Before going into details of how using Custom Dimensions, let’s first clarify how they differ from metrics and, eventually, Custom Metrics.
We are all used to track Sessions, Users, PageViews, Transactions, and so on, at hotel level, but most of the times that’s pretty much it, meaning we can’t really drill into details by simply using those same metrics applied at lower levels, for example the Booking Window (or Lead Days, depending on how you want to call it), which is the time that elapses between the booking date and the arrival date.
That’s what Custom Dimensions can be used for.
Sessions, Users, Transactions.. they are all metrics. You can keep the exact same structure with those same metrics to create a bunch of different reports that differ one to each other because of your custom dimensions. This exercise is pretty useful as it gives us a better idea of how your customers behave when it comes to book through your website.
Based on the example I just made (Booking Window), this is how common metrics can look like when applied to that specific custom dimension.
The Booking Window is one of the most useful information, because it provides the information on how much in advance your potential customers are used to book. Eventually you can drill further into details by looking at the Booking Window per rate plan. You will see, for example, whether your Advance Booking rate (or Early Booking rate) is properly set in terms of days in advance you make it available. As a matter of fact, this parameter should be calibrated based on your consumer needs, not yours 🙂
Here is a list of 7 great custom dimensions you should request to have in your Google Analytics tracking:
- Arrival Date
- Departure Date
From a Revenue Management perspective those 2 dimensions are definitely important if combined with your forecast and, more important, your pick-up. Having dates with peak demand compared to preceding and following days should make you thinking of either rising rates or applying restrictions like a minimum length of stay on that specific date.
- Number of Nights
When having more requests for 3 night stays rather than single nights, you should consider offering special offers with a 3-night-minLOS with the goal of better converting your biggest audience.
- Occupancy: Adults+Children
Why offering flat rates double/double for single use when most of the booking searches are done with occupancy of 1 adult only? As a lonely traveller I would feel a bit discriminated by having to pay the price as a couple.
- Booking Window (Lead Days)
Personally I love this dimension and it’s somehow a pity to see how most of the times it is barely considered.
- Stay Nights
This is tricky. Because of a limitation of Google Analytics (while available instead in Adobe Analytics for example), if you really want to track this dimension you would then need to make use of excel and a couple of specific formulas. I will create a post on it to further explore.
- Promo Code / IATA Code
We all use promotional codes to let our repeating or negotiated customers get better deals and conditions.
:: Set your custom dimensions up in your Google Analytics account;
:: Update your Google Analytics snippet with the newly created custom dimensions (or ask your web agency to);
:: Set your custom reports up and/or dashboard so that you can see the results of the most important metrics applied to the new custom dimensions.