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toddburme

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I have had several commercial webistes that sell products and the one big thing we try to avoid is letting people leave the site. I notice lots of BnB sites have links to review sites etc on their main page. This is so against what I have been taught and experienced. Are we more sure of our conversion ratio? I do not see a lot of chatter about conversion rates? I get 1:300 visitors make a reservation etc... Anyone track that stuff? I suppose high season if you are booked then it really does not matter.
 

JBloggs

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I agree with you.
A few have allowed us to embed reviews etc ON our website to prevent this leak, but some will not do this. The powers that be tell us we need to allow guests TA reviews. I spawn a new window, never replace a window, so it is not AS bad, but still not how I would like it.
Any suggestions to prevent this or solve this problem Todd?
 

EmptyNest

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LIKE JB, I always have it open in another window so folks don't actually close out the inn site. Probably still not good..but yes, we want folks to read good reviews...hopefully.
 

toddburme

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The big boys obviously study this more then us but we typically would not be considered very "sticky". So if they bounce out to the review site. Open an email, feed the dog and come back to book, they might now book at the review site of even start over having forgotten us. The idea is to have a constant call to "buy" in front of the customer as they peruse your site.
"Sticky" is like innspiring. You can see Morticia's post on Cancellation Policies, cook breakfast, answer the phone, check Facebook and still come back and respond. No matter how hard we try our sites are not going to get that kind of loyalty. Repeat customers and known service etc can instill it but not the site itself normally.
I would copy the reviews into a review page with no links or is that frowned upon? Duplicate content issues are also of concern.
Does anyone track conversions? Or do testing? i now get 15% more customers to sign up do to this change?
 

JBloggs

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I am not sure we are allowed to copy those reviews. Yes, sending them away from BOOK NOW!!! is not a good thing.
Good topic, thx.
 

EmptyNest

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The big boys obviously study this more then us but we typically would not be considered very "sticky". So if they bounce out to the review site. Open an email, feed the dog and come back to book, they might now book at the review site of even start over having forgotten us. The idea is to have a constant call to "buy" in front of the customer as they peruse your site.
"Sticky" is like innspiring. You can see Morticia's post on Cancellation Policies, cook breakfast, answer the phone, check Facebook and still come back and respond. No matter how hard we try our sites are not going to get that kind of loyalty. Repeat customers and known service etc can instill it but not the site itself normally.
I would copy the reviews into a review page with no links or is that frowned upon? Duplicate content issues are also of concern.
Does anyone track conversions? Or do testing? i now get 15% more customers to sign up do to this change?.
Most people won't take time to read a "comments" page on your own web site because they know you are only going to put good things there anyway. That is why they use TA.
 

Morticia

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I have quite a lot of outgoing links on my site to all sorts of things to do. It would be interesting to see, but not sure how to do that, if guests pop open one of those windows and then disappear.
I'm not thrilled with the exodus to go to TA. Guests may have found my site first but they are going to TA to find out that I am not the best they can do in this town as far as reviews.
Perhaps what I hope is that they do not realize that TA badge is a link! I should put the code in so I can see who leaves the site to go to TA and see how much 'leaking' there is.
 

wendydk

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I have a TA Badge as well as the bb.com widget on it's own page of my website. I see zero evidence that people are clicking out to read reviews and not coming back...and Opentracker pretty specifically tracks each individual visiting my site...and my OCD compels me to check it often.
Reviews result in reservations, period. Showing them on your site benefits potential guests and YOU. Making sure they open in a new browser window is ESSENTIAL if you don't want visitors leaving your site just because they wanted to read your reviews.
Anyone seeing people exit and not come back may want to make sure it's not due to SBWS or "Same Browser Window Syndrome"....and this includes reviews, area attractions and other outbound links. You might be doing it to yourself and not even know it.
 

Highlands John

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I use Google Analytics and I have a Funnel and Goal set up (the funnel being the pages that a guest must follow to complete a booking and the "goal" is the completed booking page).
My goal conversion rate since 1st Jan 2010 is 0.66%.
Is that good? I've no idea!
That also ignores people who rather than book online will email an enquiry, or phone up with their card details because they don't like entering it over the Internet.
On our guest feedback form the first question is "What were the key factors influencing your decision to book with us", 44% of respondents said our web site.
 

JBloggs

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Links coming in from valuable trustworthy sources online like TA are important. They help validate our site as well.
 

JBloggs

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Yeah our sights of interest page is loaded with outgoing links. That is purposeful 100% and necessary. I want them to link to worthy pages on other websites, I want out guests to use this page for their planning, to stay here LONGER. :)
 

Copperhead

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This topic reminds me of why I disliked having the B&B widget on my webervations booking page. - Even IF it opens a new window, I already have them where I want them. They are about to book for heavens sake, at that point do I need to have them review my reviews? NO! Having that open a new window, may intice them to look for other b&b's on that site and choose them or forget my page is open and close it accidentally.
This is a great topic.
 

toddburme

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I use Google Analytics and I have a Funnel and Goal set up (the funnel being the pages that a guest must follow to complete a booking and the "goal" is the completed booking page).
My goal conversion rate since 1st Jan 2010 is 0.66%.
Is that good? I've no idea!
That also ignores people who rather than book online will email an enquiry, or phone up with their card details because they don't like entering it over the Internet.
On our guest feedback form the first question is "What were the key factors influencing your decision to book with us", 44% of respondents said our web site..
I would not focus on if .66% is good. Obviously if you had just type ins and nothing else. So people who heard of you offline and wanted to check you out, it would be a bad number. But if you website has been around the web for a while and you are in lots of major directories etc, you should have lots of looky-loos. Instead focus on that being where you are today and if you add something or detract how does that number change.
I agree that reviews should add to our conversions as people saying how much they liked your place is huge.
 

toddburme

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This topic reminds me of why I disliked having the B&B widget on my webervations booking page. - Even IF it opens a new window, I already have them where I want them. They are about to book for heavens sake, at that point do I need to have them review my reviews? NO! Having that open a new window, may intice them to look for other b&b's on that site and choose them or forget my page is open and close it accidentally.
This is a great topic..
Totally agree, once they get into the reservsation process at all, I want less links on that page. Even my links are not so great.
 

JBloggs

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I just saw a great article:
The #1 Conversion Killer in Your Copy
(And How to Beat It)
[/h1]What makes people almost buy? What makes them get most of the way there, then drop out of your shopping cart at the last second? What makes them stare at your landing page, wanting what you have to offer, and yet, ultimately, close the page and move on to something else?
Article Here
 

Morticia

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I use Google Analytics and I have a Funnel and Goal set up (the funnel being the pages that a guest must follow to complete a booking and the "goal" is the completed booking page).
My goal conversion rate since 1st Jan 2010 is 0.66%.
Is that good? I've no idea!
That also ignores people who rather than book online will email an enquiry, or phone up with their card details because they don't like entering it over the Internet.
On our guest feedback form the first question is "What were the key factors influencing your decision to book with us", 44% of respondents said our web site..
HJ- What was the process you went thru to come up with the 'answers' the guest can select for why they chose your place?
I'm curious as I don't ask that, but it's an excellent question. And I'm wondering what the guest is thinking as they select a particular answer.
So, example is the 44% of guests answering it was your website. (What made the other 56% book? What other answers could they select?)
But, the 44%...what does the answer mean?
  • You're the only place with a website?
  • Your website actually functions?
  • Your website places higher than anyone else in your area?
  • Your website is a work of art that grabs the viewer by the lapels and shouts, 'If you don't book here, you're an idiot'?
  • Your website gave the viewer info no one else did? (I say this after looking for a place to stay last Nov. 99% of the sites I looked at in my target area did NOT tell me they were CLOSED in Nov until I reached the calendar! The ONE place that said 'Open year round' is the one that got my booking because I was tired of looking. Best place? Probably not, but they put some effort into telling guests what they needed to know.)
  • The guest is thinking, 'Oh bloody hell, what's the first answer in the list so I can get on with this?'
I think knowing what the guest was thinking as they selected the answer is as important as the answer they chose. I had a couple of directories I failed to pay for still listed in my 'Where did you find us?' list. Months after we were removed from those sites, but before I got around to taking them out of the list, guests were still selecting them. OK, it's possible they really DID find us on those sites and waited forever to book, but not likely. More likely they picked something that 'sounded' right.
 

Morticia

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I get that in talking with people who say they are on my website. I ask if they have selected their room or if they need a description of what is available? They say, 'Oh, you have pictures of the rooms? Where?'
I tell them to click the link at the top or the bottom of the page that says 'rooms' and they tell me there is no such link. I'll ask what they do see and they'll tell me. At which point I tell them to click the link that says 'view this inn's website' (or some such) and explain they are not on MY website but on a directory of websites.
They doubt me. Why I do not know. Like the guy who was arguing with his wife as I gave directions to her on the phone for how to get here until the wife said, 'I'm pretty sure she knows where she lives!'
I've had guests argue with me that they ARE looking at my website and they want the $85 room. At which point I ask who the owner is and when they tell me I tell the caller, 'They retired 10 years ago. The new owners have a new website, this is what it is...' No sense even TRYING to explain that is an outdated directory that I still have no idea how people find!
 

Copperhead

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This you will find interesting and gives you some more thought about TA reviews and the dreaded traffic leak....
This afternoon I happened to be snooping at some of of the other B&B's reviews in my region on several formats and in TA. I did not notice until I driffeded away from that site that Expedia (TA connection) had opened up another window a popup so to speak (and I have a popup blocker on). Low and behold - guess who's B&B was on the screen - Moi !!! Yep, Moi! - So that other B&B could easily loose a guest to ME! - I don't get a lot of bookings through Expedia but I do get a lot of bookings because of my listing there. And I have had guests tell me they had looked at that perticular B&B before booking with me.
 

Copperhead

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I use Google Analytics and I have a Funnel and Goal set up (the funnel being the pages that a guest must follow to complete a booking and the "goal" is the completed booking page).
My goal conversion rate since 1st Jan 2010 is 0.66%.
Is that good? I've no idea!
That also ignores people who rather than book online will email an enquiry, or phone up with their card details because they don't like entering it over the Internet.
On our guest feedback form the first question is "What were the key factors influencing your decision to book with us", 44% of respondents said our web site..
HJ- What was the process you went thru to come up with the 'answers' the guest can select for why they chose your place?
I'm curious as I don't ask that, but it's an excellent question. And I'm wondering what the guest is thinking as they select a particular answer.
So, example is the 44% of guests answering it was your website. (What made the other 56% book? What other answers could they select?)
But, the 44%...what does the answer mean?
  • You're the only place with a website?
  • Your website actually functions?
  • Your website places higher than anyone else in your area?
  • Your website is a work of art that grabs the viewer by the lapels and shouts, 'If you don't book here, you're an idiot'?
  • Your website gave the viewer info no one else did? (I say this after looking for a place to stay last Nov. 99% of the sites I looked at in my target area did NOT tell me they were CLOSED in Nov until I reached the calendar! The ONE place that said 'Open year round' is the one that got my booking because I was tired of looking. Best place? Probably not, but they put some effort into telling guests what they needed to know.)
  • The guest is thinking, 'Oh bloody hell, what's the first answer in the list so I can get on with this?'
I think knowing what the guest was thinking as they selected the answer is as important as the answer they chose. I had a couple of directories I failed to pay for still listed in my 'Where did you find us?' list. Months after we were removed from those sites, but before I got around to taking them out of the list, guests were still selecting them. OK, it's possible they really DID find us on those sites and waited forever to book, but not likely. More likely they picked something that 'sounded' right.
.
HJ wrote: On our guest feedback form the first question is "What were the key factors influencing your decision to book with us", 44% of respondents said our web site.
Mort wrote:
But, the 44%...what does the answer mean?
  • You're the only place with a website?
  • Your website actually functions?
  • Your website places higher than anyone else in your area?
  • Your website is a work of art that grabs the viewer by the lapels and shouts, 'If you don't book here, you're an idiot'?
  • Your website gave the viewer info no one else did? (I say this after looking for a place to stay last Nov. 99% of the sites I looked at in my target area did NOT tell me they were CLOSED in Nov until I reached the calendar! The ONE place that said 'Open year round' is the one that got my booking because I was tired of looking. Best place? Probably not, but they put some effort into telling guests what they needed to know.)
  • The guest is thinking, 'Oh bloody hell, what's the first answer in the list so I can get on with this?'
Or could it be that they have no clue what website they were on but it provided them with the info so it has to be your website! Many times my guests mark they found me via my site after a Google search, but after a minute or two I know they were on a directory listing, not MY website!
 

swirt

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Just to sum up some of the conversation here and respond rapidly before my tired eyes seize open.
Outgoing links on a home page.... avoid it at all costs. Some local or state organizations require them to their site, but other than that, I always recommend that no outgoing links appear on the home page.
I do strongly suggest having good outgoing links deeper within your site. You have to provide useful info for your guests of potential guests.
Conversion rates: Conversion rates alone can't tell the whole story. If you have a huge site that shows up for all kinds of things, you will get a lot of traffic from people who are not intending to look for a place to stay, so they are not going to convert, so they will actually make your conversion rate lower. This is not a bad thing, as they may come back later on or pass it on to someone.
I recommend people look at it from the point of view of how many conversions do you need, and work backwards. This gets a little dicey to figure out but here is a rough sketch.
  1. Lets say you have 10 rooms and your average stay is 2 nights (adjust this to match your situation). In many cases a 10 room inn can't handle running full out ALL the time so they shoot for 80% occupancy, or 8 rooms. This means that every 2 days you need to sell 8 of your rooms to be "ideally full." So in one day you need to sell 4 rooms so you need approximately 4 conversions per day.
  2. Now you look at your conversion rate in Analytics. If you conversion rate is 4% and you get 100 visitors per day, then 4% of 100 visitors = 4 conversions ... you are golden. IF your conversion rate is 3% with 100 visitors per day, then you are selling too little and if you are 6% with 100 visitors per day, then you are selling too much (aint that a shame LOL)
That's really the only way to see whether your website is doing what it needs to do fo YOU.
 
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