It is a fact that knowing more about your customers will greatly help you in improving your online travel business. The big question is, how do you gather detailed customer data with your travel website?
Answer? Google Analytics!
With more detailed information about your website visitors and how they interact with your website, you can better tailor-fit your marketing strategies. Your plan of action now becomes information-based and laser-targeted.
This will greatly help in creating a plan and result in smarter spending on marketing your travel business.
For instance, how did your website visitors find your site? What are their demographics and location? What pages do they usually visit?
These are just some of the valuable data that Google Analytics can provide.
So what are the ways that Google Analytics can help you make data-driven marketing plans? Let us get you started on using these metrics to greatly help your marketing efforts.
1.) How your visitors found your site
When analyzing your site traffic, the first thing you want to know is, “How did visitors find my site?”
Under the ‘Acquisition’ section, the Source/Medium shows you how. Is it by organic search in Google, Yahoo, Bing, or DuckDuckGo? Or maybe mostly from social media or a referral from a third-party site?
You can also track your referral or affiliate programs here.
From there, you can plan accordingly, like if your site’s performance is weak on Google, you can step up your search engine optimization (SEO) campaign.
Read more in SEO For Tour Operators: A Step-By-Step Guide
Social media performance
Still under Acquisition, you will know which social media platforms you are strongest at or where you need more effort:
When using this though, do not just depend on your metrics. Remember to factor in the global number of users of each platform. This will tell you where you are missing out on opportunities.
For instance, you may think that Instagram does not generate much traffic for your site, but you can spy on competitors by checking the number of followers they have. This holds true for other social media platforms like Pinterest or YouTube.
2.) Ads performance
If you are running Pay Per Click (CPC) campaigns, you want to maximize your ads budget by knowing which hours of the day do your ads get the most engagement. You can find this still in the Acquisition section> Google Ads.
Because your travel business practically crosses different time zones, running travel CPC campaigns should be planned strategically or you might blow your budget without achieving your goals.
Ream more in 5 Ways You Can Use Facebook Ads To Drive More Sales
3.) Check Your Search Insights
Site search tells you what search terms they type on your search field box, and from there you can build your content or create an ad campaign.
Another way that you can find out the keywords that people are typing to find you is through the Google Search Console, which you can connect to your Google Analytics account.
You will also find the Click Through Rate (CTR) or the rate at which a lead clicks on your webpage upon typing a search term.
When planning an ad campaign, you want to target your ads specifically to the persons according to a particular profile such as age or location.
This you can find out through Demographics in Google Analytics. Are your site visitors more of those in their early 20s or 30s? Male or female? You can even see the interests and plan your marketing accordingly.
Having a travel website means a very broad market with so much potential from countless places. If not guided by data, it can be quite confusing and overwhelming, not to mention expensive in terms of market spend.
Which location will you target to achieve your business goals? Where should you focus your promotions and marketing strategies on?
Thanks to Google Analytics, there is no guessing game. You can see where your site audience are mostly coming from and focus there.
Conversely, you will see where your business is weak but has a lot of potential based on population and spending potential.
Related to the location is language. Your travel website may be of interest to travellers from any part of the world, and naturally, it is a good idea to make your site multi-lingual.
In such cases, your URL that adapts to a particular country’s language may contain this:
https://yoursite.com/en-us, /en-gb/ or /en-ca/
In your Geo-Language, you will see which geo-targeted URL got the most clicks. This will help you see where your potential clients are.
Remember though, that just because your preferred audience groups do not appear here does not mean you just need to focus on what clicks you got. You can actually use this information in two ways: where you are already strong and also which areas you are weak at.
5.) Page views
Under Behavior, you can see all your pages and know which pages are getting the most views. This again tells you which pages are most interesting or most visited by your customers, or conversely your weakest pages.
Aside from simply knowing your strong and weak pages, this will also help in building your internal links. You can interlink your weaker page with a stronger one so that the latter will hopefully be discovered more.
Furthermore, still on the Pages, it shows more helpful information such as Average Time on Page and Bounce Rate.
A good average time duration is 2-3 minutes by general standards. It may not be enough to read your entire content, but it is enough time to scheme through the page and interact, like click a button for example.
As for Bounce Rate, this is the measurement of time by which a site visitor leaves your site. To Google, if a site visitor leave your site shortly after getting on it, this means they did not get what they were looking for or had an overall bad experience.
Thus, with Analytics, you can tell which page has a high bounce rate and take a look at what could be the potential problem.
6.) New vs Returning
You want to know if your travel site visitors are new or returning visitors, and you can do that under Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning.
This is quite useful because you will know whether your business is gaining new leads and if your marketing efforts are producing results; or worse if you are losing customers by way of declining returning visitors.
You can get this “growth” metric in particular, by comparing week-to-week, month-to-month or any custom period.
7.) Technology & Devices
Google Analytics will also show what browsers and devices are site visitors using to access your site.
This will tell you which browsers your visitors are using to check your site out. Is it Chrome, Safari?
Why should we worry about browsers in the first place?
Knowing which browsers customers are using will help you check if your site is displaying correctly on the popular browsers. Otherwise, this could be a problem and cause lost business.
In the screenshot above, you can see that most site visitors are using Safari. From this information, one can check the compatibility of one’s site vs the browser/s.
Which devices are your visitors using to browse your site? The screenshot below shows most of this site’s visitors are using their phones. Is your site compatible?
The information is so detailed that you can even go as far as what brand and model of the site visitors’ devices are.
8.) Behavior Flow
Behavior Flow shows how your site visitors arrive at your site (landing page) and how they reach the succeeding page.
How does this help your travel website?
This will tell you if your site was found via a blog post, a landing page of a Google or FB ad you are running, or by a specific page of your website for example. This will trace the interactions of visitors as well.
Combination of Any of These Metrics
The metrics above are just the start of using all the data in Google Analytics. What makes the metrics above more useful and insightful is that you can combine many of these to get a more detailed analysis.
For example, you can combine the information under Landing Pages as primary dimension and have a secondary dimension such as Acquisition.
One thing to note is that you cannot get the history of these data/insights prior to installation of the tracking code on your website.
Having a travel agency business has huge potential with practically endless possibilities. However, without data to base your marketing strategies on, it will be impossible to plan your marketing efforts without blowing your budget.
Read more in The Most Common Errors When Using Google Analytics
That being said, Google Analytics is without a doubt, an essential tool in digital marketing. It may be confusing, but the wealth of data is worth it so that you can track your marketing.
It is a matter of utilizing these data to achieve your business goals. Best of all, this is free – you just need to use these insights on a regular basis to make informed, data-driven strategies.