Hospitality marketers building new websites or revamping existing ones have to decide how best to deploy across multiple platforms: PC, tablet and mobile. Much of the decision-making is about responsive design versus platform-specific, along with whether to build elements as standalone apps or browser apps. Unfortunately, one area that usually is neglected is the most appropriate tracking and analytics for the new ecosystem. As you decide how to design your next-generation website and make it work across all types of platforms, carefully map out the ways your customers, prospects and stakeholders use each platform when they engage with your business. In the hotel business, needs and intent are not the same from PC to tablet to smartphone, so your site and analytics must align to these variations. Customize your analytics so that reports tell you how well each platform delivers on the needs of your customers in that particular context and aligns with the goals of your business. Here are six effective ways to address the analytics challenge of multi-platform websites and make sure that tracking and success measures are fundamental to your design from the start. 1. Align Channels to Business Goals The first step in designing a new web presence, and in building the analytical platform, is to have a good map that relates the website to your business goals. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but ask five people in your company how they think the website contributes to the business and you could quite easily get five unrelated answers. PC/Browser - Design Goals: Branding and personalized content delivery - Commerce Goals: Search optimization, shopping/engagement, bookings, post-sales support and upsell/cross-sell, etc. - Task Support: General research, comparisons, selection and purchase/conversion, post-conversion support Tablet - Design Goals: Branding and shareable features - Commerce Goals: Engagement with imagery, search optimization, app downloads, shopping/engagement, bookings, post-sales support and upsell/cross-sell, etc. - Task Support: Email campaigns, search and research, comparisons, purchase/conversion, post-conversion support, mobility tasks including on-site Mobile - Design Goals: Brand style guide alignment, short paths to goals - Commerce Goals: Email landing pages, local/contextual activity and conversions, wayfinding (finding the hotel) - Task Support: Email campaigns, on-site search (retail) and price comparisons, conversion (growing opportunity), mobility tasks, near-field search (‘finding’ tasks), etc. 2. Key Performance Indicators by Platform – Context is King When your customers search for your hotel on a web browser on their PC and are in another country, they are probably planning a trip, so you need to provide an array of planning and conversion information; when they search for your hotel on a mobile device and they are in the city, they are probably trying to find the hotel – so give the address and phone number. Web designers are still learning this critical distinction – the need to map out the most common use cases – by platform and context – in advance of the design, and then design paths through the site, including typical cross-platform jumps. Each use case will spawn a few performance indicators that need to be tracked. One size does not fit all. 3. Channel-Specific Reports It’s tempting to set up your report suite with simple filters to let you see all reports by platform. Now that you have been thinking of the context of each platform and the intended uses, you know that this approach biases the interpretation of results. For many companies, the website is still the largest activity channel (visits, views that sort of thing). This means the website will be disproportionately valued for certain interactions because it’s still far and away the largest source of digital transactions and will obscure trends emerging in other platforms. Instead, design a set of reports for each platform, along with a master roll-up that shows you how all the activity adds up. Run the reports multiple times, one for each main attribution technique (first-touch, last-touch, linear, mostly-first, mostly-last, that sort of thing. This will depend on the capabilities of your analytics tools). Only by seeing the differences in the reports will you get a sense of the aggregate impact of each channel on the overall contribution to your business. Here are a couple of ways of thinking about platform-specific reports. 4. Web browser - Emphasis on Conversion metrics - Secondary: Traffic and engagement activity (downloads, video views, etc.) 5. Mobile - Traffic (by channel, mainly email, search, referral and direct matter) - Successful task completion (for example, one-page visits on a mobile site should not be considered a “bounce” if there is contact information or some content relevant to a mobile use case on the page) Marketers that can integrate thinking about business outcomes, the context options of each platform and the needs of customers and prospects as they move through the sales cycle will almost always design a better website. This is better for both the customers and the company. Related Link: Acronym