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Tracking directory referrals

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jyager02

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Do most people here track what kind of referrals you get from all the directories out there. Considering we are a fairly large inn, we sign up for alot of those directories and even pay for some. So I think we should start cutting out the ones that are charging us but we are not getting any business from. How should I go about accomplishing this with the probably 100 of them we are listed or pay for.
 

wendydk

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I use opentracker. It's not cheap, but gives a free one month trial. There are a number of free trackers that function well enough if you don't need in-depth reporting.
All they require is you inserting a snippet of html code that they provide into each of your web pages. I'm sure Swirt knows the best free ones...I know google analytics has come up more than once.
Anyone who is NOT tracking their web traffic is missing the boat.
 

EmptyNest

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Yes, I think most of us here have been obsessed with tracking our directories. Lots of postings about that in here.
Google Analytics is FREE and it will track just about anything you want.
You actually should have in place some form of stats program from your current hosting company. Haven't you looked at those? Depending on what they use, they may not be real in depth stats, but they certainly will give you the basic referrer information. Contact your hosting company and they can point you to where you can find your stats. Usually in some sort of "control panel" where you log in with your username and password.
Look at it and see which are sending you the most referrers. Of course, that doesn't always mean that you are gettting bookings from them either. Just that people are coming to your site from theirs.
 

jyager02

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I mean I definitely use a stat program, and monitor my traffic, but I mean do you have specific stats on referrers. Ie. you have 30 different directories you list in. Do you give them a link to identify them as the referrer, or do you put a code into your website and kinda just go through your top 10 referrers. I also would be interested to see how many actually reserve rather than just click through. Do you think I can accomplish this fairly easily with google analytics?
 

EmptyNest

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I mean I definitely use a stat program, and monitor my traffic, but I mean do you have specific stats on referrers. Ie. you have 30 different directories you list in. Do you give them a link to identify them as the referrer, or do you put a code into your website and kinda just go through your top 10 referrers. I also would be interested to see how many actually reserve rather than just click through. Do you think I can accomplish this fairly easily with google analytics?.
100 directories!!!! I just re read your post! Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? I would bet 80% of your reservations come from the top 20% of directories. The rest out there are probably not doing you any good at all.
If you have a stats program. Check to see what your top referrers are. That is where the directories will automatically show up.
I know you can set up pretty specific goals in Google Analytics...but that still won't tell you which visits have actually reserve with you via a certain directory. That is something you have to ask your guests. Unless someone here knows something I don't about stats packages. I have never seen one that will tell you that directly.
Now, having said that, I don't know what on line guest management software program you use. IE; Reservation Nexus, Rezovations etc. But I would suspect that those would have some sort of stats package that would show referrers and then the actual reservation made on line. Maybe John can add to this. I didn't use either of these programs. So that may be what you actually need to see.
Here is a sample of referrers from GA. for the past month from an inn I know.

 

seashanty

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hi. i had page trackers and things from the free site .com .... it is a place to start.
my original webhost was a little local affair and seemed clueless when i asked for statistics.
i am sure swirt will be able to recommend some other tools based on his experience.
 

JBanczak

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To answer the question about tracking actual bookings, yes, RezOvation and Webervations products when used in conjuction with Google Analytics will allow you to see confirmed bookings/revenue/etc. by referral source.
Very helpful when figuring out who is truly sending you revenue.
 

swirt

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I mean I definitely use a stat program, and monitor my traffic, but I mean do you have specific stats on referrers. Ie. you have 30 different directories you list in. Do you give them a link to identify them as the referrer, or do you put a code into your website and kinda just go through your top 10 referrers. I also would be interested to see how many actually reserve rather than just click through. Do you think I can accomplish this fairly easily with google analytics?.
100 directories!!!! I just re read your post! Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? I would bet 80% of your reservations come from the top 20% of directories. The rest out there are probably not doing you any good at all.
If you have a stats program. Check to see what your top referrers are. That is where the directories will automatically show up.
I know you can set up pretty specific goals in Google Analytics...but that still won't tell you which visits have actually reserve with you via a certain directory. That is something you have to ask your guests. Unless someone here knows something I don't about stats packages. I have never seen one that will tell you that directly.
Now, having said that, I don't know what on line guest management software program you use. IE; Reservation Nexus, Rezovations etc. But I would suspect that those would have some sort of stats package that would show referrers and then the actual reservation made on line. Maybe John can add to this. I didn't use either of these programs. So that may be what you actually need to see.
Here is a sample of referrers from GA. for the past month from an inn I know.

.
I know you can set up pretty specific goals in Google Analytics...but that still won't tell you which visits have actually reserve with you via a certain directory.
Just to clarify. A goal in analytics can't usually tell you if they booked (unless it is also tied in with the reservation system) but it can tell you what directory they came from AND that they were interested enough to look at your availability or email you with an inquiry. True they might not have booked (the place might be full, or out of their price range or whatever) but the traffic was at least "qualified" enough to be interested in booking and in many ways that is more important than if they actually booked. Example...it is not a directory's fault if they send you 50 interested visitors for a weekend that you happen to be booked solid for. If you only look at parties that actually booked, you get a much smaller sample (limited to the number of rooms you have available throughout the year) It may be hard to accurately compare directories from that limited a sample...but the sample is (you hope) much larger if you look at who was at least interested enough to do an availability check.
 

swirt

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I mean I definitely use a stat program, and monitor my traffic, but I mean do you have specific stats on referrers. Ie. you have 30 different directories you list in. Do you give them a link to identify them as the referrer, or do you put a code into your website and kinda just go through your top 10 referrers. I also would be interested to see how many actually reserve rather than just click through. Do you think I can accomplish this fairly easily with google analytics?.
I mean I definitely use a stat program, and monitor my traffic, but I mean do you have specific stats on referrers. Ie. you have 30 different directories you list in. Do you give them a link to identify them as the referrer, or do you put a code into your website and kinda just go through your top 10 referrers.
It sounds like you are using a stats package that is either ineffective (doesn't track referrers) or are using it ineffectively. There is no need to give specifc unique links to each directory..in fact that would be a bad idea for promoting your website...you'd be splitting the value of each link
I also would be interested to see how many actually reserve rather than just click through.
You need to set up a goal to see that happen.
Do you think I can accomplish this fairly easily with google analytics?
You can accomplish that with analytics. Can't say whether it qualifies as fairly easilly, not sure what your skill level is....but generally, yes it is attainable.
 
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