. So if your advert got just one click from 100 impressions, it has a CTR of 1%. This metric is really important in paid search but is also used with organic search and other channels.
A conversion is a metric that allows you to mark any event which is of significant importance. Conversion tracking in Google Analytics must be manually set up. An example of a conversion for a hotel website would be a room booking confirmation. The actual page URL (often needed as part of the conversion definition) would likely be the checkout confirmation page.
This is the rate of conversions on your website. Another key metric, this one allows you to see how many conversions you’re getting based on your number of website visits. If you get 10 reservations from 100 visits, you’ve got an excellent conversion rate of 10%. Realistically we see conversion rates between 2-3% in many hotel websites.
Cost per click (CPC)
Used heavily within the paid search advertising industry, this is a measurement of the cost of every ad click. The CPC will depend on a number of factors, such as the relevancy of your website compared to the keyword you’re targeting. If you bid on your competitors’ hotel names, for example, then you’ll likely be penalized with a very high CPC. Generally, for a standard hotel in the U.S. the typical CPC could be between $1 and $4 for branded search, and a lot more for non-brand search.
Often used as part of a funnel (see definition), a drop-off is simply when a website visitor leaves the website. It could be for a perfectly normal reason, but “drop-offs” usually occur as part of a checkout process, so you want to avoid these.
Within Google Analytics the funnel is a feature that allows you to enter the key pages involved with completing a booking on your hotel website. First step may be visiting the homepage, second step may be viewing the rooms page, third step may be entering the booking page, all the way through to the confirmation page. When set up, this allows you to visually see when (and how often) users are leaving, or completing, their reservation.
Similar to a conversion (see definition), a goal is another feature that can be configured within Google Analytics and can be adjusted to suit your hotel’s particular strategy. A goal may be defined as a user visiting 4 or more pages, or subscribing to the newsletter, or spending a certain amount of money.
Goal conversion rate
This is the conversion rate of goals made on the website as a percentage. So if 5 people sign up to your hotel newsletter out of 100 visitors, this would be a conversion rate of 5%.
This is simply the page that a user “landed” on when first arriving on your website from an outside source. This term often describes pages used within paid search campaigns, or for organic search traffic.
This refers to a web analytics model that gives primary credit for a sale (or conversion) to the last source that sent the traffic to the site. For example, if a user clicks on your social media ad to get to your site, leaves, then comes back via an email campaign to book your hotel, the email receives credit for the booking.
A new session is simply a measure of when a new or unique visit takes place on the hotel website (see definition for Sessions).
This is a measure of the number of users that have visited your website. It’s important to note that if a user returns from another device (mobile or tablet, for example) they’ll be counted as a new user.
Pages per session
This is a measure of the number of pages a user has accessed during a session. A session by default within Analytics is 30 minutes.
Pay per click (PPC)
This is any form of online advertising that uses a pay-per-click model, such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads. You will typically define a list of keywords to “bid” on, and an auction determines which ad will be displayed. Because the advertiser generally pays for every click received on the advert (impressions are free in this case), the term PPC is given.
Return on investment (ROI)
Same as its traditional definition, ROI is a measure of returns on expenditures. For example, a hotel that spends $1,000 on a Google AdWords campaign that generates $5,000 in reservations got a campaign ROI of 5:1, or 500%.
Used heavily within Google Analytics, a session is a measurement of a group of interactions that take place on your hotel’s website during a specific period of time (30 minutes as set by default). One individual user can be responsible for a number of sessions, such as pages visited, over the 30-minute measurement period.
Split tests (A/B test)
A split test is a way of measuring the effectiveness of a particular campaign by testing two versions of it with your target audience. For example, you can test ad copy to see which gets more click-throughs, or the design of a landing page to see which gets more reservations. The goal of a split test is to improve the overall effectiveness of a website or marketing campaign.
Unique visitor or User
This term describes individual visitors to your website. Within Google Analytics you often see a figure for total number of Users (individuals), and total Sessions (the total visits made by these individual users).
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