To to assess whether your tourism website is providing you with a good ROI (return on investment)

This tutorial covers:

  • How tourism businesses can track their investment online
  • How to use Google Analytics
  • Understanding the different reports provided by Google Analytics

1. Risk without measurement is bad business

Do you know how much business your website is really generating? If you cannot tell how much return on investment your website brings your business then this tutorial is for you. By taking the time to understand what aspects of your website work and what aspects don’t work you will be better equipped to attract visitors to your website and convert them into customers.

Image of graph on computer

One of the many advantages of the Internet is that it is extremely well suited to measuring and tracking. It does it automatically once you have installed an analytics program. It will be easy to find out if your website is delivering and what to do to increase its performance.

You will also be able to track your traditional marketing campaigns (such as an advertisement in a magazine) by using a call-to-action (an enticing phrase) directing readers to your website. You will then be able to track how many visitors followed the call-to-action thus measuring if the ad was successful or not.

2. Good website statistic packages

The number one website statistic package for small and medium businesses is called Google Analytics http://analytics.google.com. It is free and can be easily installed by a person who isn’t web savvy in less than 30 minutes. If you don’t have an analytics package yet, don’t wait any longer. Install it today (the next tutorial will explain you how to do so).

The intelligence you will obtain from Google Analytics will allow you to take advantage of opportunities, identify and fix problems associated with your website and maximise the return on investment from your web strategy. Let’s look at an example which diagnoses an issue in terms of traffic to a website.

Google Analytics has had many improvements over the years. The current version has fully embraced the value of social media and thanks to data that Google acquires from the profile of visitors through Google+, it can provide tourism operators with information such as demographics (age, gender), interests (TV lovers, Outdoor Enthusiasts, Travel Buffs) and much more.

a) Installing Google Analytics

You can easily install Google Analytics yourself. It is a quick and easy process that takes approximately 30 minutes from start to finish, provided that you know how to access your website’s files.

As soon as you have installed Google Analytics, it will start collecting data that you will be able to view within 24 hours.

To install Google Analytics you will need:

  • Access to your websites files.
  • A Google account (see tutorial about Google tools to learn how to create a Google account).
  • An email address.

Start by reading the Google Analytics get started pages.

  1. Navigate to http://analytics.google.com and click on Create an account located on the top right of the page.
  2. Log in with your Google account details.
  3. Follow the prompts.
  4. Don’t forget to action the verification email.
  5. Sign in your Google Analytics account by going to the address under 1) and clicking on the Sign in button.

3. Key metrics available to you

Once you have installed a web analytics program on your site, you will generally have to wait 24 hours for your first results. Then you will be able to look at the data and devise a strategy to improve your results!

a) Audience

Understanding who visits your website is critical to understanding how well you are communicating to your target market.

The audience section of Google Analytics focuses on:

  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Geo-localisation
  • Behaviours (new vs. returning visits)
  • Technology (what browsers are your visitors using)
  • Mobile (how is traffic to your website broken down – e.g. desktop, mobile, tablet)

Pay special attention to the technology and mobile sections – when was the last time you checked your website on a tablet and mobile?

b) Acquisition

This section answers the question ‘what sources bring visitors to my site’. Google has recently added the ‘social’ channel to the existing ‘direct’, ‘organic’, ‘referral’ and ‘other’ sources.

Dig into this section to assess what social media channels bring you visitors and what referring sites send you traffic. Remember, unless you have a very strong marketing campaign that pushes visitors to your website by getting them to type your web full address in a browser, your direct traffic shouldn’t be as high as the rest of the traffic sources.

In the old days, Google used to tell you what keywords people have entered on search engines to get to your site. Unfortunately, this option has been replaced by a ‘(not provided)’ listing and only keywords for paid ads are shown.

c) Behaviour

This section focuses on how visitors interact with your content. It should help you understand if your content answers their questions.

Pay particular attention to the landing pages and exit pages. A high % exit rate on one of your key pages could mean that visitors aren’t ‘biting’ and haven’t what they are looking for. You really need to assess the content of the page to understand why this is happening. If there is a high % exit rate on your contact page it may be totally normal.

d) Conversions

A conversion is an action that you want your visitor to take when they are visiting your website.

A conversion could be a booking, establishing contact via email, visiting a certain page, subscribing to your newsletter.

Analytics programs allow you to measure conversions by letting you set up goals. Once your visitor has achieved that goal, the program will count it as one conversion. To learn how to set up goals in Google analytics refer to this article.

Measuring conversions is crucial as your website is not there to look good but to turn these visits into purchases or enquiries.

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