Kigo Blog

Google Analytics: Turn Raw Data into Real Bookings

Google analytics is one of the most powerful tools a web business can use to understand the impact and effectiveness of their presence. However, it can be one of the most daunting and difficult to understand for new businesses. Using Google analytics allows you to not just see the statistics of your page, but gives you information that you can use to reach more people and convert more visits into bookings. It’s all too easy to have a quick look at your main data and then not what to do with this information. Being pleased if the graphs are pointing upwards and confused if they sink the next week. Taking the step to create a plan to build on your statistics each week requires knowledge and dedication. The data starts out as raw and dense. It needs to be decoded, understood and applied.

Today, we’re discussing the most effective Google Analytics tools you can use to build your business as well as providing you with links to even more detailed guides to this remarkable program.

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Google analytics can be used to understand your pay per click Adwords campaigns as well as organic traffic, providing your site has fewer than 5 million page views per month. The first and perhaps most prevalent statistic is page views. This is your baseline. The core to understanding your business’s web presence. The higher this is, the better, of course. But, there is more to be learned from analytics. Analytics can also show the website visits that come from your social media accounts. This allows you to understand your ROI from your social media efforts. Understanding ROI is the best way to build your strategy and choose the amount of time to invest in these marketing efforts. These are common stats, so how do you start to understand the ROI from the pages on your site?

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One of the most important metrics you can measure is your audience location. This allows you to see where your marketing is most effective. It will also demonstrate the areas the require renewed focus and attention. This information can be invaluable when pushing properties or offers in specific locations. As well as this, you can break down your audience by demographic. More than just by age and gender, by entering the ‘Interests Overview’ page you can discover more information such as occupation and interests. Using this data, you can create custom demographics. The effect on your marketing would be fantastic if you were able to know that majority of your North American visitors were between 30-40 years old, had interests in outdoor sports and worked with computers. Tailored and specific marketing and website content will help you to build on your results from Google analytics.

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You can then further distil the information by filtering your visitors by the time of their first visit to your site. This is particularly useful when considering re-marketing and making changes to your website. Do guests that visited your page six months ago stay longer on your site than today? If so, what has changed? How can you win them back?

 The next step is to understand your Goal Flow. If we assume your goal to be:

  • Visitors entering your site
  • Searching for a property
  • Entering booking details
  • Payment
  • Confirmation
 This is flow with five steps. What your goal flow will show is where visitors abandon the process. This can be particularly useful if you are seeing a high loss rate at the final stages such as payment or confirmation. If guests are finding your site, choosing a property but falling at the final hurdle, is there a problem with your process. This data can show you clearly and easily if a step in your flow is too complicated or turns guests off and costs you bookings. Kigo offers the sort of online payment options that have been tested extensively against data like this and are built to encourage bookings and reduce abandonment.

 But, what if you see that your guests are leaving at the search stage? This suggests that your guests didn’t find a property that was right for them. However, it may be that the way your search results are displayed is the problem. The latest tool Google analytics has unveiled is a way to see exactly how far down your pages your guests are scrolling. If they leave the page without scrolling through all of your properties this could suggest something is wrong with the layout of your page.

Once you begin to delve into the information Google Analytics presents you will see that everything it shows will have a tangible action that you can perform to improve the traffic and conversion rate of your website. The more you know, the more you can do. And, whilst this is a complicated process there is a wealth of information and tried and tested techniques you can use to assist you.

 The Google analytics blog also contains a wealth of information on how to use this information to improve the results of your business. This is written by experts and creators of the software. It is the best place to get information on new features, changes and best practices. Bookmark it today and you be able to keep up with the latests trends and features you can use.

 Google Analytics can seem to be just an awesome wave of information that we look at because we know we’re supposed to. Simply seeing the stats and graphs but, by using these resources, you can focus this information and distil it to a point where this information will reflect the real people that visit your site, not just a clump of binary data that seems disconnected from the bottom line of your business. These tools, with practice, will show you which parts of your site are less effective than others. The points at which you lose bookings. The countries that convert more than others. Once this information comes into focus you will be able to use it to push real growth in revenues coming from your web site.

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Japan – The Billion Dollar Vacation Rental Opportunity

Once famed as the home of the minuscule pod hotel, Japanese visitors are now looking for more space and comfort in their choice of holiday accommodation. Very much the antithesis to the coffin stacks of one-person hotel drawers, vacation rentals are expected to become a solution of the problem of increasing visitors to some of the world’s most densely populated and largest cities. Japan has a tourism strategy that intends to increase the number of foreign visitors threefold. Major European cities are plateauing or even actively trying to reduce their number of visitors. Japan is considering nurturing the expansion of vacation rental businesses in order to accommodate these new visitors. Today we’re looking at how property managers can become a part of the upcoming rise of the vacation rental market in Japan.

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The vacation rentals already in existence are popular. The average occupancy rate is reported to be 75%. Anecdotally, guests looking to book for trips less than a month away are frequently left disappointed. However, there are just 4000 Airbnb listings for the entire country. If you compare this with the 40,000 Airbnb listings in Paris alone, it’s clear to see there is real opportunity here. Expansion is possible and the next decade looks set to be an unprecedented boom time for short term rentals in Japan. This comes from not just the natural popularity and growing awareness, but the government’s desire to drastically increase the amount of foreign visitors. Vacation rentals are mostly limited to the major cities. Rural Japan is considered difficult to navigate for tourists, especially if you do not speak Japanese. What Japanese cities lack is space. Space is at a premium and the hotel industry has been building up for years to combat the problem. Now, the government has seen the opportunity in short term rentals to increase their capacity for tourism without having to sprawl their cities out further, or push new skyscrapers into an overcrowded skyline. What’s more, there are currently 8 million vacant homes in Japan that could be used to generate income for the local economy as well as providing accommodation that requires no further addition to the infrastructure of crowded cities.

 Connect and work with Japanese property management agencies to extend your inventory into Japan. Airbnb is already popular with visitors and agencies in Japan, but there are large sectors of the market that remain unexplored. The short-term rental market is thought to be worth an initial $840 million, with the planned tripling of international tourism over the next decade, vacation rentals are turning into a multi-billion dollar opportunity.  As well as this planned expansion,  the 2020 Olympics are being held in Tokyo. This means that the next five years will be crucial in establishing vacation rentals as the most desirable places to stay for the planned surge in foreign visitors to the country. The 2012 games in London attracted 685,000 extra visitors for the period of the games with an 11% increase in the income associated with overnight stays. If vacation rental property managers can establish their brands as popular choices before the planned expansion then the rise in visitors should be reflected in bookings of vacation rental properties.

 The government is currently debating removing the regulations. However, there are still some hurdles for current business owners. For rentals of fewer than 30 days, a license must be acquired and properties must have hotel-style reception desks. However, the government is considering deregulating the industry in an effort to open up more accommodation options for visiting tourists. Whilst an initial proposal to allow unlicensed rentals of between 7 and 30 days was initially rejected,  they are openly trying to develop cheaper accommodation for foreign tourists. In 2013, Japan had around 10 million foreign visitors, their goal is to triple this by 2030. This targeted rise in visitors, plus the encouragement of short-term rentals is likely to drive a booking spike in an already profitable market. This means that now is the most opportune time for property managers to consider expanding their businesses into this market, and for existing property managers in Japan to take advantage of this upcoming spike in bookings by developing their businesses. The next decade could spell an exponential rise in the vacation rental industry.

 Whilst Kigo maybe more familiar to some as the mention of a season in a Haiku, it is also a powerful software that helps property managers control and expand their businesses through our network of portal websites, reservation management system. It is the perfect tool to use as you expand your business for a growing market, allowing you not only great management tools to save you time, but real resources that will drive bookings, revenue and even increase your property inventory. Kigo can help you expand your business into new and exciting markets, becoming a force in a developing market.

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Revenue Management: Applying it to your Business Today

Taking Revenue Management From Theory into Practice

In the recent weeks, we have devoted a lot of time to discussing the basic principles of revenue management, understanding how it works. In this edition of the blog, we’re going to give you real examples of how you can apply this to your actual business, including an actual revenue management model that can be applied throughout the year to your properties.

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For the purpose of this exercise, we’re going to divide the year into two seasons: low and high. As well as this, we will use two theoretical rate maps: aggressive and modest. This distinction separates the maps that use a pricing structure that raises the property price per night to a higher rate more rapidly from a more gradual increase. The modest rate map has a more steady price increase and is built to drive occupancy of nights that would go otherwise unbooked.

The seasons are generally defined as the periods of high and low demand within the year. If we assume the low season to be between October and March and the high season to be between April and September this divides the year into two periods of six months. It may be that this does not match your actual low and high seasons, but the same model can be applied to different months.

 The aggressive rate map will have a higher percentage increase of your base price as demand increases. It will also keep your base price set for longer if there are periods of lower demand. This map is designed to maximise the revenue you will receive from your most popular times whilst still enjoying complete calendars. With an aggressive rate map, your prices will rise as your occupancy rate starts to grow.

For example, if your base nightly rate is $100 this rate map may increase the rate to $120 once your properties reach 20% occupancy for more than three months in advance. This could then increase further as the occupancy rises, to a 30% increase should your occupancy rate reach 40%, meaning your price for the remaining 60% of your nights would be $130.  Should your property reach 90% occupancy more than three months in advance, the system would then be able to increase the price to a much higher amount than the original base price of $100. Due to the clear high demand of the property it is likely that there will still be customers ready to pay this higher price. The aggressive rate map is more suited for the very highest demand of your peak season.

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The modest rate map then operates on the same principle but is more attuned to driving occupancy in periods of lower demand. These rate changes are generally done less far in advance that the changes of the aggressive rate map. The rate is lowered if the occupancy is less than average. The goal of this map is to drive occupancy via lower prices and is better utilized in the low season. This rate map would start to lower the rate in 10% increments depending on the level of occupancy. For example, should your properties only have a 50% occupancy rate for the upcoming three months then it would reduce your rate, lowering it further for the unbooked dates that are coming up first. The modest rate map will reduce your base price to 50% of the original if your properties remain unbooked with less than a week to go. This is built to increase overall occupancy and increase the revenue from every property, even if it seems like you are losing money from your regular rate. The revenue that this map drives should be considered as revenue that would otherwise be $0, as the nights would go unbooked.

These are the different parameters that can be set. In more complex revenue management such as Kigo’s automated system, you have a wider range of variables to choose from, changing your rate map every day if you require. What the Kigo system will do you for you is apply these variable rates to every property, across every portal, updating them automatically. As well as this, you will have more options to modify and personalise the pricing pattern you require. Kigo Revenue Management understands the current demand of your vacation rentals and uses an algorithm designed for the vacation rental industry to generate the most revenue without reducing demand. You simply set it and it analyses a wide range of data and uses a defined algorithm to convert this information into the most appealing and profitable prices for each property.

Revenue management is a simple idea that even the smallest business can apply. However, the logistics of measuring and updating the prices across all of your properties and portals can be a full-time job. Our revenue management system is built and tested to pick the right prices every single time, and take all of the work out of price setting and market research for you.

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6 Emails You Need To Send to Every Guest

Automate and Send The 6 Emails that Drive Bookings

 Transforming an inquiry into a converted booking is something of an art form. Helping your guests settle on a property and a destination from just casual research is a slippery alchemy that requires the right information, at the right time. Holiday plans often rely on people making decisions on behalf of a group or waiting for the booking of other elements such as flights before they can decide on their accommodation. This means, that as well as your property listing, having email content that provides useful information at different points in the booking process will help you convert more inquiries.

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Using the Kigo system, you can program these emails to be sent automatically whenever your guests trigger them. This means you can set them and watch as your booking rate grows even when you’re not there. Today, we’re giving you examples of the six emails that you can automate and convert guest inquiries into bookings.

Property is Available!
Up to the minute availability, pricing and a booking link will give your guests chance to book right away. When booking, every delay counts and will give your guests more chance to find other sites and properties. If your guest knows that your property is available right away and have a link to booking, they can check the details and come back to the link when they are ready to book.

 Alternate Options
Should your guests’ first choice of property not be available for their selected dates, you can create emails that contain links to other properties that best meet their criteria. You can sort these properties by criteria such as price, location, and amenities so that your guests only receive links to properties that they will be interested in.

 Transport, Keys, and Check In
The process of getting from the airport or station, who will meet them to let them in, what to do in the event of a late arrival. All of these things need to be considered. Answering them before your guests have to ask is a simple touch that makes the booking process seem so much more simple for guests. They will understand that you are experienced and knowledgeable and booking a vacation rental property will not cause them undue stress or see them locked out of a distant property after a delayed flight.

 Blogs and Content
Now your guests have confirmed their booking, why not send over some tips and ideas for how they can spend their time at your property. This is a simple touch that not only provides your guests with helpful content but will also show that you are still aware of their booking and there are no problems. When booking in advance, there can always be a lingering fear that you are going to to turn up to a fully booked property, with a baffled property manager having no record of your booking. A reassuring email that also contains great content is a great way to make your website stand out and keep it in your guests’ memory for their next booking.

 Check Up
A quick check to see if there any problems. This will help to protect you from negative reviews if there are any unforeseen circumstances. Some guests may not come to you with small issues so a quick email midway through their stay gives them a chance to bring any problems or questions to your attention.

 Thank You Email
After your guests have checked out is the time to schedule the final email, thanking them for their stay. Customer aftercare is an important part of creating customer loyalty. As well as thanking them for their stay you can request a review. This is also the perfect chance to ask if there was anything you can improve for your guests’ next stay.

 With these six emails, you can not only convert more leads into customers, but convert them into loyal customers that will return to your business. These emails show that the goal of your business is not just to offload your properties to whoever, but to create an enjoyable and distinctive experience for the people that choose to book.

These emails will also reassure first-time guests that your business is genuine and that their booking is confirmed before they fly across the world. Write and automate them to be triggered by guests, using short and catchy subject lines and you will see more guest emails turn into confirmed bookings!

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The Mistake That Keeps Small VR Businesses Small

At Kigo, we work to make sure that our clients not only save time managing their businesses, but that they are always expanding and looking forward. We frequently see businesses coming to us because they have plateaued. Their business seems to have reached a peak and levelled out rather than enjoying the exponential expansion they once saw. A recurring stumbling block to success we see is property managers that say:

 I list my properties on all the major portals, why would I need my own website?

 This is not an uncommon question, and it’s a valid one. Vacation rental businesses can enjoy success using the listings on popular websites. With a Channel Manager, you can even list and  automatically update you properties across more than 40 of the world’s largest and most successful portals. It is one of the most important parts of setting up your business and establishing yourself as a professional manager, however, it is not the only element.

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Today, we’re going to show you exactly why, in the land of portals, the personal website is still king!

 When you deal exclusively with portal sites you remain at the mercy of a third party, pay their commissions and have to adhere to their listing criteria. Having your own site gives you the freedom to stamp your individual brand identity across your listings and property information. You can add convincing copy, images, or video. Anything you want. Your own website allows you to present your properties in the way that you consider to be most effective for your target market. In addition, if you limit yourself to just using portal websites, your guests may attribute the quality of their stay and service to the portal site they booked with, rather than with your business. When booking again, they will head back to that same website and expect the same levels of quality and service from every property. They will not seek out your properties especially.

 Portal websites are still a very effective way of reaching new customers. What successful businesses do is harness this and then direct these happy customers to their own website as well as using portals. This can result in cutting costs, increasing property revenue and building loyalty. As well as this, your guests will speak to their friends and family about their experiences. Having your own website gives them a powerful point of reference that allows your customers to recommend your business specifically.

 Portal listings are a huge part of operating a vacation rental business, but they should complement your business, rather than form the entirety of it. Portal websites allow you to expand your reach and inventory, but you need a hub for customers to be drawn to. A name. A Brand. An identity for your business. This is what your own website provides. It gives you something to differentiate your properties from the countless other listings on every portal. It is a reference that your customers can then use to find your business again. This is particularly useful once you start to expand your business. Your reputation will precede you and new customers will be aware of the quality of your properties and service.

 Your own website gives you authority. It shows that your business is stable and established enough to have a permanent web presence. You can then add content that you have created, adding to your authority and speaking directly to your customers. Authority and personality coming from your own website creates a connection between your business and your customers. They no longer see your business as faceless and unidentifiable and are more likely to book. Internet businesses still have a remnant of mistrust and doubt from consumers and having a professional and up to date website will remove this last doubt from their minds.

 Another great advantage of having your own website means that you can collect guest and lead information. Data such as names and email addresses means that you can you can create a marketing list and update your customers with new properties, special offers and promotions. This is powerful sales tool as it allows you to reach the people that have already expressed an interest in the product you offer and your business. By limiting yourself to just third-party websites, your business is pitted against thousands of others that offer the same service.

 Kigo template websites are beautifully designed and engineered to guide your guests through the booking process. They are optimized for mobile and tablets as well as being customizable to fit with your existing brand. As well as this, our custom sites are available and be built to fit every specification and include every tool your business needs to expand and thrive.

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