Measurement and Analytics for Online Hotel Reservations.
By Patricia Brusha and Alicia Whalen
Monday, 8th January 2007
The left wing (and the right wing!) address Web Analytics and the solution to knowing where your online reservations are coming from!

Have you ever wanted a solution to a problem, and even though you feel like you have been asking over and over for help…it feels like no one is listening to you? Then one day there it is! Someone has a simple, easy to understand answer that provides you with the perfect solution to your dilemma!

Ironically on the day "A Couple of Chicks E-Distribution Marketing" officially launched our New Web Analytic Tool , I woke up to read a brilliant article "The Long Tail and Analytics" written by Rob Sullivan.  He addresses some of the burning issues that all businesses that transact online have…. an issue that the hospitality sector should pay more attention to with in excess of 70% of travel being researched and booked online.

How to compete in such a saturated, unknown and ever-changing advertising medium?

Rob Sullivan among many others points out that "much better analysis of traffic, both paid and organic, could be completed to determine where tactics and strategy could better be applied."

Never mind whether or not the hospitality sector should consider online search marketing and search engine optimization within their overall marketing and sales strategy.  Drilling down further, how can the hospitality sector understand the value that online paid marketing has to the bottom line without any tool for accurate measurement of ROI?

Until now there has not been such a tool to assist travel marketers in choosing the most effective advertising campaigns, PPC campaign keywords, or even the value of professional search engine optimization, or property websites.

As hoteliers and travel marketers, we have been missing the capability to analyze the revenue potential of thousands, or tens of thousands of keyword combinations driving qualified reservations.  In discussing Paid online search campaigns specifically, are multiple, more specific word combinations more effective for a paid search campaign for a Downtown hotel?  Do the less expensive more detailed word combinations drive greater ROI than the high priced city names?

A solution to this analytics issue does exist.  Merlin Online Metrics was developed by hotel marketers to accurately measure the ROI of all online and offline sources, and the effectiveness of advertising channels to drive online reservations.

Tracking the initial search word, print Ad origin, or referring website, it can measure the revenue generated from positioning in search engines such as Google and Yahoo, to press releases, to offline and online Ad campaigns.

The keyword report feature captures all keywords that were used during any "touch point" of an online reservation, whether it was the beginning, middle or end of the buying process.

This web-based, easy to use technology measures "customer" buying behavior and not just searches - making traditional traffic reports only a small part of the intelligence hoteliers and travel providers need to stay competitive.

This technology lets you see the exact revenue that a particular keyword, or string of keywords contributed to your sales bottom line! Imagine the power of gathering this type customer buying intelligence over months and years?

We've been doing exactly that for three years with a group of hotels and travel portals, and now Merlin Online Metrics has been tested and proven successful!  A Couple of Chicks E-Distribution Marketing is taking Merlin Online Metrics to market to assist the hospitality industry in understanding how to compete in the ever-changing travel search marketplace, where there are billions of travel related searches being processed every day.

For more information and details about the Chicks' and Merlin Online Metrics, please visit www.acoupleofchicks.com

Patricia Brusha and Alicia Whalen are the Co-Founders of A Couple of Chicks™ Marketing; specializing in strategic On-line Distribution Strategy, Search Marketing, and Online Analytic Technology. Visit onlinerevealed.com A New Seminar Series Coming Soon - brought to you by A Couple of Chicks!
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