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briarrosebb

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All,
We just got back from our state B&B conference. I went primarily because Acorn-is.com was presenting and was not disappointed.
They analyzed 7000 bookings of their clients and provided this summary of the sources of those conversions:
Direct Hits - 30%
Organic Search Engines - 23% (of that Google 73%, Yahoo 10%, Other 17%)
B&B Directories - 19% (they recommended the usual suspects bedandbreakfast.com, bbonline.com, bnbfinder.com, lanierbb.com. They also referenced bnblist.com but not iloveinns.com.)
General Travel Sites - 12%
Email - 8%
Pay Per Click - 6%
Other - 2%
Total - 100%
As a plug for them, y'all should check out their portfolio of web designs:
http://acorn-is.com/portfolio-new-designs.html
I think they do a pretty credible job for their clients. I like this one:
http://www.chocolateturtlebb.com/
Anyway, read all about it: http://acorn-is.com/pdf/bbic-handout-2008-state-mtg.doc
Check out their maps application linked off this page and the foreign language translation application.
 

JBanczak

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That is great data - we plan on sharing more aggregate data from RezOvation as well. Acorn does a great job, and for any innkeeper I have no doubt they would provide a positive ROI.
I have a couple comments/observations though. We use Google Analytics to track every single thing for our customers - and the direct hits number is way different from what we see. Not saying it is wrong, but it seems like it is quite a bit different. I've rarely seen a number for direct entry this high for just about any website. What have others seen?
The only other observation is just how many properties does this represent? 4,000 bookings would be 50% occupancy for a year for roughly 5 B&B's each with 5 rooms... Seems like a large number of reservations, but a small property sample size. When I posted rezo data on conversions from directories - the conversion for our site and bbonline were always the highest - but they varied quite a bit from property to property - sometimes by a factor of 4X....
Either way - great to see this kind of data being reported.
 

swirt

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Thanks for the info Brendan. All good.
Although I do think they oversimplified the explanation of the direct link traffic. Many email programs either don't hyperlink web addresses (forcing a copy and paste) or they don't show as a referral source so they mimic a direct link. This makes email traffic look low and direct traffic look high. I also think that many items that show as direct traffic are just people who found your site through some google method at work and then jot it down on paper (to avoid sending non-work email from work) to bring it home to show their significant other. So there is a fair amount of traffic that looks like Direct but is really the result of some other referral source that is not paper.
I like the examples they put together of using Google and Babelfish technologies. The Translation example (babelfish is not google's, but google has one too) is a good demonstration of why images for buttons are not all that helpful. The text translates but the navigation does not.
 

swirt

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That is great data - we plan on sharing more aggregate data from RezOvation as well. Acorn does a great job, and for any innkeeper I have no doubt they would provide a positive ROI.
I have a couple comments/observations though. We use Google Analytics to track every single thing for our customers - and the direct hits number is way different from what we see. Not saying it is wrong, but it seems like it is quite a bit different. I've rarely seen a number for direct entry this high for just about any website. What have others seen?
The only other observation is just how many properties does this represent? 4,000 bookings would be 50% occupancy for a year for roughly 5 B&B's each with 5 rooms... Seems like a large number of reservations, but a small property sample size. When I posted rezo data on conversions from directories - the conversion for our site and bbonline were always the highest - but they varied quite a bit from property to property - sometimes by a factor of 4X....
Either way - great to see this kind of data being reported..
LOL Funny that you and I were both questioning the direct traffic at the same time.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Thanks for the info.
What does "email 8%" mean? Not the figure, but the word 'email'? I don't understand that.
Search engines is 23% with google being majority. Interesting. I am seeing this much higher here. Google (ie search engines) being about 50%.
Direct meaning they have the URL and click it from a rack card or advert?
I have a question for everyone, a second one. Do you think those browsing directories are less likely to book than someone clicking directly to a B&B website? In other words, the dreamers or planners our there go from site to site versus someone looking at a specific inn?
In other words - - the direct clicks are more valuable to us versus the in and out from a directory? Just opinions, I don't know if this is something we can verify.
 

briarrosebb

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That is great data - we plan on sharing more aggregate data from RezOvation as well. Acorn does a great job, and for any innkeeper I have no doubt they would provide a positive ROI.
I have a couple comments/observations though. We use Google Analytics to track every single thing for our customers - and the direct hits number is way different from what we see. Not saying it is wrong, but it seems like it is quite a bit different. I've rarely seen a number for direct entry this high for just about any website. What have others seen?
The only other observation is just how many properties does this represent? 4,000 bookings would be 50% occupancy for a year for roughly 5 B&B's each with 5 rooms... Seems like a large number of reservations, but a small property sample size. When I posted rezo data on conversions from directories - the conversion for our site and bbonline were always the highest - but they varied quite a bit from property to property - sometimes by a factor of 4X....
Either way - great to see this kind of data being reported..
john,
i don't have good conversion numbers right now but our trailing 12 month referrals are:
25% direct, 32% organic, 12% B&B directories, 3% Pay per click
it makes sense however that different channels would provide referrals of differing conversion quality.
 

happyjacks

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Thanks for the info.
What does "email 8%" mean? Not the figure, but the word 'email'? I don't understand that.
Search engines is 23% with google being majority. Interesting. I am seeing this much higher here. Google (ie search engines) being about 50%.
Direct meaning they have the URL and click it from a rack card or advert?
I have a question for everyone, a second one. Do you think those browsing directories are less likely to book than someone clicking directly to a B&B website? In other words, the dreamers or planners our there go from site to site versus someone looking at a specific inn?
In other words - - the direct clicks are more valuable to us versus the in and out from a directory? Just opinions, I don't know if this is something we can verify..
I'm just guessing here, but I think 'email' refers to when people click on a link within an email which takes them to your website. In the day or two after I send my email blasts, I see a spike in visitors, plus I see that some of them come from a yahoo or google mail account. I can't tell when they come from a mail program, though. I think those just show up as direct.
So I definitely can attribute some of my visits to a link supplied in an email.
 

JBanczak

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That is great data - we plan on sharing more aggregate data from RezOvation as well. Acorn does a great job, and for any innkeeper I have no doubt they would provide a positive ROI.
I have a couple comments/observations though. We use Google Analytics to track every single thing for our customers - and the direct hits number is way different from what we see. Not saying it is wrong, but it seems like it is quite a bit different. I've rarely seen a number for direct entry this high for just about any website. What have others seen?
The only other observation is just how many properties does this represent? 4,000 bookings would be 50% occupancy for a year for roughly 5 B&B's each with 5 rooms... Seems like a large number of reservations, but a small property sample size. When I posted rezo data on conversions from directories - the conversion for our site and bbonline were always the highest - but they varied quite a bit from property to property - sometimes by a factor of 4X....
Either way - great to see this kind of data being reported..
john,
i don't have good conversion numbers right now but our trailing 12 month referrals are:
25% direct, 32% organic, 12% B&B directories, 3% Pay per click
it makes sense however that different channels would provide referrals of differing conversion quality.
.
That's right - we just got your google analytics all setup and working about a month ago. By the end of the year it should start giving you some patterns, certainly by next spring.
 

EmptyNest

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And did the share how much it costs to have them to a web site??? A friend just had theirs done by them for $10K!! I hope that isn't the going rate.
I have always LOVED their work. But now it seems to be coming out a bit cookie cutter even though looks are different...same basic template.
Heres one they just did for another friend. Not showing on their portfolio yet. A Beautiful site...I think:)
And I still want someone to tell me why they still use these metatags, I thought these kind of things were no longer needed.
Code:
<meta name="BED" content="Bed and Breakfast, B&B, Bed and Breakfast Inn, Accommodations, Romance, Getaway, Lodging">
<meta name="Classification" content="commercial/business, travel, family vacation, accommodations, hotel/lodging">
<META NAME="page-topic" CONTENT="Columbia lodging, Columbia New Jersey lodging, Columbia New Jersey accommodations, bed and breakfast, inn, bed breakfast">
<META NAME="page-type" CONTENT="columbia lodging, columbia new jersey lodging, b&bs, inn, bed and breakfast, new jersey accommodations">
<META NAME="audience" CONTENT="all">
<META NAME="author" CONTENT=" ">
Code:
<META NAME="publisher" CONTENT="www.acorn-is.com">
<META NAME="revisit-after" CONTENT="15 days">
<META NAME="Content-Language" CONTENT="en-us,english">
<META NAME="distribution" CONTENT="global">
<META NAME="copyright" CONTENT=".com">
<meta NAME="city" CONTENT="xxxx">
<meta NAME="state" CONTENT="xx">
<meta NAME="email" CONTENT="xx">
<meta NAME="contact" CONTENT="Innkeeper">
 

swirt

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Thanks for the info.
What does "email 8%" mean? Not the figure, but the word 'email'? I don't understand that.
Search engines is 23% with google being majority. Interesting. I am seeing this much higher here. Google (ie search engines) being about 50%.
Direct meaning they have the URL and click it from a rack card or advert?
I have a question for everyone, a second one. Do you think those browsing directories are less likely to book than someone clicking directly to a B&B website? In other words, the dreamers or planners our there go from site to site versus someone looking at a specific inn?
In other words - - the direct clicks are more valuable to us versus the in and out from a directory? Just opinions, I don't know if this is something we can verify..
I'm just guessing here, but I think 'email' refers to when people click on a link within an email which takes them to your website. In the day or two after I send my email blasts, I see a spike in visitors, plus I see that some of them come from a yahoo or google mail account. I can't tell when they come from a mail program, though. I think those just show up as direct.
So I definitely can attribute some of my visits to a link supplied in an email.
.
Yep, you are absolutely right. email means someone clicked on a link from within an email. And as you said, many email programs don't register that way, so they show up as direct.
 

swirt

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Thanks for the info.
What does "email 8%" mean? Not the figure, but the word 'email'? I don't understand that.
Search engines is 23% with google being majority. Interesting. I am seeing this much higher here. Google (ie search engines) being about 50%.
Direct meaning they have the URL and click it from a rack card or advert?
I have a question for everyone, a second one. Do you think those browsing directories are less likely to book than someone clicking directly to a B&B website? In other words, the dreamers or planners our there go from site to site versus someone looking at a specific inn?
In other words - - the direct clicks are more valuable to us versus the in and out from a directory? Just opinions, I don't know if this is something we can verify..
Search engines is 23% with google being majority. Interesting. I am seeing this much higher here. Google (ie search engines) being about 50%.
This is a sign of either/both of two things.
  1. Your site is healthier than their average used in their sample
  2. Their sample lists in a lot more directories or advertising. If you participate in PPC it makes your organic referral percentage seem smaller.
Direct meaning they have the URL and click it from a rack card or advert?
Direct means it was typed in by hand or copy and pasted or clicked in some email programs that don't show up as a referrer. My point farther up is in pointing out that care has to be taken when considering the source of the typed in link. It is not safe to assume it is all from print advertising. I haven't done any print advertising in a few years but I still have 8% of my traffic show up as direct.
Do you think those browsing directories are less likely to book than someone clicking directly to a B&B website?
I think it can vary a lot depending on what advertising approach you are using. However, you tracker (if using analytics) can help you answer that question for your place. Example (your results may differ): 8% of my traffic is direct...but 60% of that bounces =4.8 % leaves without seeing a second page. Comparing that to a local directory where only 35% bounces, compared to a national directory (bbonline in this case) only 12% bounces.
Setting up your analytics with goals (highly recommended), could allow you to look even closer at which (directory or direct type-in) gives you better conversion.
 

swirt

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And did the share how much it costs to have them to a web site??? A friend just had theirs done by them for $10K!! I hope that isn't the going rate.
I have always LOVED their work. But now it seems to be coming out a bit cookie cutter even though looks are different...same basic template.
Heres one they just did for another friend. Not showing on their portfolio yet. A Beautiful site...I think:)
And I still want someone to tell me why they still use these metatags, I thought these kind of things were no longer needed.
Code:
<meta name="BED" content="Bed and Breakfast, B&B, Bed and Breakfast Inn, Accommodations, Romance, Getaway, Lodging">
<meta name="Classification" content="commercial/business, travel, family vacation, accommodations, hotel/lodging">
<META NAME="page-topic" CONTENT="Columbia lodging, Columbia New Jersey lodging, Columbia New Jersey accommodations, bed and breakfast, inn, bed breakfast">
<META NAME="page-type" CONTENT="columbia lodging, columbia new jersey lodging, b&bs, inn, bed and breakfast, new jersey accommodations">
<META NAME="audience" CONTENT="all">
<META NAME="author" CONTENT=" ">
Code:
<META NAME="publisher" CONTENT="www.acorn-is.com">
<META NAME="revisit-after" CONTENT="15 days">
<META NAME="Content-Language" CONTENT="en-us,english">
<META NAME="distribution" CONTENT="global">
<META NAME="copyright" CONTENT=".com">
<meta NAME="city" CONTENT="xxxx">
<meta NAME="state" CONTENT="xx">
<meta NAME="email" CONTENT="xx">
<meta NAME="contact" CONTENT="Innkeeper">
.
Superstition?

 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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GIANT pics and wording. Very nice..
This one I like alot as well. You see folks...GOOD PHOTOS make all the difference in the WORLD:)
.
catlady said:
You see folks...GOOD PHOTOS make all the difference in the WORLD:)
That is one of the nicest sites I have seen. You are not wrong in that! PHOTOS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS!! Nice color scheme as well. Nice fonts.
The only thing I find lacking is HUMAN LIFE, as in innkeepers. I wish there was something small about them or a welcome photo. Even a pic of the three dogs. Maybe they are there, I didn't come across it.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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GIANT pics and wording. Very nice..
This one I like alot as well. You see folks...GOOD PHOTOS make all the difference in the WORLD:)
.
catlady said:
You see folks...GOOD PHOTOS make all the difference in the WORLD:)
I have noticed that a lot of B&B web desginers are building pages that are outside the resolution of the aerveage viewer.
ie users have to scroll horizontally to view the page. Web designers are a bit too tech savvy and not thinking as much of who the target audience is when these pages are so enormous. Many of our guests are up to speed with technology, but heck most of them aren't!
Here is something I find of use (industry standard resolution)...
With so many different resolutions (640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, etc.), browsers (Internet Explorer, Netscape, etc.), and platforms (Windows, Mac, etc.) in use, it is very difficult to design a page that looks good (or at least looks the same) in all configurations.
To design a page that looks good with most configurations, let’s start by defining our main objective: we must never force a user to scroll horizontally. In other words, our page must always fit within the available screen width. This would suggest that we have to design our page for the lowest common denominator: 640x480. However, less than 1% of Internet users utilize this archaic resolution (which was common when 14” screens were the best you could get).
Therefore, we can rationally make the decision to ignore the 640x480 resolution (since forcing 99% or users to read a low resolution page to accommodate 1% of our user base doesn’t sound too efficient), and design our page for resolutions of 800x600 and higher. Since 800x600 remains the most popular resolution today (July, 2004), we must optimize our page design for this resolution, meaning that our page should look best at 800x600. Bear in mind that I’m not saying that we must necessarily design an 800 pixel wide page, only that it must look best in screens with 800x600 resolutions (read on and you’ll see what I mean…).
taken from here.
 

JBanczak

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Some useful data... In the past year on BB.com, according to Google Analytics - less than 5% of all users had screen resolutions less than 1024 wide...
Also - I went and looked at a lot of aggregate data from RezOvation hosted sites. We only use Google Analytics, and I find it highly reliable. We are not seeing nearly 30% direct on average. I haven't put it all together because I am pretty swamped right now, but I'd say it is closer to half of this.
Now maybe that has something to do with the propensity for our hosted properties to also use Rezo, Expedia, BB.com, etc. - and thus they are getting more traffic that way... and they tend to do pretty well in Google, so they are getting a lot of traffic that way... so I suspect the referrals are just larger in volume as opposed to direct being lower in volume, but the result is lower direct traffic as a percentage.
 

YellowSocks

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I absolutely abhor horizontal scrolling. It annoys me every time.
=)
Kk.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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I just found this data as well.
Okay so now I know and now I have another pro-ject for the winter months. This is why I love this forum, I learn important things here.
 

swirt

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GIANT pics and wording. Very nice..
This one I like alot as well. You see folks...GOOD PHOTOS make all the difference in the WORLD:)
.
catlady said:
You see folks...GOOD PHOTOS make all the difference in the WORLD:)
I have noticed that a lot of B&B web desginers are building pages that are outside the resolution of the aerveage viewer.
ie users have to scroll horizontally to view the page. Web designers are a bit too tech savvy and not thinking as much of who the target audience is when these pages are so enormous. Many of our guests are up to speed with technology, but heck most of them aren't!
Here is something I find of use (industry standard resolution)...
With so many different resolutions (640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, etc.), browsers (Internet Explorer, Netscape, etc.), and platforms (Windows, Mac, etc.) in use, it is very difficult to design a page that looks good (or at least looks the same) in all configurations.
To design a page that looks good with most configurations, let’s start by defining our main objective: we must never force a user to scroll horizontally. In other words, our page must always fit within the available screen width. This would suggest that we have to design our page for the lowest common denominator: 640x480. However, less than 1% of Internet users utilize this archaic resolution (which was common when 14” screens were the best you could get).
Therefore, we can rationally make the decision to ignore the 640x480 resolution (since forcing 99% or users to read a low resolution page to accommodate 1% of our user base doesn’t sound too efficient), and design our page for resolutions of 800x600 and higher. Since 800x600 remains the most popular resolution today (July, 2004), we must optimize our page design for this resolution, meaning that our page should look best at 800x600. Bear in mind that I’m not saying that we must necessarily design an 800 pixel wide page, only that it must look best in screens with 800x600 resolutions (read on and you’ll see what I mean…).
taken from here.
.
2004 was pre iphone/blackberry web enabled phone. And yes I think the number of current inngoers using these to browse is pretty small, but the current "kids" using these things grow up.
No matter what width you force, it will nearly always be outdated in the future. Future proofing a site is really only possible with a fluid or dynamicly fluid design. Of course making a fluid design that works for the widest possible range of resolutions is not always easy either.
 
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