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Converting High-Value Visitors: Swissotel’s Profitable Insights from Advanced Segments

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | 7:21 AM

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Barbara Pezzi joined Swissotel Hotels and Resorts in 2001. As Director of Web Marketing, Barbara is responsible for developing and managing Swissotel’s search engine optimization, search engine marketing and web analytics and for managing their pay-per-click campaigns in Google AdWords. Barbara has been active in the hospitality industry for over 15 years.

With so much data available in tools like Google Analytics, it’s easy to get sidetracked and overwhelmed by all the options for optimising my digital marketing spend. When in doubt, I tend to stick to the “follow the money” principle, and ask:
  • Where am I spending my money and is it working? 
  • Who is giving my business money and how can I get more? 
I can start to find answers to these questions with advanced segments in Google Analytics. Most of you probably know that a segment is a subset of your data. Usually, it refers to a subset of visitors whose behaviour you’d like to see and analyse. For example, you may want to analyse only “Paid Traffic” or “Organic Traffic” and compare these segments side-by-side in reports. I use advanced segments to understand the behaviour of my paid visitors and to answer questions like “What happened after paid visitors clicked on an ad” and “How does the behaviour of paid visitors differ from the behaviour of organic visitors from the same countries or markets?”

Recently, we used advanced segments to improve our advertising campaigns for paid visitors from different countries. We run Google AdWords campaigns in Australia, the US and the UK for one of our Singapore properties. The goal of the campaign is to drive sales by getting prospective customers to click on our AdWords ads and then make a purchase on our site. I let the campaign run for a few weeks and then I begin to optimise it. To do this, I first create advanced segments for paid visitors from Australia, the US and the UK. Each campaign has a unique name, as illustrated in the screenshot below.


This segment enables me to compare the e-commerce conversion rate of paid visitors - or the percent of paid visitors that make a purchase on my site - with the e-commerce conversion rate of organic visitors. 


Digging deeper, I can compare additional metrics such as “average order value” to analyse how much paid visitors from each country typically order.


Based on the above, I can quickly establish that paid visitors from the UK spend twice as much as their Australian and American counterparts in a single transaction. But our site gets fewer visits from the UK compared to the US and Australia, and I see room for improvement in our conversion rates from paid UK visitors.

From there, it’s a natural progression to segment further and analyse what our AdWords visitors from the UK were doing on our site and what content they’re consuming. I create a new segment specifically for paid visitors from the UK.

This segment gives me more insight into how I can make my site more attractive to paid visitors from the UK. I know, for instance, that UK visitors spend much more time viewing our rooms and restaurants compared with Australians, who favour the promotions and packages section of the site. With this information, I can tailor my ad texts and landing pages and place greater emphasis on “beautiful rooms and suites” for UK visitors and “great deals” for Australians visitors.

After a few months of optimisation, we have more than doubled our number of visits and transactions from the UK campaign and maintained the initial high average order value. The post-optimisation campaign results speak for themselves. By segmenting and refining our campaign, we were able to almost double our e-commerce conversion rate and, more importantly, to improve our per-visit value metric significantly.



As you can see, advanced segments have been a huge asset to me in understanding who my visitors are and what they enjoy about our business offering. My parting words of advice are “keep on segmenting!”


Watch out for more posts from Barbara in the near future. If you want to hear more about how Barbara takes full advantage of Google Analytics, read her first post here, and watch her videos here and here.

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