Can you recall one single property manager who doesn’t claim that getting more direct bookings is one of their ultimate goals, if not the one and only one? Well, we cannot! But that dream sounds like a mission impossible without a vacation rental website—end of discussion. However, getting a vacation rental website up and running might be very overwhelming by itself. Suppose you realise you’re not getting as many direct bookings as you’ve planned. How would you make sure that your website is working efficiently? To achieve that goal, you’ll need a Google Analytics account for your vacation rentals.
You can spend hours of your precious time on end designing your website, creating super-engaging content for it or pay a tremendous amount of money to experts to do this for you. Still, it would be best if you examined whether or not these efforts are converting to more direct bookings and income.
That’s when a Google Analytics account comes to your vacation rentals rescue. Imagine your website is a complex system that you’re in charge of running. Suddenly, the system breaks down, but you have no idea where the problem stems from. Can you even start thinking about a way to resolve it if you don’t know the source of your current trouble? What if we tell you there’s a smart detector that can scan all your system and show you in the most accurate way which parts are working well, and which ones are not? Would you not take it?
A Google Analytics account collects all the essential information that you need to get a clear vision of the efficiency of different sections of your direct booking website. In this article, we’re going to explain the fundamentals of Google Analytics for vacation rentals, and how you can use these numbers to analyse your website’s performance from time to time. This way, you’ll be able to recognise where your bookings are coming from, whether your online marketing strategies are working adequately or not and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
Table of Contents
Set up A Google Analytics Account for Your Vacation Rental Website
If you already have a Google Analytics account for your vacation rental business, then you’re one step ahead. If not, you can simply click here. Setting up an account on Google Analytics is just a piece of cake. What matters is to become familiar with its rudimentary parts, and what the numbers in each section mean.
Google Analytics Shows Where Your Vacation Rentals Potential Guests Come from
After logging into your account, you’ll find a menu on the left, which you’ll find extremely useful when you want to make decisions about your online marketing strategies. First of all, you would be interested in analysing your current situation, which means where your visitors who are actually your potential guests are coming from at the time being. In this menu, choose Acquisition, and then the Source/Medium page.
At the top of the window that pops up, there’s a line graph. Pay attention to the numbers and dates on this line graph as it depicts at what particular times your website got a more significant number of visitors. After highlighting those spots, find the events that were going on in your marketing strategy. Did you offer a special discount on your website and social media platforms? Did you publish any particular content? If yes, that’s a positive sign that whatever action you took during that time was working well. So, in the future, you might as well think about repeating such activities.
Now scroll down. Here, you’ll find a table which at first sight might look a bit confusing, but it’s not as inscrutable as you think. A more in-depth look at the rates and words in this table shows how clear, intelligible it is. Showing the sources your visitors came from, the table is a clear-cut descending list of anywhere your potential guests are finding your brand.
In the example below, we observe that most users who visited this website have come from direct search, followed by Google organic search. See? There’s no need to get too deep into the weeds to be able to comprehend this table. What else does this list tell you? Yes! Obviously, whoever owns this website must be looking for engaging strategies that would attract more other sources as there’s a massive gap between the first two mediums and the others.
Find out Which Countries Your Visitors Are from
The next thing you can check on the Google Analytics account you’ve created to analyse your vacation rental website is the Audience section. After that, go to the overview section, you can see a list of numbers that display some statistics, including new users or the average time people spent on your website, which shows how engaging your vacation rental website is.
Moreover, below this section, there’s a list of the countries your users are from. Well, you might find the point of this section a little bit vague, but if you look at it from a marketing point of view, you’ll understand how much you can make use of this information. If you own more than one short term rental, ask yourself, “where are they?” and “who do I want to target?”
You can adapt your website’s content with the culture of the people who spend the most time on your website. In the picture below, apparently, most visitors are from America. So, it might be to the benefit of the owner of this website to create content, especially blog posts and property descriptions in American English. You can also analyse specific data in more details by merely choosing the city.
Be smart! Each and every one of the details on your vacation rentals Google Analytics account can be a hint that’ll direct you to a more streamlined path to success. For instance, if you want to expand your portfolio, and you know that most of your current website visitors are from the U.S, what don’t you do some research and find a location which is in favour of Americans? The point is that you should never overlook this information.
Analyse Your Visitors in More Details
In the previous section, we touched on targeting a specific group of travellers, depending on the locations of the majority of your website’s visitors. What if you have decided on your target market beforehand, and now you want to realise if your website is successful in attracting them or not? So, from the main menu, choose Demographics/Age or Gender.
Do you have a short term rental in Cambridge and your target market are groups of young students? Well, if your answer is positive, on the Google Analytics account for your vacation rental business, go straight to the website’s Age Demographics, which looks something like the one below, so you’ve been pretty successful. If not, you should seriously revise your marketing strategies.
The same thing occurs in the Gender section. If your property is not located in a very safe neighbourhood for women, but most of the visitors of your website are among females, then there’s definitely something wrong, and you should find out what it is, and how to change this pattern.
Find the Most Attractive Pages to Your Potential Guests
Now that you have an overview of the location, age, gender and interests of most of your users, it is time to get a better understanding of the engagement potential of each of your website’s pages. A Google Analytics account that you use for your vacation rental business provides you with a totally comprehensible map of the visitors’ flow, which comes under Users Flow.
Before using this map, remember that you have this chance to observe the behaviour of any group of your website’s visitors that you want. For instance, you can categorise them by location, and see which paths people from specific regions choose, where they drop off and where they finally end up. After aiming your particular group, it is time to follow their track on your vacation rental website.
What’s your final goal? Is it anything else other than getting your visitors to your booking page and pressing that Book Now button? This map shows exactly how many people got there. There are numerous ways for a traveller who seeks for a place to stay on your website and get to your booking engine. Find the trails that directed the largest number of people to your booking page. See what their traits were, how their content was created, and what the content was about.
You Don’t Want Content that Does Not Convert
Checking your conversion rate is a must while working with your short term rentals website’s Google Analytics account. Based on a report from Fastbooking.com, the average conversion rate of a hotel website is 2.2%. What’s your conversion rate on Google Analytics?
The answer to that question is vital to the success of your business because all you do on your website, social media, and other platforms, is to convert your potential guests to existing and even loyal ones. If your conversion rate is below the average, now that you know which pages are working well and which are not, it is the time to reform your plans to increase that number.
With this data in hand, you can not only find out which types of content are most engrossing for particular groups who came from different mediums, but you’ll also be able to optimise your website, and of course reconsider your marketing strategies according to the results you get.
Always Analyse, Always Optimise
If you’re determined to boost your direct bookings, you’ve got no other way but to invest in your vacation rental website. And by investing, we don’t mean just spending much money on its design or hiring professional content writers. Of course, that all matters, but before being able to optimise your website, you need to analyse it and see where the problem is.
Without a clear vision of your converting pages, and the ones that are not efficiently working, every marketing strategy you plan to attract more direct bookings is doomed to failure.