Hotel Marketing Podcast Episode 227 – Demand The Reporting Your Hotel Needs to Succeed
2023 is basically here and at the time of recording, we only have about 6 working weeks until we ring in the new year. For a lot of hoteliers out there, 2022 was a pretty good year. Occupancy was strong, ARD was up, and RevPAR was positive.
Not everything was great though and increasing costs, labor shortages, and the remnants of the pandemic all took their toll on travel. 2022 was largely a good year, but it could have been so much better.
This brings us into the present day and looking forward to 2023. Depending on who you ask, it could be a great year. Others might say it’s going to be a long, hard, uphill battle. The truth is somewhere in between and your marketing strategies will define your hotel’s reality.
One thing is certain though, your analytics will be the map that guides you along the way. The question is will you be ready for the big changes coming to tracking and reporting in 2023?
To set the stage, you must absolutely demand accuracy and a forward-thinking approach to your hotel analytics. There are absolutely zero excuses for having poor data. There ar zero excuses for not being able to answer the question, “where is my revenue coming from?” There are zero excuses for not being able to quickly identify the holes in your marketing ship.
Today on this episode of the Hotel Marketing Podcast Short Fuze I’m going share exactly what you will need to do to make sure the data you’re using to make decisions is correct and can be trusted.
Demand #1: Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Demand to your partners is to get GA4 implemented now. Do not wait any more, do not assume it will be easy, and definitely do not assume it will all take care of itself.
Everyone already knows about Google’s migration from Universal Analytics (GA3) over to GA4. Google is stating that as of July 1, 2023, they will no longer write data to Universal Analytics. Meaning if you haven’t made the switch to the new reporting system your reporting will end. Furthermore, if you haven’t already switched there’s a good chance you won’t have good year-over-year comparisons to aid in your decision-making.
I’ll make a bold prediction. Google is going to extend this deadline.
As marketers, we have already had two full years to work on the transition from UA to GA4. However, our experience is very few marketers are ready. In fact, we are struggling with a lot of 3rd party systems and booking engines that are not set up yet for GA4. This is also not just in the hotel industry, it’s throughout the web. I don’t see how Google is going to be able to stand its ground and shut off UA when so many users are not ready yet.
As a web developer, I can’t fully implement GA4 without everyone downstream implementing first. I can’t fully test my implementation until their implementations are complete. I certainly can’t have accurate YOY reporting if only a portion of my tracking is complete.
Furthermore, GA4 requires a different mindset, and the names, reports, and data are going to be different. I’ve found it takes significant time to get your mind out of UA and into GA4.
Demand #2: Get to Know Data Studio
Demand you and your team have access to simple (or complex) data studio reports.
Data Studio has been a revolutionary tool for hoteliers in that you are able to create reports that can be accessed by anyone in the organization, easily filtered, and able to be used without any technical or analytics background.
Best of all these are very, very, easy to set up and configure. We have been working over the years to set these up as standard procedures for new clients and it really does make life a lot easier. Data studio won’t answer your “why” questions, but it will tell you where you currently are and lead you to the right questions to start asking. Though you can create more advanced DS reports that go pretty far into the “why category.
Demand #3: Testing Your Analytics Attribution
Demand your agency, team, and yourself to test your entire process and ensure you’re tracking at 100%.
This one is not always as simple as it sounds but is incredibly important. Here’s what you need to do:
- Grab your credit card and open a spreadsheet
- Document your potential sources of traffic that you can track (email, PPC, social, chamber/DMO, etc)
- If you’re familiar with Google Tag Assistant or other Chrome Extensions, have that loaded and ready
- In a new incognito browser search for your ad/listing/etc and click on it to enter your site.
- Click around, leave the site, come back and go to the booking engine
- Make an actual booking for a date in the future that won’t impact real users
- Note the value of the booking including room total, resort fees, taxes
- Now, go into your analytics and confirm the right attribution and total. Note that this may take some time to populate. Sometimes you may need to check the next day.
- Repeat this process (in new incognito browsers) for other sources of traffic
Assuming everything is tracking correctly, congratulations!
Submit your questions and topic ideas on Twitter to @_travelboom or firstname.lastname@example.org.