Online travel agencies deploy the most internal systems to monitor web usage and behaviour, a study reveals.
Strategy firm Lima Consulting Group and ObservePoint, a digital marketing auditing company, examined 140 global travel brands to see how they and their "marketing technologies" performed.
The sites fall in five categories: OTAs, online hotel booking sites, branded sites offering hotels, airlines, and car rental sites.
Tags, a snippet of code, are generally inserted into a website’s template to track various parameters around user behaviour and performance of technology.
Such marketing technologies include Adobe Analytics, Ensighten, Tealium, Google Analytics, BrightTag, Webtrends, Coremetrics, Monetate, Domo, and ClickTale.
The study discovered a total of 1,443 tags across all 140 travel brands audited (LCG maintains a list of around 2,000 services).
Lima-ObservePoint have four key takeaways for the travel industry as a result of analysing the results:
1. OTA sites lead in deploying the most marketing technologies
Among the travel sectors audited, OTAs lead the chart with maximum number of marketing technologies deployed.
Hotel brand websites have the least implementation of marketing technologies. Within the hotel category, global hotel brands deploy 88% more marketing technologies than average, and twice as many as regional hotel chains.
47% of travel websites have just 0-5 tags implemented, 37% sites have 6-10 tags, and about 12% sites have 20+ tags.
Among the 140 travel sites audited, the top five sites with the highest number of marketing technologies area:
Below graph details the percentage split of marketing technologies adoption within each travel sector.
Measuring Return on Marketing Technologies (RoMT):
There are four major factors that can affect RoMT.
1) Incomplete tag presence:
- Websites are considered to be 100% adhering to tag-completeness when all of the site’s pages have tags. An incomplete tag presence indicates that website analytics tools are less accurate, and hence leading to incorrect data reporting.
- In terms of tag completeness, airlines and hotels rank the lowest, with an average of 84.3% tag presence and 88.2% tag presence, respectively.
- While only about 15% of the website pages lack tag presence, the study points out that many of these (15%) pages are generally the most important pages such as the shopping cart, order entry pages and other pages that are dynamically generated.
2) High average page load time
- Airlines have the highest average site load time followed by hotel websites.
4) High rates of data duplication
2. Free vs paid analytics tool usage
33% of the travel brands audited have deployed some type of tag management solution (TMS), and 50% of these sites use free analytics solutions.
Airlines and hotel brand sites have the highest implementation of TMS.
The study says that almost 50% of travel sites audited have installed Google Analytics – a free tool. Among the paid tools, Adobe Site Catalyst was the most used.
3. Impact of TMS websites vs load time, site quality, and performance
Site compliance is an indication of site performance and quality, measured by the percentage of Status 200-compliant pages - higher the Status 200 percentage, the better the site quality.
4. Accurate site performance data helps in better decision making
Among the travel categories audited, cars rental sites scored the highest OP score of 79.3, an increase of 6.7% compared to the average score of 74.3 across all site categories.
The study also claims that travel websites (regardless of TMS implementation or not) have greater complexity compared to top retail websites it audited in an another study. The complexity was measured by the average number of marketing technologies deployed.
Also, the study points out that the OP score was higher for retail e-commerce sites than travel sites, thereby highlighting the opportunity for travel websites to optimize site performance.
NB: The entire study can be downloaded here.
NB 1:Marketing image via Shutterstock.