Your Marketing Cyborg: Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid Of AI Marketing

SHARE:

There seems to be a general disdain towards artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing, though marketers should learn to love the technology. Humans are the backbone of marketing, but there is so much to gain from the assistance of AI. As computerized marketing becomes more common, these tools are becoming absolutely necessary for success in the field. Instead of resisting AI, marketers need to embrace the technology and function as a Marketing Cyborg - a carefully balanced blend of human and mechanical parts. 

Pros And Cons Of AI In Marketing

The biggest problem that most marketers have with AI is the loss of control that comes with automation. Humans are always a little scared to let external forces run parts of our lives, and this fear is only exacerbated in situations like marketing, where control is already somewhat limited. Even with the perfect messaging, channel, and audience targeting, results aren’t guaranteed. There are so many uncontrollable factors in this field; why would you voluntarily hand over even more control to a computer?

Well, because it ultimately works in your favor. Marketers are always working to optimize their campaigns, and AI makes it much easier to bridge this gap. Computers may not be perfect, but even the most genius marketing professionals can’t compete with AI’s capacity for learning and prediction. There will always be some level of guesswork involved in marketing, but AI is able to very reliably point marketers in the right direction. In a landscape with so many unknown variables, this is invaluable, and the marketing industry should not turn up its nose at an easy way to increase efficiency. Control is great, but it’s important to recognize the limitations of the human workforce. 

But what about the limitations of machines? The human eye has a unique propensity for things like tone and personality, and these elements are often vital to the success of a marketing campaign. AI is surprisingly good at quantifying an audience and predicting their interests, but there’s a big difference between knowing what someone wants to see and actually creating it. AI isn’t ready to take over the more qualitative and artistic side of marketing, so human input is still needed in marketing to fill in the gaps.

The Marketing Cyborg

There are problems with both human and AI marketing, but that’s exactly why the Marketing Cyborg is so important. Not entirely man, nor entirely machine, cyborgs are an incredibly powerful entity. They are capable of almost anything, and this is exactly why marketers need to stop resisting the future of AI. Consider some of the most successful companies in the world right now. Amazon, Facebook, Google - AI is built into the very fabric of these businesses, and that’s no coincidence. It’s clear that consumers respond to AI, and the marketing industry could greatly benefit from embracing the technology.  

The fears surrounding AI marketing are completely reasonable. Giving up control is hard, and there is a certain human quality to marketing that AI simply can not replicate. However, enhancing our abilities with mechanical parts does not mean we have to give up everything. Cyborgs are the perfect mix of man and machine, and this is what marketers should strive to be. Marketers must embrace the future of AI, working alongside these tools for the greatest chance at success. When humans and AI are able to work in harmony, it creates an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. 

GCyborg Solutions

The marketing team at GCommerce understands the value of AI, and we’re constantly working to embrace the technology. Both our search and digital marketers use AI marketing tools to increase efficiency and optimize performance, and we’re better for it. 

The entire foundation of search marketing is built on AI, so rejecting the technology isn’t an option for our search marketers. Search engines use bots to determine what users want to see, and a search marketer’s job is based on understanding and manipulating these AI for optimal results. If GCommerce were afraid to work alongside AI, our search marketing team wouldn’t exist, and we would miss out on a massive opportunity to increase visibility and web traffic for our clients. 

Within search marketing, AI marketing tools are particularly useful for advertising. Dynamically generated ads, smart bidding, and campaign recommendations make it easier for our team to learn about audiences, improve ad performance, and test new strategies. While this is all possible without AI, the technology makes everything much faster and more efficient, leaving our search marketers with extra time for research and experimentation to better utilize search bots to our advantage.

The benefits of AI marketing don’t stop at our search team, though. Just like search advertising, digital marketing would technically be possible without AI. However, ad personalization and specific audience targeting are what make digital marketing so lucrative, and AI makes it easier for our team to serve the right ads to the right people. AI marketing tools help take the guesswork out of digital marketing, leaving our team with more time to work on creative, original ads that drive results for our clients. 

As a company, GCommerce is always pushing boundaries to provide the best possible service for our clients. Our marketing team is constantly working to improve in this area, but human ability only goes so far. By embracing AI marketing tools and functioning as a Marketing Cyborg, the GCommerce marketing team is able to elevate our work to a level far beyond what’s possible with human marketing alone. 
So what are you afraid of? Contact one of our marketing experts for more information on AI marketing or becoming a Marketing Cyborg.

What Does Apple’s iOS 15 Update Mean For Hotel Email Marketing?

SHARE:

Earlier this summer at it’s WWDC event, Apple announced a preview of feature changes coming to it’s devices with the new iOS 15 update. While the previous iOS 14 update took aim at paid media advertising through app tracking, iOS 15 privacy updates centered its focus towards email marketing through tracking within the Apple Mail inbox. GCommerce, and the entire digital marketing industry, immediately took notice and started to analyze the potential impact this update will have on email marketing. Set to be released sometime this fall, possibly later this month, we’ve been closely following this news.

What email specific features are included in the Apple iOS 15 update?

The two features that are positioned to have the biggest impact on email marketing include the Mail Privacy Protection and Hide My Email features. 

  1. Mail Privacy Protection - Apple states that this new feature “hides your IP address so senders can’t link it to your other online activity or determine your location. And it prevents senders from seeing if and when you’ve opened your email”. This feature is included in iOS15 but is not a default opt-in. The user will have to navigate to features and take action to implement the feature. This may have an impact on adoption rate.
  2. Hide My Email - according to Apple, this feature “instantly generate(s) unique, random email addresses that forward to your personal inbox - so you don’t have to share your email address when filling out a form on the web or signing up for a newsletter”. While important, this feature does incur an additional fee to use, so it’s yet to be seen as to what the adoption rate by users will be.

What do these Apple iOS 15 changes mean for my hotel’s email marketing?

  1. It will impact open rate measurement - The Mail Privacy Protection feature will directly impact your ability to measure email open rates as well as use IP address to understand geo-location of a user which will impact your ability to use schedule send time based on IP location. Over the years Open rate has been the go-to metric to understand the initial engagement of your email’s content and subject lines. WPromote has indicated that within it’s beta tests, open rates appear to be over reported but a lot is still left to be understood when the full release happens. Revinate also indicated that “Revinate emails opened with Apple Mail are only in the single digits,” so the release should not have a “major impact on our metrics or ability to evaluate campaign engagement”. 
  2. Clicks, CTR and Revenue remain as the most important KPIs - While Open Rate may become less of a focus for email marketers, the true measure of success will continue to be placed on clicks, CTR and ultimately the revenue produced. You should focus your testing around creative, content and promotions based on these KPIs.
  3. Greater importance of robust 1st party guest profiles - If your hotel is not already using a eCRM platform such as Revinate to obtain guest preference information and tap into rich guest profile information for advanced segmentation strategies you will be missing out on methods to ensure engagement and revenue generation are maximized from your email marketing efforts.
  4. It could hurt deliverability rates - The auto-generating of unique, random email addresses by Hide My Email could result in higher bounce rates and emails sent to spam folders and is something to monitor.

What should we do now to prepare our hotel’s email marketing for the Apple iOS 15 update?

While a lot of the impact from the launch of Apple iOS 15 is unknown at this point, there are steps you can take to try and mitigate it. Most of these center around previous recommendations made in response to other privacy measures including previous updates from Apple, Facebook, Google and other tech platforms. 

  1. Prioritize collecting and expanding 1st party data and guest profiles.
  2. Focus on delivering valuable content, promotions and packaging to their target audiences. One way to continue to understand what type of content engages their audiences is to monitor and test messaging across various media types including search, social and display. 
  3. Focus testing on content components within the body of the email vs focusing on subject line open rates for success. Since we will potentially have less understanding of subject line performance, consider pulling ideas from other media channel ads such as paid search or social.
  4. Continue to build your brand awareness across all channels to encourage brand recognition and higher CTRs for all types of marketing campaigns.

Have additional questions on the recent Apple iOS 14 or 15 updates and how it impacts your hotel’s digital marketing? Please reach out to one of the experts at GCommerce, we look forward to connecting with you.

Hotel Takeaways From Google Marketing Live 2021

SHARE:

What is Google Marketing Live?

Last week, (May 27th) Google had their Marketing Live event. For those that are unfamiliar with the event, these generally feature some updates from Google that are worthwhile to pay attention to. Here, we will review some of the top takeaways for hotels from Google Marketing Live 2021.

Google Hotel Ads Shared with Text Ad Feeds

This was probably the announcement from Marketing Live that will have the most impact for hotels. Prior to this update, Google Hotel Ads (ads you see with the ability to adjust dates stayed) and Text Ads (ads you see on the results page of Google) were entirely separate. Now, Hotel Ads can be featured within Text Ads. This is a clear signal that Google is investing more into Hotel Ads and attempting to increase exposure and visibility for this channel. If your hotel is not currently using Google Hotel Ads, you could be missing out on an opportunity where OTAs will capture the valuable direct bookings in this space.

What Does Google Hotel Ads in Text Ads Mean for Hotels?

There are many things to speculate about in terms of competition, ad volume and performance. For example, if you are not on Google Hotel Ads, will that impact your quality score or CTR if you are not sharing pricing data with Google text ads? Will this increase in price data impact CTRs for hotels? Will it increase search volume as more people “price shop”? Will it decrease volume on actual Google Hotel Ad searches as more people find pricing info directly in their search results? 

While there is a lot that we can guess, the obvious reason for Google putting Hotel Ad data in Text Ad results to promote bookings through that channel. We are not entirely sure how this new feature will work yet, but generally with more exposure comes higher potentials for costs. GCommerce will certainly be evaluating this feature for our metasearch clients. Stay tuned to our blog as we should be posting updates on these changes from Google and impacts we are seeing from these announcements.

 Vacation Rentals Now Showing in Google Hotel Ad Results

Google has previously had different filtering options where you could see results based on hotels, vacation rentals, etc. With this new update, Google is now including vacation rentals right in the results for Google Hotel Ads. In the past, generally when we have seen the competition within a given channel increase, either the cost of that channel increases or we lose the ability to capture as much of the market share as we previously could. By adding in vacation rentals to Google Hotel Ads, this could increase the volume and competition that hotels are competing against. The good news is that 68% of Business Travelers still prefer hotels along with 40% of Leisure Travelers, so perhaps this addition will allow users that do not wish to stay at vacation rentals to more easily hone their searches to the types of hotels they are searching for. This development means that it will be important for hotels to be more savvy with their ad targeting to ensure they are capturing the most qualified audiences. 

Expansion of 1st Party Customer Match Data

For those that are unfamiliar with Customer Match, this allows you to upload customer email lists and then remarket to those audiences within Google’s suite of ad services. If you have been following the changes with 3rd party cookies/data and the discussion around data privacy, this one will seem like a natural progression. Google is expanding the rules around uploading 1st party data, making it easier for advertisers to target these users. 1st party data is different from 3rd party data as it is information that you are collecting directly from your customers (email, website, forms, etc) rather than from a 3rd party service (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc). 

Google Ads Insights Page Now Includes Demand Forecast

This could be helpful for hotels looking at when to increase or decrease their advertising based on demand; Google now offers a demand forecast with their Insights Trends. As we discussed above, increased demand generally either means increases in costs or less visibility. Knowing when these demand increases are likely to happen can help you plan and forecast spend for better returns.

Screenshot of Google Ads Insights page

Google Ads Image Extensions

Google Ads image extensions were previously in Beta for most customers and GCommerce has been testing these with our clients where they are available. Initial results show that Image Extensions have higher CTRs than any other extensions other than Location Extensions. After the Google Marketing Live announcement, Image Extensions will be rolling out for all accounts. 

Screenshot of Google Ads Image Extension

Target Return on Ad Spend Bid Strategy Now Available For Google Video Ads

As advertising becomes more reliant on Artificial Intelligence and data modeling, it is important to be able to test these robust tools to see which ones are most effective at improving your marketing. We have been regularly testing different bid strategies for hotel marketing and having another one for us to test with Video Ads is another tool in the kit that we can utilize to drive improved results for clients. 

Focus On The Authenticity of Your Brand Story

This seemed to be a major theme throughout the Marketing Live event. With keynote speakers that included Immanuel Acho (best selling author) and Alicia Keys (award winning musician), there was a big emphasis on how to prepare yourself for a future of commerce that includes displaying your brand story. When evaluating the increased travel demand and how hotels can market to Gen Z, we really saw this come to life. With an increased adoption of smart devices, Gen Z has an expectation that they will be able to share the experiences of their travels with their friends, family and followers. In evaluating a potential hotel, the experience that a guest can expect to have is one of the best ways that a hotel can connect with that potential customer. While there are many options in building your Brand Story, connecting the travel experience of your hotel with your guests has proven to be very effective.

Other Announcements

There were certainly other announcements and for anyone passionate about marketing with Google we certainly encourage you to watch the entire two hour event, but in our opinion, the above details are the major takeaways for hotels. While the other announcements such as increases to Product Feeds and Local Inventory Ads had us on the edge of our seats, they probably aren’t pertinent to hotels so we will skip them for this write up.

What Does All This Mean, What Should Hotels Do Now?

In all of our years in the hotel space, this is certainly the most interesting time we can remember. Never have we seen a global event that has impacted travel as we have in the last 15 months. The Covid-19 pandemic was also different in that the world has never seen such a fast potential recovery to health and the economy as we are seeing with the rapid deployment of vaccines. Already a large percentage of the United States population is fully vaccinated and very unlikely to contract or spread the virus, according to the CDC. The rebound for travel is expected to be swift and immense. The summer of 2021 is likely to see demand that we have not seen since before the pandemic and global travel could recover to levels higher than before the pandemic as early as 2023

As we discussed above, this increase in demand is also usually accompanied by an increase in competition and costs. While it is great to see people booking, the real question is what are hotels able to pay to acquire those bookings? As we see an inevitable return to travel, we are also likely to see a squeeze in the market and an increase in travel costs. If hotels think that their advertising costs will be exempt from those price increases, they are likely in for a different reality. 

Now more than ever, hotels need to be incredibly strategic with their marketing dollars. While it is easier than ever to reach an audience that is primed to book travel digitally, being strategic with those advertising dollars will ensure that you are able to continue to stay ahead of the competition and make up for much needed lost revenue. 

Contact GCommerce Solutions today to better understand your hotel’s digital marketing strategies after these updates from Google Marketing Live 2021.

The Importance of Rate Parity for Hotel Websites

SHARE:

What Is Rate Parity?

While “rate parity” might sound like a complicated idea, it’s something that we are all familiar with. For hotels, it is simply maintaining consistent rates across distribution channels. Sometimes it is a good strategy for hotel’s NOT to be in rate parity; you have an upcoming period with low reservations, run a flash sale through Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and hopefully you can get some last-minute bookings through a variety of channels that would be impossible for you to advertise on without their network. However, for most hotels at most times, driving direct reservations through the official website is a main priority. If this is the case for your hotel, then you want to focus efforts to ensure that your hotel is within rate parity and users are not able to get a different rate elsewhere.

Example of Hotel in Rate Parity

Screenshot of Google Hotels highlighting Eau Palm Beach Resort

Example of Hotel out of Rate Parity

Screenshot of Google Hotels highlighting Boca Beach Hotel

Why is Rate Parity Important for Hotels?

A study conducted in the US found that 85% of consumers listed price as the most important factor in where and when they make a purchase. Reliability, choice and convenience were the other factors that helped determine a particular purchase decision.

If you think about your own shopping habits, there have probably been times you have been confronted with a purchase decision at a supermarket or a mall. You see two very similar items, you expect to get the same “value” out of both of those items, so you end up choosing the one that is lower in price.

Hotels are a bit different. The reliability, choice and convenience certainly play a larger role than compared to the purchase on a loaf of bread. However, the end product is usually exactly the same, a night in a hotel room. This is where hotels need to distinguish themselves with the advantage of delivering a quality guest experience, building on a rewards or frequent traveler program for repeat guests and providing incentives to book direct. However, there are still consumers out there that will choose to book through an OTA or similar channel simply because the price is cheaper.

How can hotels can help protect against consumers that are price comparing? If your hotel is in rate parity, and potential guests are not able to book a lower rate outside of your hotel, then there are no price incentives to drive them to book through an outside channel.

Why Rate Parity is Important in Digital Marketing?

It is estimated that the average guest at your hotel will visit your website about 5 times prior to booking a room. During that time, they are likely visiting social media sites, reading reviews, researching their vacation, etc. We call the process from research to reservation, the “booking funnel” and a proper digital marketing strategy will target different areas of the funnel to help guide a user to a direct booking on your website. If your hotel is not in rate parity, this could be impacting several different areas of your hotel’s booking funnel and digital marketing strategy.

We have observed GCommerce clients whose annual Organic Traffic rates decline as much as 22% when they are not in rate parity. During that time, the properties saw a marked increase in the percentage of revenue from OTA contributions. Considering that Organic Traffic is “free” (you don’t necessarily pay-per-click or for impressions), this is a huge decline in direct revenue for the property and in turn we had to increase digital marketing costs to make up for that decline in Organic Traffic.

Your hotel’s digital marketing strategy might be utilizing Display or Facebook Prospecting Ads. This is a great way to get in front of new customers and help grow the brand awareness for your property. You could be spending very efficiently and targeting the exact right audience, however, as those same individuals that interact with a Display or Facebook ad continue on their booking journey, it is very likely we will lose some of them to OTAs, especially if they are incentivized by a lower rate.

This is kind of a “double-whammy” where your hotel could be paying money to help bring potential guests into your sales funnel with digital ads, only to also pay a percent commission on those bookings when those users are inevitably enticed to book with a lower rate on an OTA.

When Is It OK To Be Out Of Rate Parity?

Much like all online businesses, OTAs are in a very competitive field battling for the same consumer dollars that you are. They organize hotel results on their sites based on price and rate parity as they are also trying to provide the best booking experience for their guest.

Understanding the market that you are in (bigger markets = more competition) and understanding your hotel’s needs can help you appear higher in OTA results for specific dates than your competitors. Taking this information into account, along with need periods from the hotel, being out of rate parity can actually be an effective strategy to drive short term bookings. However, due to the cost of acquisition on an OTA commission in comparison to the cost of acquisition on a direct booking, this is not an effective long-term strategy that we would recommend to clients, although it can be impactful at times.

How To Build A Balanced Digital Marketing Strategy Around Direct Bookings

While the OTAs can certainly be a powerful tool to utilize at times, at GCommerce, we recommend a balanced digital marketing strategy that focuses on direct bookings. Incentivizing guests to book direct is about more than just having the best, or an equal rate, it’s about well-adjusted strategies that help build brand recognition and customer loyalty. Your hotel digital marketing strategies should be focused on the potential audience in your sales funnel, focusing on the long-term sustainable competitive advantages that provide your guests with the value and experience they are looking for during their stay. At times, it may be necessary to provide better rates for OTAs, but the vast majority of the time, your hotel should be focused on increasing the digital marketing tactics that help increase the contribution of direct bookings and rate parity is a key aspect of such strategies.

Get Started On Your Hotel Digital Marketing Strategy Today

Contact GCommerce Solutions today to get your hotel on a digital marketing strategy to help drive direct bookings and lessen the contributions to your property from OTAs. 

Marketing Your Hotel to Generation Z

SHARE:

Catering to Millennials has been a main focus for about as long as millennials have existed as a consumer in the hotel and travel industry. But now hotels need to prepare their marketing strategies for the upcoming travelers.

Three people standing on the side of a road facing a sunset

Meet Generation-Z
Born in today's innovative technology, Gen Z is considered anyone born between 1997 and 2012. This means that as of 2021, the oldest members of Gen Z will be turning 24. Generations Z’s population size and future purchasing power make them a valuable market to start considering. Gen Z is the first generation of "digital natives," a term that signifies this generation doesn’t recall a time before Google, or a world without smartphones. That means they are more likely than any other generations to book and purchase online, giving you more reason to step up your hotel’s digital marketing strategy.

Understand Your Next Hotel Consumers
65% of Gen Z-ers ranked travel and seeing the world as most important when thinking about how to spend their money. This indicates that this generation is incredibly excited about traveling and seeing the world, and they have no intention of waiting until retirement to do so. Research shows that 32% of Gen Z-ers expect to check off at least 5 trips from their travel list over the next 10 years. This generation is certainly making travel bucket lists and is eager to cross some of them off as soon as possible.

Four young adults in the mountains

Gen Z Travel Preferences
One of the statistics on adventure travel is that 56% of Gen Z-ers want an authentic and adventurous experience. Advertising your hotel as a place of rest and relaxation, certainly is still going to reach a large audience, but Gen Z might not be looking for that relaxing vacation or relaxing stay, instead, they're looking for authentic and one-of-a-kind adventures and experiences that your hotel and surrounding area provide. Display ads can be used to attractively highlight destinations, and experiences in a way that allows Gen Z-ers to discover something authentic.

A row of people's hands holding smartphones

How They Engage With Brands

Since this generation spends so much time online, they spend a lot of time engaging with brands and doing research on them. Gen Z values reading reviews because they trust the opinions of past consumers and consider them into the cost they will be paying for a purchase. When you are considering to target Gen Z, reputation management would need to be a top priority when it comes to engagement.

Gen Z-ers have purchasing power

Graph of interest in hotel bookings for GenZ and Millennials

While looking at the average over time interest in hotel bookings for these two generations it is evident that Gen-Z’s interest has surpassed Millennials in recent years. Search volume around Generation Z surpassed millennials in 2017 and has been higher ever since. Within an internal research at GCommerce Solutions of revenue driven within our client portfolio we found that Gen Z-ers represented about 5% of $75m revenue in 2018-2019 and this grew to a 9% of $50m within 2020-2021, even with covid impacting they accounted for a good sum of hoteliers total revenue. The fact of the matter is, this generation now represents a significantly greater percentage of revenue than it did just a few years ago. It’s very likely this trend will continue, and hoteliers need to be prepared on how to appeal to them.

Tips To Attract Gen Z To Your Hotel

  • Target their FOMO through social media by showing them what they are missing by not visiting your property.
  • Focus on a unique experience. This generation wants locality, and adventure.
  • Inspire photo opportunities and provide GenZ memorable and "post-worthy" experiences to build their online presence.
  • You must have a strong digital presence. One way to build a digital footprint is by marketing experiences through display ads and social media.
  • Reach out to them before, during, and after their stay to become a part of the experience, as this generation is more likely to leave feedback and write/post about their stay.
  • Since they are digitally linked to a large number of people, they are more likely to promote a brand that executes.

Bottom line
It's time to find a marketing partner who understands how to connect with digital natives at every point of their journey. Start marketing to this demographic now to remain ahead of the pack as their buying power increases over the next decade. If you want to be a long-term player in the hospitality industry, you might want to invest in a dynamic marketing strategy. GCommerce Solutions is here to assist you in furthering your hospitality marketing efforts.

Five Things to Know about Google Analytics 4

SHARE:

By now, many of you have heard that Google is rolling out a new update for their analytics product, Google Analytics. Dubbed “GA4”, this new analytics update is part of a series of steps that will bridge the divide between database driven analytics and privacy concerns. For the sake of this blog, we won’t touch on Google’s grand plans of privacy considerations, instead I’ll impart some first hand knowledge of what’s inside GA4. 

Google Analytics’ usage across hotels is staggering. As a free tool, hoteliers have used Google Analytics to understand traffic, usage patterns, engagement rates, production values and campaign analysis. This one simple tool is now used by upwards of 50% of all websites across the web, or 80% of all websites that use a traffic analysis tool. You may be thinking, “yeah, ok great, why does this matter”? 

Any revolutionary update to a near-ubiquitous platform will set off ripples far and wide. It’s huge and any business owner, marketer, advertiser or service provider should look towards new ways of thinking about analytics. But first, a little history behind Google Analytics. 

In April of 2005, Google purchased a web analytics tool, Urchin. Google had a strong appetite for analytics after launching their AdWords platform a few years earlier. Their desire for data and performance was a welcome addition in their second iteration of GA when Adwords and Analytics could sync and share conversion data. The most widely used version of analytics is called “universal analytics” or “GA3” which advances the cross platform tracking capabilities. It’s important to note this version allows hotels and resorts to collect conversion data from booking engines and 3rd party technology partners. Google Analytics had finally come into their stride for hospitality. 

In late 2020, while the world was consumed with elections, viruses, and the holiday spirit, Google released GA 4 out of beta. It’s worth noting that the release of GA 4 coincides with other corporate strategies including their evolutionary vision of privacy. Most hoteliers think of GDPR or CCPA when “privacy” is brought up within industry conversations. But in all reality, the tech giants are continuing to tighten their grasp on the data they’ll allow us to view.  GA 4 is foundational to this strategy.

GA 4 is now the default profile for all new domains installing Google Analytics. The change from GA3 to GA4 will be quick and daunting for hoteliers to embrace.  There are some significant differences found within GA 4. Here are a few that every hotelier should be aware of:

  1. There’s a new user interface with new metrics. Marketers and hoteliers should not assume that the legacy reporting they are accustomed to will be available. Yes, there is similar data but the formatting is completely different. 
  2. It’s designed to be “future proof” and will work in the cookieless world to protect the end consumer. 
  3. Raw data can be ingested within Google’s BigQuery, their cloud based data warehouse. Partners like GCommerce now have a data stream directly from Google Analytics into Summit. Other marketing agencies will struggle if they don’t use BigQuery. 
  4. GA 4 will track events across “web & app” technologies. Simply put, the new, leaner version of GA along with Google Tag Manager will surface data across your website and your mobile app. This technology bridges the gap between web traffic and on property analytics. This is a huge opportunity for complex properties with multiple revenue outlets. 
  5. Quality over Quantity. Unlike GA 3, the newest iteration of Google Analytics is focused on “event” data instead of sessions or traffic. Many of the new reports with GA4 emphasize what a user does on your site/page/app instead of a raw count of how many users. As such, you will probably see a decrease in traffic once GA 4 is provisioned. 

These are just some of our preliminary thoughts/observations. GCommerce is deep within the testing phase of GA4. As of this publishing, we have more than a handful of clients in testing phases and will continue to share our findings. If you are not currently a GCommerce client and would like to know more about our cloud based reporting platform, Summit, including GA 4 provisioning, please contact us.

KEEP READING