Does Your Hotel Web Analytics Solution Include Event Tracking?
Many hoteliers have mastered the analysis of web analytic data and are looking for more ways to gain insight into the behavior and actions taken by site visitors. One effective way to accomplish that goal is through event tracking. This article will discuss what event tracking is, why it should matter to owners of hotel websites, and how that information can be used to improve their online presence.
What is Event Tracking?
Event Tracking is the tracking of certain user actions on a website and pushing that data through to the web analytics program. Generally this feature is supported but not automated in various analytics solutions as it is designed to be custom for each site.
Until tag management software was introduced, event tracking was accomplished by placing script with the html of a web page. Now it can be done either by using in-code scripts or through a tag management system. Tracking events through a tag management system has several advantages:
- It’s more thorough – events can be tracked using a rule-based pattern rather than having to remember to add it to all new or updated code
- It’s less prone to error – tags can be verified and once working, will work throughout the site
- It’s quicker to implement – tags can be setup directly in the tag management system without having to update the code.
This article is a great resource if you are interested in implementing event tracking without using a tag management system like Google Tag Manager.
Here is an article on setting up event tracking using Google’s Tag Management System.
What Actions Can Be Tracked with Event Tracking?
Event tracking can be used to track a number of user engagements on a site that are not automatically tracked by analytics programs like Google Analytics. What is tracked can be completely customized for each individual site including clicks on buttons/links, form submissions, click-to-call links on mobile devices, clicks on email addresses, video plays, etc. Below is a list of the type of events that might be worthwhile to track on hotel sites:
- Visits to the hotel’s booking engine
- Restaurant menu PDF downloads
- Spa, dining, or golf tee-time reservations
- Contact us/RFP form submissions
- Mobile click-to-call links
- Promotional pop-ups and calls to action (CTA)
- Clicks on special hotel offers and packages
- Video views
- Email list sign-ups
- Social engagements
What Data Can I Get From Event Tracking?
When event tracking is setup, four pieces of data are passed through to the analytics reporting:
- Event Category – This data field can be used to create categories of interactions like forms, bookings, social, etc.
- Event Action – This data field is most often used to identify what specific action was taken. For example, form abandoned vs form submitted or video played vs video paused, call made, link clicked, etc.
- Event Label – This data field can be used to provide very specific information about the event such as which social button was clicked, which hotel special offer was chosen or which form was submitted.
- Event Value – This data field is used to specify a value to the interaction. It can be a dollar amount, a scaled integer, or any other number that is meaningful for analyzing the data. For example, if a hotel typically makes $25 profit on average for every click to the booking engine, that event can be assigned the value of 25.
A fifth optional element can be assigned to events as well.Non-Interaction is a true/false variable that identifies whether the event is going to affect the bounce rate calculation. The default is false which allows events to be counted as an interaction and would therefore not count as a bounce even if no other action was taken. When set to true, events do not affect the bounce rate.
What Can I Do with the Data Collected by Event Tracking?
Data collected with event tracking can be used in a variety of ways. The metrics gathered include:
- Total Events: Total number of times the event was tracked. This is useful for seeing which events are most common and which happen less often.
- Unique Events: Total events where those of the same type from the same session are removed (de-duped). This is useful for determining what events may be more commonly repeated and for eliminating counts of duplicated actions by the same user.
- Event Value: Total value for all events fired of that type. This is useful for determining the total contribution of certain types of engagements of the site.
- Average Value: The average value for events of this type fired. This is useful for gauging theoverall performance value of each type of event.
- Visits with Event: Total visits that included an event. This is useful for determining how many sites involve tracked events and how many don’t.
- Events / Visit: The average number of events per visit. This is useful in seeing how many times users are engaging with the site per visit.
Note: Each of these metrics can be broken down by Category, Action, Label individually or in combina
tion as well.
Going one step further, the most important events can be setup to count as goals in your analytics data. This can easily be done counting all events or only certain ones. This allows data related to those eventsto be integrated into the standard and custom reporting options for other analytics metrics like channel data, content, and audience segments. Read more about setting goals in Google Analytics.
What Are Some Examples of Useful Event Tracking Data for Hotels?
Valet Interactive has found many useful insights in event data tracked on our client’s websites. Aside from knowing basic metrics like the number of visitors being sent to the booking engine or email sign-ups, event data can be tied to tracked marketing campaigns to see what channels brought traffic to the site and what they did when they got there. Event tracking can help identify what needs to be changed in our digital marketing efforts such as:
- If a Valentine’s Day romance package is being promoted on Facebook and in PPC, but more people coming from Facebook are clicking on the shopping package when they go to book, this is useful insight in how to adjust the Facebook marketing effort.
- If we see that an eBlast sent people to the site and a large percentage of them watched a video on one of the pages, then we may want to try promoting video in future email communications.
- If we put a CTA on the homepage for a special offer and we see that a large number of people are clicking on the CTA but then not clicking on the offer, then we know we might need to adjust the offer rather than the CTA navigation.
The possibilities are almost endless in terms of ways to dig deep into the data to garner insights into better ways to structure and navigate the site, to create/adjust and layout site content, to identify the best channels to drive the desired actions on the site, and more.
Is your agency taking advantage of event tracking for your hotel website? If not, contact Valet Interactive today for a free quote. We are a full-service digital marketing agency that provides services from website design to SEO, including web analytics solutions like event tracking.
Additional Resources on Event Tracking:
Google’s blog post on event tracking: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2011/04/new-google-analytics-events-goals.html
Google Tag Manger Events: https://support.google.com/tagmanager/answer/6106716?hl=en
by: Lauretta Shokler
Director of Inbound Marketing and Analytics at Valet Interactive a division of Worldwide Revenue Solutions