More and more hotels have been investing in Metasearch Engines in recent years and, especially, Google Hotel Ads.
NB: This is an article from Direct Your Bookings
Regardless of the MSE though, this behavioural change in prospects’ booking journey also expose hotels to subtle issues and pitfalls that may be difficult to detect, yet can lower the performance or the quality of the data collected through these Search Engines.
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Despite their harmfulness though, these mistakes are all quick fixes. In this article I’ll be guiding through them all, why it’s important to solve them and, of course, how to solve them.
UTM Parameters: know where the traffic comes from.
Here’s the pitfall:
UTMs (Urchin Tracking Module) are parameters that can be used in any given URL and whose values will be tracked in Google Analytics.
There are 5 UTM parameters:
Pretty self explanatory, aren’t they? In fact and for example, utm_source will tell what’s the source of traffic and utm_medium will tell what’s the medium used to navigate the site. More importantly: 1) you choose their values and 2) no need to use all UTMs, most times even just source and medium are more than enough.
When not in the URL, Google will try to read grab this information from the referral the link is coming from. However, quite often identity of the referral is not so explicit, therefore Google doesn’t know what value should be respectively for Source and Medium, resulting in a huge spike in (direct) / (none) values.
In fact, the good practice to follow is very simple: use UTM parameters for any link pointing to your website from other websites, including Metasearch Engine sites.
For example, in your Google My Business profile, under the Info section, instead of this:
You might want this:
Finally, this is how the above deep link will look like in your Source/Medium report in Google Analytics.
Auto generate deep links with UTM values.
If you are wondering how to write deep links with the right syntax and avoid mistakes, Google itself has a UTM builder tool that does that in no time: just plug in the values you want, and the final link will automatically be generated for you.