In a travel industry that is constantly undergoing some sort of change or improvement, it is important for companies to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack. There was a time when having a common brand flag was a necessity to keep your reservation books full. Now, it is the independent and boutique hotels that are in their best position in years.
Search engines and third-part distribution partners are leveling the sales-and-marketing playing field. Independent hotels now have the tools to get just as much exposure and recognition as brands, while targeting the right mix of customers.
The up-and-coming generation of travelers – those traveling today, not years from now – are far more brand agnostic than former generations according to a study by travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt. His study showed that even consumers considered “elite” loyalty members will not remain blindly loyal, and often times these guests will choose a hotel based on the promotions as opposed to loyalty.
Protean Strategies also conducted a recent study showing that hotel brands are not making it clear enough to consumers what segment they are playing in and what kind of experience guests should expect for that price point.
So, what can individuals brands do differently to stand out amongst an increasingly crowded landscape?
To capture most travelers’ attention, just be at the top of the list when they do a Google search for “hotels in the Poconos”, have a comparative price and good guest reviews. Today’s consumers simply don’t care about the “feel good factor”.
Brands should focus more resources toward optimizing those technological necessities and further assist property managers in key areas including online reputation management, search engine marketing and dynamic pricing. Do not waste your time commissioning studies that reveal mind blowing facts like contemporary travelers are looking for WiFi internet access in their hotel rooms.
If you have been checking your Google Analytics lately, and noticed an odd trend of seemingly low time spent on your pages, don’t panic just yet. The problem may in fact not have to do with the content of your pages. After all, people want to read what you have to say, right? The issue is actually the system in place for tracking average time on page of your website. Here is how it works –
1. Timestamps – Google calculates the time spent on each page of a site with what they call a timestamp – a sort of stopwatch, clocking the time from initial page load, until entry into another page, at which time a new stamp is created.
2. The Formula – Say you load page “A” – at which time Google stamps a time of 00:00. The content you are reading on page “A” is fascinating enough to leave you gazing and reading for 30 seconds. Now, you see a link to page “B” that you think looks even more interesting. When you click the link to that page, Google starts a new timestamp, at a starting time of 30 seconds – the time you spent on page “A.”
3. The Disconnect – Here is where Google leaves us wondering – and leaves you frustrated at low page times. Let’s say you remain on page “A” for 25 minutes, gazing and reading that amazing content you love so much. But now, instead of linking to page “B,” you exit the site. Google has no timestamp for this fairly common occurrence. It has no way of knowing how long you spent viewing page “A.” Remember, the timestamp on page “A” begins at 00:00 and the time spent on that page is the starting point for the timestamp on page “B.” If there is no page “B”…there is no timestamp available.
How Google Does It
Google does attempt to account for pages that have no secondary timestamp. The calculation Google applies subtracts the number of page exits. So, what you are left with to calculate average time on page is this – Average Time on Page = Total Time on Page ÷ (Pageviews – Exits)
Even accounting for exits does not completely resolve the issue. Sites that yield a high number of bounces (someone enters the site, reads something, and immediately leaves) still are missing a large piece of time on page statistics.
For help and answers all things Google Analytics, click here.
Do you have Google Analytics tracking code set up on your website? If so, do you know the percentage of bookings to views of your website? Do you know how long the average user stays on your website?
Google Analytics can be intimidating, so we’re going to ease in to all of the features of this amazing tool slowly. We will start by making sure you have Google Analytics tracking code on your website and then defining common terms.
Learn more about Google Analytics on the VEM GlobalTM blog!