Many tourism-related business owners see web design and online marketing as something of an assembly line: you put digital marketing, paid ads and SEO in one side and new customers will come out the other.
That is roughly the way things work, but such a simplified understanding of things can lead to misconceptions and lost sales. That’s because the average guest or customer isn’t going to simply visit your website once and make a purchase or reservation. Instead, they are going to conduct lots of research, returning multiple times, using multiple devices, and evaluate their options.
Just how important is this “shopping around” process? According to Expedia, it isn’t unusual for someone to conduct 38 different searches – from geo-targeted sites to search engines, and within social media channels – on a combination of desktop or laptop computers and mobile devices – before they finally make a decision.
Vacation time and the money available to spend is very important to those planning a trip. Because they want to have a great, hassle-free experience, they are willing to look for the best experiences and values. Additionally, many shoppers enjoy planning their vacation, so they’re willing to invest a little extra time and effort to get the details just right.
The more you understand where your customers are coming from, which parts of your website they are visiting the most, and how they are deciding, the easier it’s going to be to keep your bottom-line growing. And just as importantly, you can begin to understand what consumers have on their minds when they choose you or decide to leave the site.
Google Analytics offers a number of tools any tourism-related business owner can use to optimize their website. However, it’s important that you configure your tracking code correctly and dive into your web metrics regularly.
With the help of your web team, here are some things you should be looking for:
How visitors are arriving at your website, particularly in terms of search terms, paid ads, and referrals from other vacation-planning sites
The parts of your website that are getting the most time and attention, as well as entry and exit pages
Multi-touch attribution that lets you track customers (and missed opportunities) through several different interactions with your company
It’s important to note that not all of your marketing stats will show up in your Google Analytics. For this reason, at Compucast, we also provide CompuStat – a tracking program tracking the activity of visitors on every page of other New Orleans sites where hotels, restaurants, and attractions are being featured and discussed – providing an in-depth look at the number of recommendations, phone calls, leads, and direct interactions visitors have with your business before they even visit your site.
If you’re just looking at top-level web statistics, assuming customers are visiting your site, finding what they need, and then either leaving or immediately reserving, you’re missing out on a lot of exposure, branding recognition and even delayed conversions. The truth is your customers journey through a sales funnel before making their final decision. The stages include Awareness, Evaluation, and Purchase.
Awareness is an important stage as it is when your visitors are looking for information, recommendations, and doing initial research for their visit. This is where your online marketing through sites such as NewOrleansRestaurants.com, ExperienceNewOrleans.com, and BestNewOrleansHotels.com, etc. plays an important part, allowing those searching for your services to easily find you when they are in the initial planning stages.
They then enter the Evaluation stage, where they are actively comparing your services and costs to your competitors as well as searching for the best price on 3rd party sites (such as hotels.com, expedia.com, viator.com, etc).
The final Purchase stage is your opportunity to convert your visitors into customers. This is when your lowest price guarantees, specials, and use of apps showing 3d party prices convince your visitors it is more valuable to reserve directly with you. If others are bidding on your brand name, this is where brand PPC plays an important part.
Each stage is very important to the sales process, and your online marketing strategy should be aligned with your sales funnel. It is important to understand where your customers are in the process, and what content your site will need to convince them to purchase directly with you.
It is possible to provide multi-attribution tracking, giving credit to a referring site after an initial visit to a subsequent return, or even a phone call to your team, however, this will give you only a sense of how some conversions are developing. It does not provide multi-device tracking and does not work if cookies have been disabled or removed.
Google’s Universal Analytics can now track visitors across devices and sites, but only if they are logged into Google. This allows you to track the user even if they disable or delete cookies, but it will only give you an idea of your average customer’s journey since it will not track anyone who is not logged into Google.
Putting the power of tracking, web analytics and CompuStat to work in your New Orleans tourism-related business takes special effort and expertise, but it’s well worth it. If you want to understand where your revenue is coming from, and why guests or customers make the decisions they do, it’s time to get the information you need.
Call us or contact our team today so we can review your website with you and help you find the answers to your most pressing marketing questions.