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How Do You Tell Where A Guest Has Found You?

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NW BB

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How are you tracking where a guest found you? If you are just asking them, or having them click on webervations how they found you. FOR GET IT!!!
A few years ago I started using SuperStatz which tracks my Webervations reservations from the beginning of where they found me, all the way to their putting through their reservation. The other program that is able to do this is Intellikeeper.
Here's what I found...at least 90% of the people are wrong!! They really can't tell the difference if they found you on a b&b directory, which directory (they all sound the same) or a Google/Yahoo search. Many times they have found you on multiple directories.
On my Webervations form I have a pulldown list they choose from i.e. Google, Yahoo, bedandbreakfast.com, bbonline, etc. I used to think that was really how they found me. After I started using the more sophisticated tracking program, I found that most of the time they were wrong. They would say things like Google, when in fact they put their search words in Google, then hit on a directory, then found us. A lot of times they say a directory, and it turns out it's a different directory than the one they listed.
This was a real eye opener. These tracking programs will allow you to make an informed decision on which directories are worth staying in and which are not performing at all. Yes, they cost money, but once you find out that B&B directory XYZ really didn't send you all those reservations you thought, you can cancel your listing and you've now saved enough money to make it worthwhile. These tracking programs will tell you not only how they found you, but also the keywords they used, what pages they were on and for how long. What I found was that most of my guests are now finding me from Google searches which I've really been working to get higher organic placements, and less on B&B directories.
Just today I got a Webervations reservation and the people have been on our website for more than a year, originally found us using a Google search, but on their Webervations form listed BnBFinder as how they found us. Really, folks, they haven't got a clue!!!
A good tracker is a great investment.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Your next to the last paragraph hit on the truth of it all. Just because they called or booked from BBONLINE doesn't mean they hadn't found you in 5 diff places prior to calling. Going back to Bree's theory that it is important that every place a guest searches online "you are there."
 

EmptyNest

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So true..Oh yeah..I found you on the INTERNET! DUH!! Most don't have a clue. BUt most likely the first thing they did was go to Google and type in the name of your town and BB. Then went from there.
Lots of us here use Google Analytics. A great tracking program..which tells you more than enough stats to keep your mind busy forever:) and it is FREE.
 

swirt

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Excellent examples NW BB. Self-reporting when it comes to how people found you is very unreliable. As Catlady mentioned, Google Analytics can do what you are describing as a free tracker, but it takes a bit of work to set up the goals so that it is easier to track the conversions.
 

Morticia

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Your next to the last paragraph hit on the truth of it all. Just because they called or booked from BBONLINE doesn't mean they hadn't found you in 5 diff places prior to calling. Going back to Bree's theory that it is important that every place a guest searches online "you are there.".
JunieBJones (JBJ) said:
Your next to the last paragraph hit on the truth of it all. Just because they called or booked from BBONLINE doesn't mean they hadn't found you in 5 diff places prior to calling. Going back to Bree's theory that it is important that every place a guest searches online "you are there."
My other theory is that enough people get it wrong often enough that it's all a wash anyway. Heck, even guests who say they are repeats have called the wrong place!
 

swilson

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Excellent examples NW BB. Self-reporting when it comes to how people found you is very unreliable. As Catlady mentioned, Google Analytics can do what you are describing as a free tracker, but it takes a bit of work to set up the goals so that it is easier to track the conversions..
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Excellent examples NW BB. Self-reporting when it comes to how people found you is very unreliable. As Catlady mentioned, Google Analytics can do what you are describing as a free tracker, but it takes a bit of work to set up the goals so that it is easier to track the conversions..
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
.
swilson said:
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
I agree with you, 5 years ago people would just answer "on the internet" now even the granny's of our nation are online, so they can tell you more specifically where they found you. Love the technogrannies! Some guests LOVE to tell in detail what led them to us or our website.
I beleive gone are the days where guests have no idea, I think, at least with our guests, majority know where they found us. But having said that, they may have seen us on 4 or 5 different websites before they called. Specifically which one is the best bang for the buck is hard to ascertain.
 

swilson

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Excellent examples NW BB. Self-reporting when it comes to how people found you is very unreliable. As Catlady mentioned, Google Analytics can do what you are describing as a free tracker, but it takes a bit of work to set up the goals so that it is easier to track the conversions..
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
.
swilson said:
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
I agree with you, 5 years ago people would just answer "on the internet" now even the granny's of our nation are online, so they can tell you more specifically where they found you. Love the technogrannies! Some guests LOVE to tell in detail what led them to us or our website.
I beleive gone are the days where guests have no idea, I think, at least with our guests, majority know where they found us. But having said that, they may have seen us on 4 or 5 different websites before they called. Specifically which one is the best bang for the buck is hard to ascertain.
.
The best bang for the buck is your site at the top of google!
 

Morticia

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Excellent examples NW BB. Self-reporting when it comes to how people found you is very unreliable. As Catlady mentioned, Google Analytics can do what you are describing as a free tracker, but it takes a bit of work to set up the goals so that it is easier to track the conversions..
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
.
swilson said:
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
Naw, hard to make us mad because we've discussed almost everything under the sun already...here's my take on what you said...yes, you can get guests to give you some sort of answer besides 'on the internet' but a LOT of guests really don't know what they did to get where they are or they followed a couple of links to get where they are now and they're still not sure where that is. (I have asked them to READ to me exactly what it says in the browser address bar. 'Huh? Where do I find that?' is a pretty typical answer, even when I say to look in the box at the very top of their internet browser. 'Huh? What's a browser?'
There are also many, many guests who write down the phone numbers and hand them off to a spouse, 'Here, THIS is where I want to stay, make a reservation,' so the spouse has no idea.
Now, my classic story...a woman calls me to make a reservation. I ask where she found us. 'I Love Inns,' was the response. OK, fair enough, I'm listed on there. She walked in the door and handed me a gift certificate from Bedandbreakfast.com. Yup, she knew EXACTLY where she found me. With GC in hand she didn't know where she found me.
I think where the problem is coming in for some is that the guest is self-selecting from a pull down list online. My list is pretty long. And, for fun, I left in the directories I took myself off. (Did that for a few months last year.) And, yes, I had guests self-select those directories. Maybe they really did find me there and just took a long time to call, who knows.
If a guest wants to play 'which directory' with me on the phone that's ok, but if they show the least resistance I back off. No sense in alienating them before I have their cc info.

I also have guests who never self-select when they book online. They leave it set at 'please select'. I'm not going to make that a mandatory field.
(Apparently, JBJ's technogrannies are not the same grannies who call here...)
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Excellent examples NW BB. Self-reporting when it comes to how people found you is very unreliable. As Catlady mentioned, Google Analytics can do what you are describing as a free tracker, but it takes a bit of work to set up the goals so that it is easier to track the conversions..
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
.
swilson said:
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
I agree with you, 5 years ago people would just answer "on the internet" now even the granny's of our nation are online, so they can tell you more specifically where they found you. Love the technogrannies! Some guests LOVE to tell in detail what led them to us or our website.
I beleive gone are the days where guests have no idea, I think, at least with our guests, majority know where they found us. But having said that, they may have seen us on 4 or 5 different websites before they called. Specifically which one is the best bang for the buck is hard to ascertain.
.
The best bang for the buck is your site at the top of google!
.
swilson said:
The best bang for the buck is your site at the top of google!
YES HANDS DOWN! I just want them ALL to get to our site, that is what counts.
 

swilson

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Actually though, the most bang for your buck is a place I think most of you'all would never go. I had to one day when my business was crumbling before my eyes, I HAD to get some business so I just bit the bullet and never looked back. I'm sure most everyone will have a lot of negs to say about it but it SAVED my business with an increase of over one third!
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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On ocassion I will have a guest who has a folder with confirmations for their entire trip. Each B&B was found on a specific directory. "One stop shopping." All the more reason to get on those directories innkeepers!
But when we have one off guests - a wedding, or special event etc, it is almost ALWAYS a goodle search and then found our website.
Trip planners get majorly frustrated having to bounce around and around to plan their trip - that is the beauty of the B&B directories, esp if they can have an accurate MAP. If they have a NEARBY B&B listed on OUR TOWN's page, then that sucks, it is inaccurate for guest's trip planning, it throws a spanner into the mix.
 

NW BB

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Excellent examples NW BB. Self-reporting when it comes to how people found you is very unreliable. As Catlady mentioned, Google Analytics can do what you are describing as a free tracker, but it takes a bit of work to set up the goals so that it is easier to track the conversions..
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
.
I don't know about you, but most of my reservations come online using Webervations (80%-90%). You don't question those people since you don't talk to them before they arrive.
I used to use your method. Once I started using the tracking system I realized that most of my referral information was wrong. Also, I don't want to have to interrogate my guests when they call in. They try really hard to give you answers and they feel bad when they can't. I think sometimes they also just tell you what you want to hear.
The reason I started this separate post was due to a post you wrote that stated you had a substantial number of bedandbreakfast.com reservations one year, then went to nothing. That's very suspicious to me...it seems that the problem is probably with the tracking.
Of course, this is just my opinion and my experience.
 

NW BB

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Actually though, the most bang for your buck is a place I think most of you'all would never go. I had to one day when my business was crumbling before my eyes, I HAD to get some business so I just bit the bullet and never looked back. I'm sure most everyone will have a lot of negs to say about it but it SAVED my business with an increase of over one third!.
Don't just tease....spit it out! Where? EBay? Craig's List?????
By the way, we're not here to judge you. We're here to learn from each other.
 

Morticia

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Excellent examples NW BB. Self-reporting when it comes to how people found you is very unreliable. As Catlady mentioned, Google Analytics can do what you are describing as a free tracker, but it takes a bit of work to set up the goals so that it is easier to track the conversions..
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
.
I don't know about you, but most of my reservations come online using Webervations (80%-90%). You don't question those people since you don't talk to them before they arrive.
I used to use your method. Once I started using the tracking system I realized that most of my referral information was wrong. Also, I don't want to have to interrogate my guests when they call in. They try really hard to give you answers and they feel bad when they can't. I think sometimes they also just tell you what you want to hear.
The reason I started this separate post was due to a post you wrote that stated you had a substantial number of bedandbreakfast.com reservations one year, then went to nothing. That's very suspicious to me...it seems that the problem is probably with the tracking.
Of course, this is just my opinion and my experience.
.
I'm always amazed when inns get that sort of online booking! I'm still under 40%. So, 60% of the guests are calling in to ask questions (yes, I have addressed those questions on the website). The number one question I still get relates to how close are we to where a guest wants to be (and the particular place varies even tho the top places are right on my website).
The number two question is, 'I'm looking at your availability calendar, are these rooms open on these days?' What I can gather from that is that guests have run into booking problems with online calendars and they want to be sure. A corollary question is, 'Do you have availability on these dates and what are the prices?' These are guests who have not found my website, but have found my phone number.
Which then brings up the question many of you can answer for me...does a guest go right from a directory to your Webervations calendar or do they go from the directory to your website and then to Webervations? Curious to know if I am missing hundreds of bookings because my comp has Weberv and I don't and guests don't want to bother looking at my calendar when they can see all the other inns' avail right away.
 

NW BB

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Excellent examples NW BB. Self-reporting when it comes to how people found you is very unreliable. As Catlady mentioned, Google Analytics can do what you are describing as a free tracker, but it takes a bit of work to set up the goals so that it is easier to track the conversions..
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
.
swilson said:
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
I agree with you, 5 years ago people would just answer "on the internet" now even the granny's of our nation are online, so they can tell you more specifically where they found you. Love the technogrannies! Some guests LOVE to tell in detail what led them to us or our website.
I beleive gone are the days where guests have no idea, I think, at least with our guests, majority know where they found us. But having said that, they may have seen us on 4 or 5 different websites before they called. Specifically which one is the best bang for the buck is hard to ascertain.
.
Then why am I seeing the results I do with my SuperStatz?? I am not exaggerating when I tell you that 90% of them are wrong. And, I have a younger demographics than a lot of B&Bs, so that would make them a bit more tech savvy than the older generation.
 

NW BB

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Excellent examples NW BB. Self-reporting when it comes to how people found you is very unreliable. As Catlady mentioned, Google Analytics can do what you are describing as a free tracker, but it takes a bit of work to set up the goals so that it is easier to track the conversions..
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
.
swilson said:
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
I agree with you, 5 years ago people would just answer "on the internet" now even the granny's of our nation are online, so they can tell you more specifically where they found you. Love the technogrannies! Some guests LOVE to tell in detail what led them to us or our website.
I beleive gone are the days where guests have no idea, I think, at least with our guests, majority know where they found us. But having said that, they may have seen us on 4 or 5 different websites before they called. Specifically which one is the best bang for the buck is hard to ascertain.
.
The best bang for the buck is your site at the top of google!
.
Agreed!
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Excellent examples NW BB. Self-reporting when it comes to how people found you is very unreliable. As Catlady mentioned, Google Analytics can do what you are describing as a free tracker, but it takes a bit of work to set up the goals so that it is easier to track the conversions..
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
.
I don't know about you, but most of my reservations come online using Webervations (80%-90%). You don't question those people since you don't talk to them before they arrive.
I used to use your method. Once I started using the tracking system I realized that most of my referral information was wrong. Also, I don't want to have to interrogate my guests when they call in. They try really hard to give you answers and they feel bad when they can't. I think sometimes they also just tell you what you want to hear.
The reason I started this separate post was due to a post you wrote that stated you had a substantial number of bedandbreakfast.com reservations one year, then went to nothing. That's very suspicious to me...it seems that the problem is probably with the tracking.
Of course, this is just my opinion and my experience.
.
NW BB said:
I don't know about you, but most of my reservations come online using Webervations (80%-90%). You don't question those people since you don't talk to them before they arrive.
I used to use your method. Once I started using the tracking system I realized that most of my referral information was wrong. Also, I don't want to have to interrogate my guests when they call in. They try really hard to give you answers and they feel bad when they can't. I think sometimes they also just tell you what you want to hear.
The reason I started this separate post was due to a post you wrote that stated you had a substantial number of bedandbreakfast.com reservations one year, then went to nothing. That's very suspicious to me...it seems that the problem is probably with the tracking.
Of course, this is just my opinion and my experience.
If sWilson is in my state, then that would explain it, as my state from BandB.com dropped off of google - an issue that has been ongoing and worked on for a year or more (if I recall). There is more to it than one websites reporting error.
BandB.com jumped into google ads to help this issue and still are on page 3 of google last time we discussed it on this forum with John.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Excellent examples NW BB. Self-reporting when it comes to how people found you is very unreliable. As Catlady mentioned, Google Analytics can do what you are describing as a free tracker, but it takes a bit of work to set up the goals so that it is easier to track the conversions..
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
.
I don't know about you, but most of my reservations come online using Webervations (80%-90%). You don't question those people since you don't talk to them before they arrive.
I used to use your method. Once I started using the tracking system I realized that most of my referral information was wrong. Also, I don't want to have to interrogate my guests when they call in. They try really hard to give you answers and they feel bad when they can't. I think sometimes they also just tell you what you want to hear.
The reason I started this separate post was due to a post you wrote that stated you had a substantial number of bedandbreakfast.com reservations one year, then went to nothing. That's very suspicious to me...it seems that the problem is probably with the tracking.
Of course, this is just my opinion and my experience.
.
I'm always amazed when inns get that sort of online booking! I'm still under 40%. So, 60% of the guests are calling in to ask questions (yes, I have addressed those questions on the website). The number one question I still get relates to how close are we to where a guest wants to be (and the particular place varies even tho the top places are right on my website).
The number two question is, 'I'm looking at your availability calendar, are these rooms open on these days?' What I can gather from that is that guests have run into booking problems with online calendars and they want to be sure. A corollary question is, 'Do you have availability on these dates and what are the prices?' These are guests who have not found my website, but have found my phone number.
Which then brings up the question many of you can answer for me...does a guest go right from a directory to your Webervations calendar or do they go from the directory to your website and then to Webervations? Curious to know if I am missing hundreds of bookings because my comp has Weberv and I don't and guests don't want to bother looking at my calendar when they can see all the other inns' avail right away.
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Bree said:
I'm always amazed when inns get that sort of online booking! I'm still under 40%. So, 60% of the guests are calling in to ask questions (yes, I have addressed those questions on the website). The number one question I still get relates to how close are we to where a guest wants to be (and the particular place varies even tho the top places are right on my website).
The number two question is, 'I'm looking at your availability calendar, are these rooms open on these days?' What I can gather from that is that guests have run into booking problems with online calendars and they want to be sure. A corollary question is, 'Do you have availability on these dates and what are the prices?' These are guests who have not found my website, but have found my phone number.
Which then brings up the question many of you can answer for me...does a guest go right from a directory to your Webervations calendar or do they go from the directory to your website and then to Webervations? Curious to know if I am missing hundreds of bookings because my comp has Weberv and I don't and guests don't want to bother looking at my calendar when they can see all the other inns' avail right away.
Sorry to sidetrack, but I must - I had an entire year of no one being surprised the guest rooms are on the second floor and yes they have to climb stairs to get to them!
Whatever combination I did on our website finally clicked and they stop asking and being surprised. Remember I had it on every room (All Guest rooms on second floor except cottage) - well I placed that in different spots and voila no more surprised guests.
I have ALWAYS been amazed at this since typically a victorian does not have a kitchen UP STAIRS! DOH!
 

swirt

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Excellent examples NW BB. Self-reporting when it comes to how people found you is very unreliable. As Catlady mentioned, Google Analytics can do what you are describing as a free tracker, but it takes a bit of work to set up the goals so that it is easier to track the conversions..
I posted this on another post, but I think it belongs here sw
Sorry,
Gotta disagree with you on that one. If you yourself are web savy, and know the right questions to ask, you can get AT LEAST a 75% answer of for sure where they found you. Why? You ask where they FIRST found you. So they say google. I say what did you actually type in on google. Ok, yes, 25% say, uh I don't know, I've been looking for days etc etc. BUT, most of my customers will tell me exactly the keywords they typed in, then I go to google and type it in and see where I'm found with those words. Or they will say referall, return guest, or found you on so and so site I'm paying to be on. I may make someone mad here, but if you can't find out how the majority of the guests found you by asking them questions, I don't think the problem is with the guest.
.
Sorry, If I'm going to play 20 questions on the phone it is going to be about the guest and what they need or want. It is not going to drill them about where or how they found us. My website does that for me without bothering me or my potential guests. I, like Bree, had directories listed in my choices for how they found us that we were not a member of. Those got more selections than the the actual ways they could have found us. Self-reporting is very unreliable. There is no good reason not to configure your website with a good tracker and get the meaningful numbers.
 

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