josh 05/14/2016

Do you know how much money you are making through your Paid Search/SEO campaigns? Can you tell how many bookings, property inquiries, contact form leads, phone calls and chats are coming in by origin? Well if you can’t do either of these and you are marketing your management company online in any way, you could be shooting yourself in the foot. Sometimes tracking keywords and general traffic isn’t enough. You may even have the right traffic, but for some reason your site isn’t converting; these are all potential issues that can be evaluated using the tracking methods below.

Start Tracking (Ecommerce)!

As a vacation rental manager, you want to know what city your guests are coming from. With this crucial data, you can find ways to better improve areas where you might be losing guests and brainstorm ideas to break into new markets. Your reports in Google Analytics can also be viewed in an ecommerce version. This allows you to see how you’re making money and where you’re bookings are coming from. Ecommerce tracking is single-handedly the most important thing you could set up in Google Analytics. To ensure you have this set up:

1)Pull up your Google Analytics standard reports
2)Go to the “Admin” button located in the top right
3)Go to your “Profile Settings”
4)Click on “Ecommerce Settings” and change the drop down to “Yes, an Ecommerce Site”
5)”Submit” with the button at the bottom

Tracking img

This is when things start to get a little difficult. You have to connect the ecommerce part of your site to Google Analytics so it knows what properties were booked, how much you’re selling them for, etc. Unless you have experience coding/web developing, we recommend hiring a friendly coder who would be up to the task; this would be very easy for them and much less of a headache for you.

What’s the easiest way to set up ecommerce tracking?

The easiest way to set up ecommerce tracking is to ensure that your site is using a compatible vacation rental software. For example, StreamlineVRS will automatically import ecommerce data to Google Analytics once it is connected with your site. It’s as easy as:

1)Give Streamline VRS your Google Analytics property
2)Turn ecommerce on in Google Analytics

This is a lot easier than doing it yourself, or hiring someone to do it, so make sure when you are shopping around for vacation rental software that they include the feature of being easily integrated with Google Analytics. This is especially important if you plan on doing online marketing for your properties.

Set Your Goals

Goals is how Google Analytics tracks conversions—it’s debatably the most important data you want to keep track o, not to mention conversions are what keeps the fire going! You want to narrow down what it is you should be tracking, so start with the most important elements: Reservations, Property Inquiries and General Contact Form Fills. To do this:

1)Go to Google Analytics standard reports
2)Click on “admin” button
3)Click on “goals”
4)In one of the Goal sets, click “+Goal”

There are two different kinds of Goals you can track, so you want to make sure you specify which Goal you want Analytics to track. You can have Google Analytics track a:

1)URL Destination: whenever people visit a specific URL it tracks a goal
2)Event: this is most commonly used for live chats – an event will need to be clearly defined by adding a specific code to your site. This code will allow you to set it as a goal once Google has started tracking the site.

Advertising On AdWords?

If yes, you need connect it to your Google Analytics account, so you can take advantage of the data you are paying for. If you don’t connect AdWords to Google Analytics, it could mean that your paid search results are getting tracked as organic search results. To set everything up correctly you need to:

A)Turn On Auto-Tagging in Google AdWords

By doing this you will be able to start telling Google Analytics which visits to your links are coming from Adwords. -Go to your AdWords account
-Go to “My Account” then “Preferences”-Ensure that Auto-tagging is checked yes
– if it is not click “edit” and make sure “Destination URL Auto-tagging” is checked

B)The Joining of Two Worlds (Google Adwords & Google Analytics)

This will ensure that all of the great data you are getting through AdWords is getting imported to Google Analytics. To make this possible:

-Go to AdWords
-Go to “Tools” and “Analysis” then click on “Google Analytics” When you are brought to a screen that asks you if you want to create a Google Analytics account, or use an existing one, select the option “already-have-one”, click the account you want to connect. Now you’re good to go. You can check on your AdWords settings in Google Analytics by following these basic steps:

1)Go to Google Analytics and select “New version”
2)Select “Admin” (top right)
3)Select your account
4)Select “Data sources” from the list of tabs at the top

Don’t Forget About The Site Search

It is important to figure out why people are leaving your site, and what they might think is missing from it. You can easily find out that information by connecting your Google Analytics account to your internal site search. This will give you a list of all the keywords people have searched for on your site, and which keywords brought potential guests to something that wasn’t there. You can set up site search by:

-Go to Google Analytics standard reports
-Select “Admin”
-Go to “View Settings”
-Scroll to the bottom and look for “site search settings”
-Fill out required fields and save

Site Settings Img

The next step is finding out how your site is identifying internal search terms. A query parameter identifies internal search terms, so you need to ensure that Google Analytics looks for the same query parameter every time and is able to identify them as internal search terms.

Start A Campaign

The most important thing for you to measure is the RIO of your current marketing campaigns. You need to ensure that the money you are spending on marketing is actually working and bringing you more conversions/bookings. Any URLs that you can edit can be tracked by Google Analytics (emails, Facebook, banner adds, etc.) If you don’t have any campaigns set up you can start doing that through Google’s URL builder tool. You can keep track of your link in campaign reports by entering your domain and some basic info about the link: -Source: Which domain is the link coming from? What email list? -Medium: Utilize PPC, banner ads, email, affiliate, etc. -Content: Separate different versions of the same ad by using this -Name: Your campaign links will be grouped by name (this is how Google does it). This is how you can distinguish groups of ads in your reports. Make sure you can know what the link is without having to look at more info.

Tracking Part 2 (Calls)

The easiest way to track calls is by using CallRail. Depending on visitor origin CallRail will automatically change the phone number on your website, which then allows for tracking by lead origin and call recording to take place. You can use these reports and compare them with reservation history in hopes of increasing potential bookings. Bada Bing Bada Boom!

Now You Have Data – Make Your Improvements to Your Advantage!

Data is crucial for Google, and you want to make sure to track all of the data you are acquiring through your site. If you follow all of the steps listed above you will be able to better track your data and use it to your advantage.