As we hurtle towards what industry experts believe will be the tremendous return of summer tourism, many of our small- and medium-sized tourism businesses are returning to their steadfast pre-pandemic digital advertising and visitor marketing strategies.  

But wait! If these are old strategies, are they still the best solution? Or is this a good time to take a fresh look at your metrics and optimize your visitor marketing strategy in preparation for the summer?

Check out this list of our top-six must-watch marketing metrics for tourism businesses this summer. If you’re not already looking at this data, I’d wager these insights will help you bring your strategies up to speed and running lean before the sunburn sets in. 

Click-through Rate

Your click-through rate (CTR) is the total clicks on your digital ads divided by the total number of times your ad delivered on a web page. If your ad delivered 15,000 impressions and 300 people clicked on it, you have a 300/15,000 = 2% CTR. (Note: while a 2% CTR may seem pretty lousy, it’s actually quite good. By comparison, and depending who you ask, old-fashioned digital display banners typically deliver a fraction of one percent CTR.) 

Several factors may impact CTR, but one of the most notable is ad message relevancy —  meaning, is your message relevant to the needs and interests of the visitor audience? 

Content that is more relevant to the visitor’s interests will see more clicks. Voila, a higher CTR. Conversely, if your CTR is running a little low, consider the possibility that visitors can’t quite relate to your message, and that’s why they’re not clicking on your ad. It’s time to change it up.

If this has got you thinking about highlighting promo codes and price breaks in your content, you’re headed down the wrong road. The visitor is looking for ideas, inspiration, and help planning a destination experience. Updating your creative to highlight an experiential promise to the visitor will go a long way in increasing clicks on your ads and new customer leads. Consider things like the emotional benefit of family memories or a romantic getaway or the planning utility of your store’s proximity to nearby attractions as a functional benefit. 

Aligning your business offerings with a visitor’s need will generate clicks and customers. And it’s all reflected in your CTR.

Mother and child on ipad

Time on Site & Bounce Rate

If you’re not totally familiar with these metrics, that’s okay and maybe par for the course with our smaller tourism business partners. But it’s definitely something you should ask your web team about.

Time on site (now called session duration) is a Google Analytics metric that reports the average time a user spends perusing your website content, reported in a number of minutes. Bounce rate is the percentage of users who enter your website but never go to a second page.

Together, these metrics indicate a good (or not so much) marriage between what the users expected to find on the site after clicking on an ad and what was actually there. If, after starting a campaign, you see a lift in your time spent on site and a drop in your bounce rate, your users are finding enough value in your ad content to click on it and then hanging out longer on your website. This is a very good indicator that your ad creative is well aligned with the visitor’s interests and that your website content is properly tooled to retain their interest and move them closer to purchase.

On the other hand, an increased bounce rate and a shorter time on site may indicate a serious mismatch between the value commitment in your ads and what the visitor found on your website. And potentially a missed opportunity to create new customers.

Both of these metrics are comparative benchmarks that can be impacted by any number of things on your site. Meaning, there’s not necessarily a “good” or “bad”. But there is “better” or “worse.” If you have questions about these, I recommend asking your web team.

Micro Conversions

“At the end of the day,” you may be thinking, “I just want to know if they bought something.” But hold on a sec. Marketing is about creating relationships as much as making the sale. 

A micro conversion is one of a variety of ways visitors can engage with you before they book or buy. This can be engaging with a social media post, signing up for your newsletter, adding something to their online shopping cart, or downloading your menu. 

Setting up micro conversion points on your end takes a bit of planning. But knowing where visitors are engaging with your business (or not) will likely reveal insights that can help guide your visitor marketing efforts.

For example, are people sharing your social posts? Is your session duration higher or lower? How much opportunity is sitting in abandoned shopping carts? 

Consider what micro conversion points you have in your customer’s experience with your business and start thinking about ways to drive visitors to those points so you can start capturing data insights and updating your strategy to move those customers across the finish line.

Coffee shop

Customer Sentiment & Willingness to Recommend

So the visitor customer buys something from you and leaves? What next? Well, they take to social media and customer review sites and start talking about you! To friends. To strangers. And to other prospective customers who are in your market right now. 

As visitors are continuously looking at this stuff while they’re in your market, I can’t overstate the importance of having at least a general idea of what’s going on here. These are real opportunities to drive new customers into your business today. More than that, both satisfied and dissatisfied customers are being very vocal about their experience with your business. And other visitors are listening. 

But what does it look like? How many positive and negative reviews did you receive last week? To how many did you respond? Do these comments indicate a recurring issue that may be impacting return visits and that you need to address?

Getting a pulse on customer satisfaction — especially customer dissatisfaction — takes just a few minutes a week and can mean the difference between new, paying customers and a giant missed opportunity. 

The good news is these metrics are readily available to you and your team and easy to calculate. And remember that this is about high-level insights. Don’t get too caught up in putting this all into a fancy spreadsheet. A general understanding of how these things are trending will likely be enough to make meaningful changes to your visitor marketing strategies — and to your bottom line.