As a travel and marketing professional, it can be difficult to gauge if your digital efforts are working. Identifying issues before they become major problems is good business sense, but what is the best way to do that? Where do you even start, if you’re wearing multiple hats in your travel organization? Google Analytics is an essential tool for travel and marketing professionals asking these questions, says Q4Launch a trusted hospitality marketing partner in Charleston, SC.

January’s gathering of Charleston Travel and Hospitality Marketing Professionals at Planters Inn brought together Lauren Balmer, Senior Customer Success Specialist at Q4Launch, and area hospitality industry professionals to learn how to unpack some of the most important data points that Google Analytics offers and explore how to benchmark those against industry standards.

Data is Power When it Comes to Digital Marketing Charleston SC

Balmer opened by stating that “knowing and being in data is different than leaving it in a dusty corner.” Data, like that provided in a Google Analytics profile, allows business owners and website developers the information they need to make business decisions without emotion (which can cloud judgement).

A monthly check of the Google Analytics dashboard allows marketers to feel the pulse of web site traffic, gives a clear understanding of where the traffic comes from and allows users to compare web business to the same time period in the previous years. What is driving quality traffic? Is the traffic leading to increased sales and business growth? These questions speak to the overall health of a business, especially online.

Capitalize on the good and correct the bad. This advice from Balmer and Q4Launch allows hospitality and marketing professionals to recognize which tactics are generating above-average referrals. It also lets savvy users see where traffic has slipped so that the issue can be identified: has the Google algorithm changed, was in important in-bound link lost, did an effective paid campaign end? By noting the percentage of change in the acquisition numbers, marketers can know where to target their effort in the upcoming months.

Balmer recommends clear guidelines when analyzing the data provided by Google Analytics. Start with the source medium, and use it as the go-to metric. This is all the referrals that drive traffic to your site and characteristics that define it, such as organic search, paid search, direct email and more. Q4Launch recommends setting up dashboards to give your business an overview of the data and metrics that are the most important, allowing for a more consistent analysis of the digital information.

digital marketing Charleston SC

One trend that Q4Launch has recognized is that traffic to website homepages is down, but traffic to interior pages is rising. This could be a result of Google ranking interior landing pages higher in their searches because interior pages provide better answers to questions. This means that marketers should make their interior pages as attractive and useful as their homepage in order to convert that increased traffic to sales.

Google Analytics allows website owners the opportunity to look into how effective their marketing efforts are. Paid search, blogs, email and referring partners are all marketing methods that can prove essential for hospitality companies, and each method has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, paid search offers a good return on investment and it can be turned on or off to drive traffic seasonally or for important events, but the results don’t last past the end of the campaign. Analytics allows traffic to be monitored over the course of any marketing drive to note its effectiveness and worth.

Travel and hospitality professionals should turn to Google Analytics to help get to know their businesses better. Audience, habits, advertising returns and more are all recognizable in the data on the website, making digital marketing Charleston SC more effective and efficient. The professionals at Q4Launch are ideally suited to explore Analytics dashboards and suggest marketing tactics that improve business in the hospitality industry in Charleston and beyond.

For information about the Charleston Travel and Hospitality Marketing Professionals Meetup, contact Galileo COO Erin Miller erin.miller@galileotechmedia.com. Galileo is dedicated to organizing travel marketing networking and learning opportunities for the Charleston area.