Website analytics is about monitoring the performance of your website to better understand your customers. What are they looking for? How do they use your website?
Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to improve the effectiveness of your website and adapt your marketing strategy and make better-informed business decisions. With Google Analytics you can find out, for example:
- the most popular pages or posts on your site
- the average amount of time visitors stay on your site
- where the traffic to your website comes from (direct, organic search, social media, etc.)
- countries your users come from.
If you are just getting started with Google Analytics for travel business, consider these 5 tips. If you haven’t added Google Analytics to your travel website, you might want to do this before you continue reading.
Understand Google Analytics terminology
The first time you open Google Analytics, you might feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available. Don’t worry. After a few regular visits, you’ll feel a whole lot more comfortable.
Your main dashboard, known as the Home tab, holds the overall information about your site:
- number of users and sessions, revenue, and conversion rates
- number of active users, i.e. those who are currently on your site
- where your traffic comes from (direct, organic search, referral, social, and more)
- breakdown of session by country
- time of day when users visit your site
- most visited pages
Each of these so-called widgets contains the basic filtration options. Here you can quickly change the dates for your statistics and If you want to learn more about some specific information, there’s a link to the full report in the lower-right corner of each widget.
Here is a list of the key terminology that you need to know in order to be able to understand your Google Analytics reports:
- Users: the number of people who visit your site.
- New Users: the number of people who have visited your site for the first time.
- Sessions: a group of user interactions with your website that take place within a given time frame.
- Number of Sessions per User: how many sessions each user has had.
- Pageviews: the number of times a specific page has been viewed. If a single user visits a page a hundred times, each time counts as a new pageview.
- Pages / Session: the average number of pages viewed per one session.
- Avg. Session Duration: an average length of one session.
- Bounce Rate: the number of people who left your site after loading just one page.
Identify how visitors find your travel website
It is very likely that your travel website traffic doesn’t originate from a single channel. Some may randomly stumble upon your website while looking for places or activities in your area. Maybe you’ve managed to grab their attention with your Facebook or Instagram post. Some may come there directly.
Regardless of the channel, it is essential to identify the sources for your website traffic. To do this, take the following steps:
- navigate to ‘Acquisitions’
- click ‘All Traffic’
- click ‘Source/Medium’
You can now see the sources of your website traffic and understand which area to emphasize in your marketing efforts. For instance, if Instagram is your primary source, you can focus on creating more content in this channel. You can also test alternative channels to see how your audience reacts.
Understand how visitors engage with your travel website
Now that you know the source of your website traffic, the next step is to figure out how users engage with your travel website.
Head to the left navigation panel of Google Analytics and open the ‘Behavior’ tab. You’ll get a clear picture of the pages and posts that are popular among visitors. You’ll also see which pages and posts aren’t performing too well.
Set action-based goals
Ultimately you want to turn your website visitors into paying customers. Now when you understand how to find the metrics that show you what works and what doesn’t on your website, it’s time to establish ‘Goals’.
To set action-based goals, you need to think about the primary intent of your website or a page. What actions do you want visitors to take on your travel business website? Examples of desired actions could be:
- filling out an inquiry form
- newsletter subscriptions
Keep experimenting and learning more about Google Analytics
To learn how you can get the most use out of Google Analytics is a journey. Keep exploring, experimenting and digging deeper. However, do not forget to choose your key metrics (ideally 3 to 5 in the beginning) and analyse them on a regular basis.
There are people in this world whose job is to focus on Google Analytics. As a small travel business owner you simply can’t nor should you do this. However, if you feel like utilising Google Analytics might be one way to unlock your growth, keep learning more.
In the online world, things change. Frequently and rapidly. In late 2020 Google introduced ‘Google Analytics 4’. This article is focused on ‘Google Universal Analytics’ as it still is the recommended version for small travel businesses.