The number of visitors a site gets is a great first step to determine where to spend marketing dollars, but it should not be the only metric a marketer looks at. Paying attention only to how many visitors your hotel’s site gets is like saying, “Wow my hotel lobby is full”, but not tracking how many of those people in the lobby actually stayed at the hotel. Any company can attempt to get more traffic to your hotel’s website. But are they driving the right kind of traffic?
Tracking your referral sources gives you a lot of insight into what is driving traffic and which of your marketing efforts are drawing visitors to the website. I recently reviewed data for a hotel in San Diego that increased its marketing efforts on a local directory. In the month of April, they had over 900 visitor referrals to the website and the directory was #3 in referrals to the site. That is an average of 30 visitors per day, which seems like a great number. In comparison, a directory geared towards the “pet friendly” niche drove fewer visitors to the site.
While the number of referred visitors is a great first step, it is important to review and determine how many of these referrals actually convert. To get a more complete picture, you can cross referrence referral sources with the visitors who actually went to the property’s booking engine to check rates.
The numbers were very interesting. Google was the top referring source and had a 36% conversion rate. Over one third of the visitors who came to the site from Google converted and checked rates. SanDiego.com on the other hand, only had 20 visitors from the referring traffic funnel go to the booking engine… a mere 2.2% of total visitor traffic from that directory. On the flip side, although dogfriendly.com had just 20 referrals that month, 9 people clicked through to the booking engine to check rates. That’s a 45% conversion rate! This indicates that visitors from the niche site were more targeted to the site’s offerings.
Each hotel can use this data to match up average conversions and make some calculations of total revenue based on their ADR (average daily rate) and ALOS (average length of stay). Even if one source has a lower conversion rate, it does not necessarily mean it is not the right strategy. Having as many facts as possible will help the hotel make the best determination as to which of their efforts are working best.