You don’t have to be a digital marketing expert to look at high level reports and find trends for your hotel. Briefly review monthly reports and start asking better questions of your vendors, partners and team. If you don’t have someone on your team with the skill set to dive deeper, find someone who does.
Digital Marketing KPIs for GMs and Sales
Here are 10 high level Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to analyze when you are not a digital marketing expert good for a General Manager or Director of Sales to keep handy.
Total Website Traffic
In its most basic form, is your website traffic growing year over year? If you are a new hotel, you should see a positive upward trend in website traffic. Make sure you are looking at “real traffic” and you have excluded non-converting traffic like people who land on your site after signing onto WiFi. If not trending positively YOY, ask these questions:
- Is seasonality affecting performance?
- What website source is down year over year? (Direct, organic, referrals, social, etc)
- Is there new competition in the market?
- Has your paid media budget and strategy changed?
Organic Website Traffic
As seasonality affects demand in your hotel, it also affects how many people search for hotels in an area as well. So, try to avoid comparing month over month and compare year over year, when possible. Over time, your online presence should expand, thus resulting in more organic website traffic. If not trending positively year over year, ask these questions:
- What is your exposure for branded versus non-branded keywords?
- Are your on-site and off-site search engine optimization strategy aligned?
- What is your average rank on targeted keywords?
- Are you getting 1-2% click-through rate for the most relevant non-branded keywords?
Social Media Engagement
Whatever the channel, focus on engagement, not followers. You could have a large base that doesn’t 1) care anymore or 2) doesn’t see your posts due to low engagement. Granted, not every post is a winner, but some should be. Focus on using social media as a direct 2-way communication with your past, present and future guests. There isn’t an exact metric you are looking for, but consider these question.
- Are people liking, commenting and sharing your content from time to time?
- Do you have funds dedicated to social?
- Am you getting referrals from social to your website?
- Do you have a content calendar and someone responsible for social?
Are you well-connected online in your local community? Sales teams often have many contacts, but fail to extend that relationship into the online world. If you are expected to be associated with a specific demand generator solely due to proximity, think again. Getting listed on local websites not only drive referring traffic, but also increase your search rankings. If you don’t see referrals from your CVB, Chamber and top local partners and demand generator, ask these questions:
- Are local offers being promoted on partner sites to stand out from the competition?
- If local demand generators list hotels on their site, is your hotel one of them?
- Are your listings completely filled out with images, description, contact, etc?
This number by itself has no value. But, it does hold value as a measurement against your competitors. This number defines how many online partners that Google finds valuable, thus loosely affecting your search rankings. The goal: Have more linking domains than your competitors. You can use a tool like Moz Link Explorer without a paid membership to analyze your competitors’ online partners. If you have less, refer back to #4.
Return on Investment (or Return on Ad Spend)
Keep your paid media spend in check. ROI will vary for different online channels, depending on your goals and where that exposure happens in the booking funnel. Also, a higher ROI isn’t always a better ROI. If you spent $50 and had a 20 to 1 ROI, what would have happened if you spent $500? Though likely you would not maintain a 20 to 1 ROI, would that have resulted in a decent ROI and true incremental revenue? If you feel your ROI is too low, ask these questions:
- Is your budget big enough for what you want to achieve?
- Are your goals aligned with your expectations?
- Is your strategy aligned with your target market and selected channels?
Revenue Management plays a huge role in achieving ROIs in digital marketing. But, you should look for alignment between the people you are targeting to come to your website that they are aligning with bookings. Typical traffic to conversion ratios are 2.2%, where the top 20% convert around 5.6%, as identified by FastBooking. If you are lower than average, start asking yourself, or your team, these questions:
- Revenue Management: Are your rates competitive and showcasing value? Are the rates on your website competitive? Has the competitive set changed in some way?
- Website: Is it easy to find information and images about your hotel and surroundings easily on your website? Are you clearly differentiating yourself from the competition on your site? Are there particular channels with a lower conversion rate?
- Booking Engine: Is the process to complete a reservation simple one? Do you clearly state rates, rooms, terms and policies? Are the rooms and rate in the best order?
What are people saying about you online? Read your reviews to see if strategy of who you are is aligned with who you want to be. Define issues or misalignment, then fix it. Utilize a reputation management platform, and check out the Sentiment Analysis that groups the positives and negatives about what people are saying so you can look for trends. Don’t pat yourself on the back too early, most hotels have repeat positive comments about Staff. So unless you are top ranked on TripAdvisor, you can’t really say you can compete on good service.
This is a hard one because it depends on the hotel. The goal is to not put all your eggs in one basket. Your website should be bringing in about a third, less if you are an independent hotel. Sales (or in-house) should also have about a third, more if you are an extended stay or hotel with alot of meeting space. OTAs aren’t always the bad guy. OTAs should contribute in the 10-15% range. Expect to use them more in slower seasons. Then the rest is spread among GDS and a potential call center or phone reservations. If you are overly heavy in one area, ask these questions:
- How can you become better diversified?
- Are you overly dependent on one segment or client?
- Are respective content and image audits of some channels required?
- Look at year over year trends for changes and have a team chat about goals moving forward.
Here are more details on distribution and channel mix.
OTA Content Score
To keep optimal exposure on the major OTAs without offering discounts or participating in opaque, look at your content scores. This just ensures you have all the pertinent fields in terms of imagery and content filled out per their ever-changing standards. This is free to do and you probably want to check it quarterly. Here is more info on how to clean up your OTA content score.
Digital Marketing KPI Recap
Most of these digital marketing KPIs are not budget restrictive to review and audit. But, you should have a budget for your digital marketing and have it aligned with your sales plan. Set goals for your vendors and partners. Be engaged with them on any planning or strategy calls. Audit your online channels periodically to ensure you are telling a consistent story with content and images. Ask questions, endlessly, until you understand.
These are the critical questions that all management needs to be able to answer. This is a great checklist and could be part of the agenda for monthly, quarterly and yearly meetings of the staff.
Appreciable post by Stephanie!! As new technologies give the hospitality industry new ways to measure and optimize its performance, it’s more important than ever that hotels closely monitor their KPIs, and use that intelligence to optimize their operations and increase profitability. I have come across with these links that may be helpful for a better insight on this; https://www.navedas.com/how-kpis-help-call-centers-win-in-the-business-game/ and https://blog.manetmobile.com/2019/05/15/the-10-most-important-business-kpis-for-hotels/