How To Maximize Google Analytics 4 (GA4) For Your Hotel

SHARE:

In the ever-evolving landscape of the hotel industry, it is crucial for hoteliers to embrace data analytics to stay competitive and maximize their business potential. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) provides a powerful platform for hotels to gain valuable insights, optimize marketing strategies, and enhance the guest experience. We will explore effective ways to maximize your hotel's GA4 implementation, enabling you to make data-driven decisions, improve operational efficiency, and drive revenue growth.

1. Set Up GA4 for Hotel-Specific Metrics

While GA4 provides a standard setup for website tracking, it is essential to configure it to capture hotel-specific metrics. Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are vital to your hotel's success, such as room bookings, revenue per available room (RevPAR), average daily rate (ADR), and conversion rates. Create custom events and goals within GA4 to track these metrics accurately, allowing you to measure your hotel's performance effectively.

2. Utilize GA4 Enhanced Measurement for Seamless Tracking

Take advantage of GA4's enhanced measurement feature to automate the tracking of important user interactions on your hotel's website. Enhanced measurement allows you to capture events such as outbound clicks, scroll depth, site search, and video engagement without manual configuration. This saves time and effort, ensuring comprehensive data collection for a deeper understanding of user behavior and preferences.

3. Monitor User Journeys with Google Analytics 4’s User Explorer

User Explorer is a powerful feature in GA4 that provides detailed insights into individual user journeys on your hotel's website. By analyzing specific user interactions, you can identify patterns, pain points, and opportunities for improvement. Understanding how guests navigate your website, from initial engagement to booking, allows you to optimize the user experience, streamline the booking process, and enhance guest satisfaction.

4. Leverage GA4’s Audience Insights for Targeted Marketing

GA4's audience insights feature offers a wealth of information about your hotel's website visitors. Utilize demographic data, interests, and affinities to create detailed guest profiles. This knowledge enables you to segment your audience effectively and tailor marketing campaigns to specific guest personas. By delivering personalized messaging and offers, you can improve engagement, increase conversions, and foster guest loyalty.

5. Analyze On-Site Behavior with Google Analytics 4 Behavior Flow

Behavior Flow in GA4 visualizes the path users take on your hotel's website, providing valuable insights into their behavior and preferences. This tool allows you to identify popular entry and exit points, the most engaging pages, and potential drop-off points in the booking process. By understanding user behavior, you can optimize website navigation, content placement, and calls-to-action to drive conversions and improve the overall guest experience.

6. Create Custom GA4 Reports for Actionable Insights

GA4's customizable reporting features empower hoteliers to create custom reports tailored to their specific needs. Identify the metrics and dimensions that matter most to your hotel's operations and marketing efforts. Create reports that provide actionable insights on revenue, channel performance, campaign effectiveness, and guest behavior. Regularly review these reports to make informed decisions, optimize strategies, and drive revenue growth.

7. Integrate GA4 with Other Tools for Comprehensive Analysis

Integrating Google Analytics 4 (GA4) with a Property Management System (PMS) is a valuable way for hotels to gain insights into their website's performance and guest behavior. 

To integrate Google Analytics 4 (GA4) with a Property Management System for hotels, follow these steps: First, ensure administrative access to both GA4 and the PMS. Create a GA4 property for the hotel's website and obtain the Measurement ID. Check if the PMS offers direct GA4 integration or use Google Tag Manager (GTM) if not. Define important events and conversions, configuring them in GA4. Consider a data layer if using GTM. Test and validate the integration, and create custom reports and dashboards for monitoring key metrics. Continuously monitor GA4 data for insights and compliance with data privacy regulations. Lastly, provide training and support for your team or hotel staff in GA4 data analysis and reporting.

Maximizing your hotel's GA4 implementation is essential to leverage the power of data analytics and drive success in the highly competitive hospitality industry. By setting up GA4 with hotel-specific metrics, utilizing enhanced measurement, monitoring user journeys, leveraging audience insights, analyzing on-site behavior, creating custom reports, and integrating with other tools, hoteliers can gain valuable insights, optimize operations, and implement targeted marketing strategies. Embrace the power of GA4, and let data guide your hotel to new heights of success.

What Are The Differences Between Google Universal Analytics and GA4?

SHARE:

In the realm of digital analytics, Google Analytics (GA) has long been a cornerstone for businesses to gain valuable insights into their online presence. However, with the introduction of GA4, a new iteration of Google Analytics, marketers and analysts find themselves faced with a significant shift in the landscape. In this blog, we will delve into the key differences between GA4 and its predecessor, Universal Analytics (UA), shedding light on the benefits and challenges of GA4.

Google UA vs GA4 Data Collection Model

One of the fundamental differences between GA4 and UA lies in their data collection models. UA operates on a pageview-based model, where each interaction triggers a new pageview, making it easier to track and analyze website behavior. In contrast, GA4 utilizes an event-based model, focusing on user interactions and events across different platforms and devices. This shift allows for a more holistic view of user behavior beyond traditional website visits, enabling businesses to track app usage, video engagement, and more.

Google UA vs GA4 Enhanced Cross-Platform Tracking

GA4 places a strong emphasis on cross-platform tracking, enabling businesses to gain deeper insights into user journeys across multiple devices and channels. By leveraging machine learning algorithms and advanced modeling techniques, GA4 provides a more comprehensive understanding of how users engage with a brand across touchpoints. This feature is especially valuable in today's multi-device and multi-channel world, where customers often interact with brands through various avenues.

Google UA vs GA4 User-Centric Approach

Another significant departure from UA is the user-centric approach adopted by GA4. UA primarily focuses on sessions and cookies to track user behavior, making it difficult to follow individual users across multiple devices or over extended periods. GA4, on the other hand, introduces the concept of the "User ID," which allows businesses to stitch together user interactions and activities across devices, ultimately providing a more accurate representation of individual user behavior. This enhanced user-centric perspective helps businesses better understand customer journeys and tailor their marketing efforts accordingly.

Google UA vs GA4 Machine Learning Capabilities

GA4 integrates machine learning and artificial intelligence more extensively than its predecessor. By leveraging these technologies, GA4 offers enhanced predictive insights, smarter analytics, and automated features. For instance, GA4's predictive metrics can estimate potential revenue and churn rates, empowering businesses to make data-driven decisions. The inclusion of machine learning also facilitates the automatic categorization of events, simplifying the analysis process and reducing manual effort.

Google UA vs GA4 Report Structure and Analysis

The reporting interface in GA4 differs significantly from UA. It now includes a robust set of analysis tools, such as the ability to segment users based on various parameters and build custom funnels, which can help uncover valuable insights and optimize marketing strategies. This reporting feature is very beneficial to making changes to strategy. This will help you make custom reports. 

The benefits offered by GA4 make it a worthy investment for businesses seeking to leverage advanced analytics and gain a competitive edge in the digital landscape. GCommerce has created a custom GA4 report, utilized to highlight the most important metrics to your property. 

As digital analytics continues to evolve, the transition from Universal Analytics to GA4 represents a significant leap forward. GA4's event-based data collection, cross-platform tracking, user-centric approach, machine learning capabilities, and flexible reporting interface provide businesses with a more comprehensive understanding of their customers and insights to drive growth. 

For a deeper comparison of metrics, check out this full breakdown by Google, or let the GA4 experts at GCommerce Solutions help. 

Everything You Need to Know About Google Analytics 4

SHARE:

By now, many of you have heard us talk about Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This new analytics update is part of a series of steps that will bridge the divide between database driven analytics and privacy concerns. The GCommerce team has been implementing GA4 for our clients over the past year and now Google has officially announced that the existing Google Universal technology will no longer receive new data as of July 2023, the clock is truly ticking.

Download our free ebook that will tell you everything you need to know about GA4 - what it is, what to expect and why it’s important to your business.

Download EBook

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Cookieless World is already here. Are you ready?

SHARE:

Over the last few years, the big players like Google and Facebook have been warning that they will be moving to a cookieless world. And really, we are already living in a cookieless world when you consider the deprecation of 3rd party cookies on Mozilla and Safari as well as Apple’s iOS updates.

The way we measure performance has already changed to support the cookieless world. GCommerce has tested the difference between Google Analytics 4 and Google Analytics Universal in how it captures data, and on average Google Analytics Universal is missing about 40% of revenue data. This shows that the cookieless world is already here.

Read our eBook for specific action items you can do today to be sure your marketing doesn’t suffer.

Download E-Book

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Future Proof Your Hotel Marketing Analytics

SHARE:

As you may have noticed, there has been a lot of chatter about the “cookieless world” or “3rd party cookies” over the past year-and-a-half and there should be as that wave has already hit us and will soon be by us. If you have not created a plan yet for the “cookieless world” then you need to call a lifeguard ASAP!  One wave that nobody in the hospitality industry is talking about is Google Analytics 4 or “GA4”.  Well, there is talk about it but it seems to be coming from GCommerce, which is quite frightening as most every other vertical market is and has been talking about GA4 since it was announced in 2020 by Google. 

If you did not know, Google Analytics, the most widely used analytics technology, is designed to use 3rd party cookies to track user behavior and transactions. With 3rd party cookies eliminated, analytics data has become unreliable and incomplete. In fact, in a side by side comparison that GCommerce conducted over the past six months with a collection of its customers, Universal Analytics under-reported transaction data (purchases & revenue) by up to 40%! A 40% reduction in revenue through major channels significantly skews what channels are producing. It’s a marketer’s nightmare.  Just so we are all on the same page, most websites today run “GA3” otherwise known as “Universal Analytics or UA”.

In late 2020, Google introduced a new analytics package “Google Analytics 4” or “GA4”. GA4 works regardless of cookies and boosts analytics reliability and useability during this time of transition. GA4 is a brand new tool, aimed at providing a more comprehensive view of your website’s data. As mentioned above, our side by side comparison not only saw under-reporting with transaction data, it also showed that UA underreported Organic by 33%, Paid Search by 26%, and Referral by as much as 51% when compared to the attribution of GA4!  This could be for a couple of reasons:  

  • Legacy cookie tracking (UA) is starting to deprecate as the cookieless world grows closer, creating data gaps for major revenue channels
  • Advanced attribution models based on the new “engaged users” provides more transparency through the booking funnel

Now, you are probably wondering what is the benefit of adding GA4 instead of waiting until Google stops supporting UA?  Well, here are some things to think about when thinking about adding GA4 now instead of waiting.

Benefits of adding GA4 today:

  • Future proof your analytics, regardless of cookies
  • Maintain clean analytics data for your digital marketing initiatives
  • See your booking engine conversion funnel through custom tagging
  • The data captured today in GA4 starts today.  You are not able to collect past history. 
  • Be able to track booking patterns on your site via GA4’s “tagging” ability

If you are interested in learning more about GA4 and the benefits that GCommerce’s customers have seen by adding GA4 please let us know.  We can also let you know about the exclusive Historic Hotels of America GA4 package GCommerce has created. 

Here are a few FAQ's about GA4:

Google said 3rd party cookies aren't going away until 2023. Do I need to get started now?

  • Yes. Particularly with Google Analytics, it doesn't start capturing data until you install it on your site. While you will still have historical data in your Universal Analytics profile, you will essentially be starting from scratch if you wait until 2023 (not to mention you will be operating off of incomplete data for the next year).

Google Analytics is free, why should I pay for my data? 

  • Google Analytics 4 is a new tool that requires custom installation on your website. The custom installation will help you understand how current and future guests interact with your website. 

Do you hold our data? 

  • Yes, but your data will always be found in your native GA4 account. 

What if I build a new website? Should I install Google Analytics 4 at that time? 

  • You should install Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible. You could be missing out on key data and the most up to date attribution models which could empower design and creative decisions for future websites.  

Why should I pay for your GCommerce Google Analytics 4 Report? 

  • As a data driven marketing firm, we believe the raw metrics from GA only tell half the story. Our report was created with decades of experience within analytics and highlight the most important data that informs your marketing strategy. GCommerce’s Google Analytics 4 Report captures more intelligence than traditional GA reports. 

How long is the installation process? 

  • Our typical installation and QA process takes two to three weeks. 

Is there a separate agreement for GCommerce’s Google Analytics 4 Report? 

  • Yes. GCommerce has prepared a simple agreement for execution. 

Can you amortize the setup fee? 

  • Yes. The integration fee can be split up into equal payments in addition to the monthly fee over 12 months. 

Why can’t I see historical data within my GA4 account?

  • Google Analytics 4 commences tracking once the account is created and scripts are integrated on your website.

Does the GCommerce GA4 Report include booking engine production?

  • Absolutely. GCommerce is experienced in retrieving booking engine data, including transactions, room nights, room products, and revenue within most commonly used CRS platforms. 

What access do I need to get started? 

  • To integrate Google Analytics 4 on your website, GCommerce will need account level access to your existing Google Analytics account, access to your Google Tag Manager profile, and CMS access to your website. Access to your booking engine is also needed for any transactional data. 

Google Analytics 4 vs. The Cookieless World | Google Analytics Update

SHARE:

Cookies or Cookieless. There’s been a lot of buzz among marketers about the timing of the Google Analytics 4 roll out. A few weeks back, Google made the announcement they were prolonging the timeline for their privacy sandbox push as publishers, browsers, advertisers and other 3rd parties were clamoring to roll out the approved version of tracking in the cookieless world.  

This announcement doesn’t apply to Google Analytics and their rollout of GA4. Google knows that while 3rd parties begin to develop cookieless technologies, its analytics platform must be the foundation for measurement.  

Their push for Google Analytics 4 adoption is obvious. With nearly half of all the websites across the web running analytics, Google is pushing GA4 right inside their account creation. Here is a screenshot of the set-up process which highlights Google’s emphasis on GA4. (You’ll see “Google Analytics 4” highlighted)

If you’re a current Google Analytics user, it’s important to upgrade to the latest version. GCommerce has been running both GA3/GUA alongside GA4 to understand the difference in data and measurement. For the month of June, we saw significant decreases in revenue within our GA3 profiles. 

Our tests have shown that Google UA underreports Organic by 33%, Paid Search by 26%, and Referral by as much as 51% when compared to the attribution of GA4. This could be for a couple reasons:

  • Legacy cookie tracking (GA3/GUA) is starting to deprecate as the cookieless world grows closer, creating data gaps for major revenue channels
  • Advanced attribution models based on the new “engaged users” provides more transparency through the booking funnel

You want to have the latest analytics technology available for measurement, and that means upgrading to Google Analytics 4. GA4 will work with legacy cookie technologies along with new best practices as we move towards the cookieless world. There’s no reason to wait. Contact the experts at GCommerce today.

KEEP READING