Long before vacation rentals, hotels (like many other businesses) have used key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure their effectiveness when it comes to achieving their main business goals. KPIs are important because they can support businesses to make better decisions, maximize profits and above all, measure overall success.
We already know that vacation rental owners can learn a lot from hotels, and tracking KPIs is no different. Digging into your website performance metrics using a tool like Google Analytics can provide you with a rich source of information to help improve the way you do things. What is a bit more difficult, however, is knowing exactly which metrics to focus on.
To give you a head start, we’ve put together this guide of 10 Google Analytics KPIs that you should be monitoring for your vacation rental website.
Analyzing your audience – those who actually visit your vacation rental website – can reveal a lot about the types of guests you attract. You can also find out how much time users spend on your pages, whether they return to your site and which demographics they are coming from.
1. Sessions and users
“Sessions” is the name given to all of the unique sessions initiated by all the users to your website. They have to be active on your site, otherwise, after 30 minutes, a new session will be started. Any users who leave your site then come back within half an hour are attributed to the same session.
You can find the number of sessions and users your website has by going to your Google Analytics dashboard, clicking on “Audience” then “Overview”. You can change the dates for your report in the top right-hand corner, or even pull up a comparative graph of your sessions vs. users with the drop-down menu.
2. New visitors vs. returning visitors
By measuring the number of new visitors and returning visitors, you can deduce how effective your site is at encouraging users to come back again.
You can find these stats by going to the “Audience” menu and choosing “Behavior”, then “New vs. Returning”. You can also view a pie chart of this data in the Audience Overview.
3. Age groups and genders
Knowing exactly who is landing on your website will allow you to customize ads and content (among other things) to encourage more site visitors from similar age-gender demographics.
You can find the age and gender of your visitors by going to “Audience”, “Demographics” and then “Overview”.
4. Mobile (Devices)
More and more travelers are booking their vacation accommodation via mobile phones – so you need to have a mobile-friendly website. You can see exactly which devices your website visitors are using when you go to “Audience”, “Mobile” then “Devices”.
When you understand where your traffic is coming from, you’ll have a better idea of the bigger picture when thinking about marketing and advertising. Google Analytics makes it easy to see the different sources and mediums through which visitors arrive on your website.
5. Sessions by source/medium
Every time a visitor lands on a website, they come from somewhere – this is their source. This could be the name of a search engine like Google, the name of a referring site such as Facebook or the direct – those who typed in your domain directly or accessed it from their bookmarks.
Just as every website visitor has a source, they also come with a medium. This can vary from “organic” (unpaid search), “CPC” (or cost per click, from paid search campaigns), “referral”, “email” or “none”.
Measuring how many visits come from each source and medium can enable you to determine whether your marketing efforts are paying off.
Discover your specific traffic source and medium reports by going to “Acquisition” in the sidebar menu, then “All Traffic”, and “Source/Medium”.
6. Sessions by channel grouping
An easy way to view the different sources of your incoming traffic is by analyzing your channel groupings. These are rule-based groupings of your different traffic sources and can be found by going to “Acquisition”, “All Traffic”, then “Channels”. It shows you, at a glance, how many sessions your website has by groupings of the most popular sources (Direct, Organic Search, Referral, Social, Paid Search, Email and Other).
The different metrics of your website pages which correspond to how visitors interact with your site can help you to evaluate its overall performance. From how much time they spend on your site to the number of pages they visit, page tracking metrics can give you a better insight into why your website is (or isn’t) working well.
7. Bounce rate
The bounce rate of your website is the percentage of single-page website sessions. In other words, it’s how many visits your website receives in which the user leaves your website without looking around further.
Keeping tabs on your bounce rate can help you to enhance your website and its content to ensure better performance in the future. To see your website’s bounce rate, go to “Behavior” in the left-hand menu, then “Overview” and you’ll see your Bounce Rate as a percentage.
8. Average pages per session
This metric looks at the average number of pages each visitor has viewed per session. It goes hand in hand with how long they spend on your site and can help you draw conclusions about whether they are finding your content interesting – or if you need to rethink it in order to improve your results.
Get this information by going to the “Audience” report, then click on “Overview”.
9. Average session duration
To calculate the average session duration, Google Analytics divides the total duration of all sessions (in seconds) by the total number of sessions. You can find this information in the “Audience” then “Overview” section.
Perhaps one of the most advanced KPIs to measure, data regarding your website conversion rate allows you to understand if you are getting what you want most out of your website – bookings.
10. Conversion rates
Using Google Analytics, you can set up four different types of goals to track. These could be Destination (the user reaches a specified web page), Duration (the user spends a specified minimum time on your site), Pages/Screens per session (the user views a specified minimum number of pages/screens) or Event (the user conducts a specified action).
You can configure your goals in Google Analytics to measure Revenue, Acquisition, Inquiries or Engagement.
In Revenue, you could measure completed orders or pre-order requests. In Acquisition, you can review the number of new users who converted to lead, prospect, signup and end customer. Inquiry allows you to set goals to measure inquiries by phone, chat, email, reviews etc. With Engagement, you can measure engagement levels from different media (video, slideshow), shared content, subscription to alerts etc.
As you become more confident and experienced with Google Analytics, you will likely find other KPIs which are useful for achieving your business goals. We’d love to hear which KPIs you track for your vacation rental website. Let us know in the comments!