What Tour Operators Can Learn From Google Analytics

What Tour Operators Can Learn From Google Analytics

In the olden days of face-to-face only business, tour operators (or their travel agency partners) would meet with a potential client and get the three bits of basic information needed to go after a sale: Is the client a serious buyer? Why did they come through the tour operator’s door? What exactly is the client interested in? The tour operator then offered the interested client tailored travel products or a package holiday to suit their needs. If it was a good fit at the right price, the deal was done and dusted.

A lot has changed about the travel business but this fundamental hasn’t: if you don’t know basic information about a potential client, it’s near impossible to turn interest into a sale.

So how do you glean this information when potential clients are faceless hits on your website? This is where Google Analytics for tour operators comes in. Google Analytics answers the same basic questions for tour operators, just in a different language. To know if you’re dealing with serious buyers, look at the quality of your website’s traffic. Find out why they came ‘through your door’, look at where high quality traffic is coming from. To find out exactly what potential clients are interested in, you need only look at what on your website is attracting them.

Pretty simple stuff. And, with Teacup’s pleasing-to-the-eye Google Analytics reports to de-discombobulate all that data, it stays simple. Let’s go through how to use Google Analytics to assess your website’s performance so that you can get all this info, and more:

Website Traffic Quality Trumps Quantity

The ultimate goal of a tour operator’s website is to attract serious buyers who will make a booking. So the first thing you want to do is look at the quality of traffic to your website and understand the difference between what Teacup likes to call ‘high quality traffic’ (the kind that is likely to convert into a sale for a tour operator) and ‘low quality traffic’ (the kind that bounces, or will only browse but never book).

How do tour operators measure the quality of traffic on their website? You don’t have to, because Teacup came up with a stupendous system that automatically analyzes the traffic to your website.

Google Analytics Helps You Zone In On The Real Clients

You now know the difference between your high and low quality traffic. Perfect. Time to play around with The Where Did My Traffic Come From Last Week? report to see which channels bring in more high quality traffic. Tour operators can use this information to adapt online sales and marketing strategy to focus on the high performance channels. You might also want to consider scaling back on the resources allocated to the poor performers.

Take for example social media. All travel businesses need very active social media channels with dedicated social media whizzes working round the clock, right? Well, maybe not…

VENDS Media recently published the Africa Travel & Tourism Social Index, considered to be the most in-depth study to date of the use of social media across the tourist boards, national airlines and leading hotels of Africa. The researchers looked into whether there is a correlation between a destination’s social media ranking and its tourism growth. The study delivered a most surprising nugget of information: “In Africa, the most honest answer to this question appears to be ‘no’.”

That’s not to say social media channels aren’t helping grow your business, only that you should never assume a channel’s working without constantly assessing its performance. Luckily, tour operators don’t have to commission a pricey survey to find this out; Teacup’s How Much Quality Traffic Is Coming To My Site From Social Media? is an easy way to know if social media is working for your travel business.

Referral Traffic Is Gold For Tour Operators

Another extremely important channel for tour operators to look into is referrals. Travel is one of those products people like to talk to other people about: to hear their travel stories, get advice, recommendations or warnings.

Partnering with the right travel bloggers and referral websites like TripAdvisor can really help grow a tour operator’s business (provided the referrals are good!). Monitor which bloggers and review sites to cosy up to with the Who Are My Top Referrers? report.

Direct Resources On What Clients Are Attracted To With Google Analytics

Back in the day, if you did a drop of 500,000 pamphlets advertising specials and only got a handful of bookings, you’d know the campaign was a big fat flop – but only after you’d spent a good chunk of your marketing budget on it. This is where online runs rings around traditional advertising campaigns. Using reports like How Are My Adwords Campaigns Performing?, you can monitor a marketing campaign’s performance, see immediately if it’s not working and pull it before you waste any more money on what is clearly a flop.

Then you can redirect those funds to sales and marketing campaigns that Google Analytics can prove are working, and/or to good quality travel content that is bringing clients to you like bees to honey. How do you know what kind of content is attracting clients to your website? Check out What Are My Top Landing Pages?

That covers all the basics of how to use Google Analytics for travel businesses. But Google Analytics is full of other data savvy tour operators can use to grow online travel sales. Play around with your Teacup account for more, or sign up for some free Google Analytics reports.

image by fdecomite via Flickr

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