In December, I discussed the most common issues that can be found on hotel websites. It is indeed important to provide your guests with a great user experience, otherwise they will use booking engine when it will come to get an accommodation. And you know the rest of the story… Booking engine will take its bite of the cake, you are loosing money.
So, the best step you can take is to analyze your website and find potential problems that might discourage your potential guests from becoming your actual guests. To perform this kind of analysis, I would recommend to use Google Analytics and Hotjar as they are free (both also have a premium account) and provide you with the solid set of features.
Analyze shopping and checkout behaviour!
You probably expected something like landing page analysis to be the first step in the analysis. You probably heard a lot about it already, so let me skip it and jump right into something more actionable. Google Analytics provides a set of features called Enhanced E-commerce. It allows you to measure the following:
- product impressions (by product, we mean the type of your room)
- product clicks
- checking out product details (guest checked the details of your rooms)
- adding a product to a shopping cart (guest selected a particular room)
- initiating the checkout process (guest selected the particular room and started the booking process)
- transactions (guest finished the booking process)
Please note, that not all of these features need to be implemented. You can simply choose what level of detail you expect from the analysis and then implement the tracking code. To start small and fast, I would recommend to configure it in the way that will allow you to obtain Shopping behaviour and Checkout behaviour. If there is more granularity needed, don’t hesitate to configure all events you would like to measure.
1. Shopping behaviour
Shopping behaviour will help you find out when in the purchasing process your potential guests drop. It allows you to create stages in the purchasing proces such as All sessions > Sessions with product (room) view > Sessions with room selected > Sessions with booking process started > Sessions with transactions. The following picture displays the example of the report from the e-commerce website:
What insights can be learned?
- You can find out where in the purchasing process users miss valuable information or strong selling point/call to action to move to another stage. Thus, you can improve your value proposition.
- If you see a huge drop off when visitors view your rooms but don’t select any to start a booking process, you can consider this pages to probably have some usability problems. You can use Hotjar to (1) record users’s visits to find out it there is any problem with usability (not working buttons etc.), (2) if you see there is no usability problem, you can create a poll to ask if there is anything missing on the page, (3) create a heatmap to find out if there is something that capture people’s attention more than your call to action, (4) you can also conduct usability test interviews with real people to see where the problem is.
- You can create segments from visitors in each stage (even users who abandoned the particular stage) and you can analyze deeper the source of their visit, device type, country, campaign etc. You can also create remarketing lists and address the users with highly relevant ads. Don’t forget that the remarketing list has to have 100 active users for Google Display Network and 1,000 active users for Google Search within the last 30 days.
2. Checkout behaviour
It is very similar to the shopping behaviour but instead of the whole shopping process, this analysis focus only on the booking flow such as Account sign-in > Billing details > Payment information > Transactions. You can obtain the similar insights as in the shopping behaviour analysis.
You can see which step in the checkout process is complicated or not clear. Some possible problems:
- Visitors leave from Account sign-in page. You should provide option without the necessity to register.
- Visitors leave from Billing details page. Maybe you ask for too many information that are not necessary.
- Visitors leave from Payment information page. Maybe they cannot find their preferred payment methods.
- Visitors leave from Payment summary page. Some hidden costs might arise that user did not expected.
There are many scenarios that can appear. To analyze problem steps, I recommend to use the following Hotjar features:
- Recordings. It will allow you to see if there is any usability problem in the process.
- Forms. A great analysis in case you need to find out which form items cause the highest abandonment. If you find any that are not necessary, remove them as quickly as possible.
- Polls and Surveys. Ask what is missing on the particular page (e. g. on Payment information page) or what is missing generally on the website.
- If the abovementioned steps didn’t provide you with the actionable information, try to conduct usability tests or use Hotjar’s feature Recruiters.
Note: You can also use Hotjar’s Funnels to track the checkout behaviour. Under each stage, there is a possibility to check recordings of users in the particular funnel stage.
It is important to measure what matters first. If the purpose of your hotel website is to generate more direct bookings, it is vital to find out what might prevent your potential guests from doing this in the first place. I know this type of analyses is more difficult to configure. Moreover, each analysis contained another analyses that need to be executed. But you probably feel that this is the right place to be. The place to learn about your users and maximize your goal completions.
I will provide you with more analytics tricks and tips every month, so don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter!
Additional useful resources
 More about Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce