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swirt

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I just ran these numbers for a website to help the owner decide which directories if any to drop. These represent the numbers for 2008 and the conversions are determined using goals in Google Analytics (if they emailed the innkeeper, or did an availability search or made a reservation request, they triggered the goal).
Note: this is not to show in general which directories anyone reading this should join or drop. These results can vary dramatically from one region to another. This is more about showing the calculations and the decision making process.
If the image gets cut off, click on it. ;)

The first three columns came from directly from Google Analytics. Conversions was a calculation. Then I had to lookup what the owner paid for each directory, and use that to calculate the cost per conversion.
Disclaimer: The calculation sort of falls apart for the two directories that have a lifetime fee because it extends beyond 2008. Also the rate for bedandbreakfast.com may not be right because the owner couldn't remember what level they were listed.
I've attached this spreadsheet just in case anyone wants to use their own numbers. I colored the fields you should change, and locked the others. If you want to unlock them the password is "innkeeper".
 

EmptyNest

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Speaking of GA What am I missing? I want to pull stats for a 6 month time frame..but I don't see where I do that??? Help???
 

swirt

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Speaking of GA What am I missing? I want to pull stats for a 6 month time frame..but I don't see where I do that??? Help???.
Click the calendar that shows the current time frame, then select a new time frame.
 

swirt

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Incidentally, I should point out that this particular owner (who is not active on this forum) had already dropped her bedandbreakfast.com listing in December because she didn't like that they raised their rates and didn't think many of her guests found her there. Very clearly in this particular instance, that was a bad decision. When it comes to directory referrals, data driven decisions are better than gut feelings.
 

swirt

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edited the graphic to update that I found out the owner was listed at the Platinum level so that altered the cost per conversion quite a bit.
 

JBanczak

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Wow - interesting data. Is there any reason they felt compelled to buy the least expensive listing on BBonline, and the most expensive listing on BedandBreakfast.com?
 

JBanczak

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This data really indicates some of the points I've been trying to get across. For instance, if we applied even a 10% conversion rate to these figures (which is probably low since they already take into account an action but is good enough to illustrate), then there would have been roughly 143 reservations from all of these sites combined. At $300 average rez (which is roughly the PAII figure reported across the industry), then all of this in total represents $42,900 in revenue in the innkeepers pocket. Clearly these numbers are not going to be exact, but if applied across all the sites/traffic, they work for comparison sake.
Isolating this for just BedandBreakfast.com and BBonline, then the BedandBreakfast.com reservations were worth $19,500 (650 actions, 10% converting into rez, $300/rez), and BBonline worth $8700 (291 actions, 10% converting to rez, $300/rez). Taking out the costs, BedandBreakfast.com put a net $19.5K - $750, or $18,750, and BBonline put in a total of $8700 - $169, or $8531.
So last year the innkeeper had $42,900 in total revenue from all sites, and now by dropping BedandBreakfast.com because it is "too expensive", assuming nothing else changes, they will only have total revenue of $42,900 - $18,750 (the net revenue generated from bb.com) or $24,150. Had they kept BedandBreakfast.com, and dropped the cheaper per click site BBonline, they would have ended up with $42,900 - $8531 (net rev lost from dropping bbonline), or $34,369.
So their wallet would have been a lot fatter by keeping the "expensive" directory.... (It would have been fattest by keeping them both I might add - which is what we always tell innkeepers. If I had an inn - you can bet I'd be listing it on more sites than just BedandBreakfast.com).
I used to work at an airline back in the early 90's during the last recession. We would cut costs like crazy... and I'll never forget some of the advice I got from a Sr. VP there. There was a lot of it, but two things really stand out. When we were cutting our routes back - he commented "great - our planes are all sitting down now - we are going to save ourselves right into bankruptcy..." because even though we were saving money on a lot of items - we weren't making money on them. And this thought really strikes home when you look at an analysis like this.
 

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edited the graphic to update that I found out the owner was listed at the Platinum level so that altered the cost per conversion quite a bit.
.
swirt said:
edited the graphic to update that I found out the owner was listed at the Platinum level so that altered the cost per conversion quite a bit.
I'm not seeing any difference. The graphic still shows the yearly cost for bandb at $300 which is not the platinum level price. And thanks for doing this. I guess I have to set up the goals on GA so I can have this sort of chart for myself!
 

cmonahan

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Would you mind telling me what B&B you used for your report? The numbers you have for us (iLoveInns.com) are much lower than our average. We do respect your statement regarding different regions, but we have discovered two issues with Google Analytics that very well may affect your results. First, when running a full year report, days that have 1 or 2 inbound clicks are usually dropped off. Running a report for each month, then adding these numbers together will often times yield dramatically different results. Secondly, due to the way we display websites in a frame, it has caused tracking not to work in the past. It is either from running both Google Analytics tracking codes (ga.js and urchin.js) or duplicating them, but none the less we have fixed this issue about 6 months ago. There is a white paper somewhere on Google's site that talks about this, but I can't find it at the moment...
Thanks a lot!
Chris
 

swirt

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edited the graphic to update that I found out the owner was listed at the Platinum level so that altered the cost per conversion quite a bit.
.
swirt said:
edited the graphic to update that I found out the owner was listed at the Platinum level so that altered the cost per conversion quite a bit.
I'm not seeing any difference. The graphic still shows the yearly cost for bandb at $300 which is not the platinum level price. And thanks for doing this. I guess I have to set up the goals on GA so I can have this sort of chart for myself!
.
The old image is cached in your browser, hit refrest ;)
 

swirt

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Wow - interesting data. Is there any reason they felt compelled to buy the least expensive listing on BBonline, and the most expensive listing on BedandBreakfast.com?.
Long history or uninformed decision making is the best I can offer ;)
 

swirt

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Would you mind telling me what B&B you used for your report? The numbers you have for us (iLoveInns.com) are much lower than our average. We do respect your statement regarding different regions, but we have discovered two issues with Google Analytics that very well may affect your results. First, when running a full year report, days that have 1 or 2 inbound clicks are usually dropped off. Running a report for each month, then adding these numbers together will often times yield dramatically different results. Secondly, due to the way we display websites in a frame, it has caused tracking not to work in the past. It is either from running both Google Analytics tracking codes (ga.js and urchin.js) or duplicating them, but none the less we have fixed this issue about 6 months ago. There is a white paper somewhere on Google's site that talks about this, but I can't find it at the moment...
Thanks a lot!
Chris.
Hi Chris,
I won't reveal the B&B. Designer/client priviledge or something like that. ;)
I just looked month by month. Here are the results, They match identically with what Google shows for the year. I also don't see a significant jump attributed to fixing the technology 6 months back.
[tr][td]-[/td][td]Visits[/td][td]Conversions[/td][/tr][tr][td]Jan[/td][td]2[/td][td]1[/td][/tr][tr][td]Feb[/td][td]0[/td][td]0[/td][/tr][tr][td]Mar[/td][td]0[/td][td]0[/td][/tr][tr][td]Apr[/td][td]10[/td][td]5[/td][/tr][tr][td]May[/td][td]13[/td][td]2[/td][/tr][tr][td]Jun[/td][td]8[/td][td]1[/td][/tr][tr][td]Jul[/td][td]3[/td][td]1[/td][/tr][tr][td]Aug[/td][td]11[/td][td]2[/td][/tr][tr][td]Sep[/td][td]4[/td][td]1[/td][/tr][tr][td]Oct[/td][td]12[/td][td]2[/td][/tr][tr][td]Nov[/td][td]14[/td][td]2[/td][/tr][tr][td]Dec[/td][td]10[/td][td]1[/td][/tr][tr][td]Total[/td][td]87[/td][td]18[/td][/tr][/table] Sorry, you don't have first page listings for the common searches for this particular city. Like I said this is a region specific thing. I can't emphasize enough what we always say on here, innkeepers have to do their own homework in their own region.
 

Morticia

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edited the graphic to update that I found out the owner was listed at the Platinum level so that altered the cost per conversion quite a bit.
.
swirt said:
edited the graphic to update that I found out the owner was listed at the Platinum level so that altered the cost per conversion quite a bit.
I'm not seeing any difference. The graphic still shows the yearly cost for bandb at $300 which is not the platinum level price. And thanks for doing this. I guess I have to set up the goals on GA so I can have this sort of chart for myself!
.
The old image is cached in your browser, hit refrest ;)
.
swirt said:
The old image is cached in your browser, hit refrest ;)
Out out damn cache! Ta.
 

swirt

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This data really indicates some of the points I've been trying to get across. For instance, if we applied even a 10% conversion rate to these figures (which is probably low since they already take into account an action but is good enough to illustrate), then there would have been roughly 143 reservations from all of these sites combined. At $300 average rez (which is roughly the PAII figure reported across the industry), then all of this in total represents $42,900 in revenue in the innkeepers pocket. Clearly these numbers are not going to be exact, but if applied across all the sites/traffic, they work for comparison sake.
Isolating this for just BedandBreakfast.com and BBonline, then the BedandBreakfast.com reservations were worth $19,500 (650 actions, 10% converting into rez, $300/rez), and BBonline worth $8700 (291 actions, 10% converting to rez, $300/rez). Taking out the costs, BedandBreakfast.com put a net $19.5K - $750, or $18,750, and BBonline put in a total of $8700 - $169, or $8531.
So last year the innkeeper had $42,900 in total revenue from all sites, and now by dropping BedandBreakfast.com because it is "too expensive", assuming nothing else changes, they will only have total revenue of $42,900 - $18,750 (the net revenue generated from bb.com) or $24,150. Had they kept BedandBreakfast.com, and dropped the cheaper per click site BBonline, they would have ended up with $42,900 - $8531 (net rev lost from dropping bbonline), or $34,369.
So their wallet would have been a lot fatter by keeping the "expensive" directory.... (It would have been fattest by keeping them both I might add - which is what we always tell innkeepers. If I had an inn - you can bet I'd be listing it on more sites than just BedandBreakfast.com).
I used to work at an airline back in the early 90's during the last recession. We would cut costs like crazy... and I'll never forget some of the advice I got from a Sr. VP there. There was a lot of it, but two things really stand out. When we were cutting our routes back - he commented "great - our planes are all sitting down now - we are going to save ourselves right into bankruptcy..." because even though we were saving money on a lot of items - we weren't making money on them. And this thought really strikes home when you look at an analysis like this..
Your arguments are logical and make sense to me. The only problem is that the directory that cost $80 per year and resulted in 12 "actions"/goals and if as you approximate, 10% lead to 1 actual conversion could make a similar plea .... "Don't drop us, we brought you $300 for only an $80 investment." At some point you have to draw the line. So the question this innkeeper can now grapple with is do they want to draw the line at $20 per conversion or $3 per conversion or $0.51 per conversion.
It doesn't change anything about your argument but for clarification sake, the average advertised room rate is ~$120 per night for this particular B&B.
 

JBanczak

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This data really indicates some of the points I've been trying to get across. For instance, if we applied even a 10% conversion rate to these figures (which is probably low since they already take into account an action but is good enough to illustrate), then there would have been roughly 143 reservations from all of these sites combined. At $300 average rez (which is roughly the PAII figure reported across the industry), then all of this in total represents $42,900 in revenue in the innkeepers pocket. Clearly these numbers are not going to be exact, but if applied across all the sites/traffic, they work for comparison sake.
Isolating this for just BedandBreakfast.com and BBonline, then the BedandBreakfast.com reservations were worth $19,500 (650 actions, 10% converting into rez, $300/rez), and BBonline worth $8700 (291 actions, 10% converting to rez, $300/rez). Taking out the costs, BedandBreakfast.com put a net $19.5K - $750, or $18,750, and BBonline put in a total of $8700 - $169, or $8531.
So last year the innkeeper had $42,900 in total revenue from all sites, and now by dropping BedandBreakfast.com because it is "too expensive", assuming nothing else changes, they will only have total revenue of $42,900 - $18,750 (the net revenue generated from bb.com) or $24,150. Had they kept BedandBreakfast.com, and dropped the cheaper per click site BBonline, they would have ended up with $42,900 - $8531 (net rev lost from dropping bbonline), or $34,369.
So their wallet would have been a lot fatter by keeping the "expensive" directory.... (It would have been fattest by keeping them both I might add - which is what we always tell innkeepers. If I had an inn - you can bet I'd be listing it on more sites than just BedandBreakfast.com).
I used to work at an airline back in the early 90's during the last recession. We would cut costs like crazy... and I'll never forget some of the advice I got from a Sr. VP there. There was a lot of it, but two things really stand out. When we were cutting our routes back - he commented "great - our planes are all sitting down now - we are going to save ourselves right into bankruptcy..." because even though we were saving money on a lot of items - we weren't making money on them. And this thought really strikes home when you look at an analysis like this..
Your arguments are logical and make sense to me. The only problem is that the directory that cost $80 per year and resulted in 12 "actions"/goals and if as you approximate, 10% lead to 1 actual conversion could make a similar plea .... "Don't drop us, we brought you $300 for only an $80 investment." At some point you have to draw the line. So the question this innkeeper can now grapple with is do they want to draw the line at $20 per conversion or $3 per conversion or $0.51 per conversion.
It doesn't change anything about your argument but for clarification sake, the average advertised room rate is ~$120 per night for this particular B&B.
.
swirt said:
Your arguments are logical and make sense to me. The only problem is that the directory that cost $80 per year and resulted in 12 "actions"/goals and if as you approximate, 10% lead to 1 actual conversion could make a similar plea .... "Don't drop us, we brought you $300 for only an $80 investment." At some point you have to draw the line. So the question this innkeeper can now grapple with is do they want to draw the line at $20 per conversion or $3 per conversion or $0.51 per conversion.
It doesn't change anything about your argument but for clarification sake, the average advertised room rate is ~$120 per night for this particular B&B.
Good point on the lower numbers - if I understand you correctly, you are saying there is some point low enough where the return may not be material, and there is a cost in time to deal with everyone = may not be worth it. Very important as you can run yourself in circles trying to find good advertising. I also think that conversion does drop off a bit with the quality of sites. Although it wouldn't surprise me if the 10% ratio was low for the main sites. It is pretty easy to wire this up to measure the true actual reservations and revenue from any site if the booking engine supports it (both Webervations has, and so has Rezo, as do sme others).
The $300 I was looking at was from a PAII study - it was something like $150/night, 2 nights per booking. I'm probably not getting it exact, but close. So I believe using your numbers that number would be $240 - as the typical action (email, res request, etc.) would generate an average 2 night stay.
Taking the logic a step further... this is often where the decision comes in whether to go with Silver, Gold, Platinum. No doubt the cost per click for this property would be lower for Gold or Silver - and it is telling that they are getting that much business from the lowest BBonline listing level...
So lets say they dropped to Silver at roughly half the cost of Platinum. There clicks will drop without question, but generally not by the same % of pricing. Which some might think that means silver is a better value. Indeed if you looked at CPC or CPA then a property would claim a victory - they dropped their effective CPC by 20%!!!! But if they looked in their wallet, they would find that they saved $375 or so on membership (approximating due to diff in yearly/monthly)... but LOST roughly $6000 in revenue... (at my $300 average rez cost for consistency). So they just "saved" themselves into losing a net $5600+ in annual revenue.
My point being that evaluating marketing spend needs to be both on the return on investment and on the marginal gain of investing that extra dollar. In the above example, an inn increased their ROI but at the expense of losing revenue and ultimately being much worse off at the end of the year.
This is the type of evaluation that I feel often gets ignored as the focus is on cost-cost-cost....
 

muirford

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This data really indicates some of the points I've been trying to get across. For instance, if we applied even a 10% conversion rate to these figures (which is probably low since they already take into account an action but is good enough to illustrate), then there would have been roughly 143 reservations from all of these sites combined. At $300 average rez (which is roughly the PAII figure reported across the industry), then all of this in total represents $42,900 in revenue in the innkeepers pocket. Clearly these numbers are not going to be exact, but if applied across all the sites/traffic, they work for comparison sake.
Isolating this for just BedandBreakfast.com and BBonline, then the BedandBreakfast.com reservations were worth $19,500 (650 actions, 10% converting into rez, $300/rez), and BBonline worth $8700 (291 actions, 10% converting to rez, $300/rez). Taking out the costs, BedandBreakfast.com put a net $19.5K - $750, or $18,750, and BBonline put in a total of $8700 - $169, or $8531.
So last year the innkeeper had $42,900 in total revenue from all sites, and now by dropping BedandBreakfast.com because it is "too expensive", assuming nothing else changes, they will only have total revenue of $42,900 - $18,750 (the net revenue generated from bb.com) or $24,150. Had they kept BedandBreakfast.com, and dropped the cheaper per click site BBonline, they would have ended up with $42,900 - $8531 (net rev lost from dropping bbonline), or $34,369.
So their wallet would have been a lot fatter by keeping the "expensive" directory.... (It would have been fattest by keeping them both I might add - which is what we always tell innkeepers. If I had an inn - you can bet I'd be listing it on more sites than just BedandBreakfast.com).
I used to work at an airline back in the early 90's during the last recession. We would cut costs like crazy... and I'll never forget some of the advice I got from a Sr. VP there. There was a lot of it, but two things really stand out. When we were cutting our routes back - he commented "great - our planes are all sitting down now - we are going to save ourselves right into bankruptcy..." because even though we were saving money on a lot of items - we weren't making money on them. And this thought really strikes home when you look at an analysis like this..
Your arguments are logical and make sense to me. The only problem is that the directory that cost $80 per year and resulted in 12 "actions"/goals and if as you approximate, 10% lead to 1 actual conversion could make a similar plea .... "Don't drop us, we brought you $300 for only an $80 investment." At some point you have to draw the line. So the question this innkeeper can now grapple with is do they want to draw the line at $20 per conversion or $3 per conversion or $0.51 per conversion.
It doesn't change anything about your argument but for clarification sake, the average advertised room rate is ~$120 per night for this particular B&B.
.
I don't want to take this discussion in a different direction but there is another element to conversion that I feel is missing here. Do we think that most people find a b&b by typing in mytown, mystate b&b or do we feel that they are found by going to a directory and then browsing the directory for possible towns? If it's the first, then dropping one specific directory may not result in the loss of all of those conversions.
The results for mytown, mystate b&b - once you get past the local results where I am listed first - are bbonline, my own website, bnbfinder, lanier, tripadvisor, bandb.com. I don't plan to renew my lanier listing which is due now - not enough clickthrus to make it worthwhile. I suspect that as long as you show up in some directories which come to the top of the organic search list, someone who looks at directories will still find you - just not through the one you dropped. It would be interesting to know if the conversions through bbonline went up after bandb.com was dropped for your client.
You will, of course, lose the conversions of people who start at the directories - like people looking to use bandb.com gift cards or a bnbfinder gift cert or the ILoveInns gift cert.
 

springlady

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This data really indicates some of the points I've been trying to get across. For instance, if we applied even a 10% conversion rate to these figures (which is probably low since they already take into account an action but is good enough to illustrate), then there would have been roughly 143 reservations from all of these sites combined. At $300 average rez (which is roughly the PAII figure reported across the industry), then all of this in total represents $42,900 in revenue in the innkeepers pocket. Clearly these numbers are not going to be exact, but if applied across all the sites/traffic, they work for comparison sake.
Isolating this for just BedandBreakfast.com and BBonline, then the BedandBreakfast.com reservations were worth $19,500 (650 actions, 10% converting into rez, $300/rez), and BBonline worth $8700 (291 actions, 10% converting to rez, $300/rez). Taking out the costs, BedandBreakfast.com put a net $19.5K - $750, or $18,750, and BBonline put in a total of $8700 - $169, or $8531.
So last year the innkeeper had $42,900 in total revenue from all sites, and now by dropping BedandBreakfast.com because it is "too expensive", assuming nothing else changes, they will only have total revenue of $42,900 - $18,750 (the net revenue generated from bb.com) or $24,150. Had they kept BedandBreakfast.com, and dropped the cheaper per click site BBonline, they would have ended up with $42,900 - $8531 (net rev lost from dropping bbonline), or $34,369.
So their wallet would have been a lot fatter by keeping the "expensive" directory.... (It would have been fattest by keeping them both I might add - which is what we always tell innkeepers. If I had an inn - you can bet I'd be listing it on more sites than just BedandBreakfast.com).
I used to work at an airline back in the early 90's during the last recession. We would cut costs like crazy... and I'll never forget some of the advice I got from a Sr. VP there. There was a lot of it, but two things really stand out. When we were cutting our routes back - he commented "great - our planes are all sitting down now - we are going to save ourselves right into bankruptcy..." because even though we were saving money on a lot of items - we weren't making money on them. And this thought really strikes home when you look at an analysis like this..
Your arguments are logical and make sense to me. The only problem is that the directory that cost $80 per year and resulted in 12 "actions"/goals and if as you approximate, 10% lead to 1 actual conversion could make a similar plea .... "Don't drop us, we brought you $300 for only an $80 investment." At some point you have to draw the line. So the question this innkeeper can now grapple with is do they want to draw the line at $20 per conversion or $3 per conversion or $0.51 per conversion.
It doesn't change anything about your argument but for clarification sake, the average advertised room rate is ~$120 per night for this particular B&B.
.
I don't want to take this discussion in a different direction but there is another element to conversion that I feel is missing here. Do we think that most people find a b&b by typing in mytown, mystate b&b or do we feel that they are found by going to a directory and then browsing the directory for possible towns? If it's the first, then dropping one specific directory may not result in the loss of all of those conversions.
The results for mytown, mystate b&b - once you get past the local results where I am listed first - are bbonline, my own website, bnbfinder, lanier, tripadvisor, bandb.com. I don't plan to renew my lanier listing which is due now - not enough clickthrus to make it worthwhile. I suspect that as long as you show up in some directories which come to the top of the organic search list, someone who looks at directories will still find you - just not through the one you dropped. It would be interesting to know if the conversions through bbonline went up after bandb.com was dropped for your client.
You will, of course, lose the conversions of people who start at the directories - like people looking to use bandb.com gift cards or a bnbfinder gift cert or the ILoveInns gift cert.
.
That would be me - I google "B&B town, state" or "B&B destination, state". Most of the time it pulls up a directory and I'll look at the listings but honestly, I don't discriminate between directories.
If it were me I'd google the name of my B&B and my town, area, or local tourist draw and see which directories comes up. That's probably where I'd spend my money.
Not very scientific but Google is my travel agent so what comes up on there is important to me.
 

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