By Simon Hall Jun 8 2021 Blog

Dashboard Reporting Best Practices for Travel Marketers

Travel marketers need to stay at optimum performance in order to compete and thrive in today’s fast-paced market. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic presented unique new challenges, travel marketers had to work overtime to advertise to their target audiences with the best deals at the right times to win customers.  

Whether you market for airlines, cruise liners, hotels, or in the travel entertainment industry, you need dashboard reports to keep performance on the side of cutting edge. 

Why Use Dashboards for Travel Marketing?

Serious travel marketers use myriad channels and strategies to reach their target audience and drive conversions. In order to optimize output, you need to regularly monitor performance for each. For accommodation and transportation businesses related to travel, near real-time insights are necessary to make the most relevant campaign decisions 

Based on your unique marketing strategy, you may need to observe reports for: 

  • Google Analytics  
  • Google Ads 
  • Different social media platforms
  • Email marketing  
  • Website performance  
  • Third-party ad platforms 

Switching back and forth between different channel reports and trying to stitch together a complete picture of performance just doesn’t cut it for most industries, especially those working in travel.  

That’s why creating a comprehensive dashboard report of KPIs from across your program is of paramount importance. Not only does it help you understand how your marketing initiatives work together, but it also makes it possible to link outcomes to other business operations and revenue statistics.  

Dashboard Reporting Best Practices for Travel Marketers

Just how valuable your dashboards are for optimizing marketing and operational performance depends greatly on how you piece them together. Here are some best practices for creating effective dashboards as a travel marketer:  

Track the Most Relevant KPIs

The key to success is putting the most essential metrics at the forefront. Which key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track hinges on your vertical and typical strategy to earn and maintain customers. 

KPIs in the Accommodation Industry

If you work for a hotel, there are a lot of factors that can impact performance, both operational and strategic. Besides your occupancy rate, per night rate, bookings, and check-ins, you should also be monitoring a selection key marketing performance metrics to optimize your efforts. Those may include:  

  • Total revenue  
  • ROAS (Return on ad spend) 
  • Site visitors 
  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per conversion (CPA)  

Other industry-specific metrics you should have in your dashboards comprise 

  • Average daily room rate (ADR) 
  • Occupancy  
  • Cancellations
  • Bookings
  • Average booking value  

By uploading your hotel occupancy and performance data to your dashboard, you can assess more specific performance indicators, namely bookings by room type or hotel location. More importantly, you can tie occupancy and revenue back to certain marketing initiatives that are driving results.  

KPIs in the Transportation Industry  

When marketing for airlines, cruise liners, and other types of travel-related transportation, there are many critical metrics you can monitor to optimize performance. Some general KPIs may be: 

  • Total revenue  
  • ROAS (Return on ad spend) 
  • Site visitors 
  • Conversion rate 
  • Cost per conversion (CPA)
  • Revenue (Traffic x Yield) 

Additional metrics to consider include: 

  • Capacity 
  • Utilization 
  • Available seats
  • Customer selling price (for variable pricing) 
  • Bucket closings  
  • Local versus flow 
  • Operating income (Revenue – Operating Expenses) 

Keeping marketing and sales performance KPIs in a centralized dashboard empowers you with both an overall snapshot of performance and the ability to develop a detailed understanding of how your site traffic and conversions lead to revenue.  

KPIs in the Recreation and Entertainment Industries

If your business provides tours, entertainment, or other recreational activities related to travel and tourism, these metrics should be top of mind: 

  • Site traffic  
  • Site traffic by source  
  • On-site conversion rate
  • In-person conversion rate 
  • Customer acquisition costs (CAC)  
  • Referral rate 
  • Cost of goods sold (COGS) 
  • Revenue  

Following these KPIs allows you to monitor the performance of all sorts of marketing efforts, such as optimizing for local search results and paid ad performance as well as the success of offline marketing initiatives.  

Use Multi-Touch Attribution

Most travel marketers use a variety of channels and strategies to reach their audiences and nurture leads to conversion – the likes of email, social, SEO, and PPC to name but a few. It’s tempting to keep your dashboards organized by creating different performance reports for each channel. However, this doesn’t allow you to see the big picture and understand how different marketing touchpoints work in unison to meet set goals. 

That’s why you should use a multi-touch attribution (MTA) model to see how specific channels and campaigns perform. This will empower you with insights into the incremental impact of each touchpoint on driving conversions.  

You can easily reflect MTA in your dashboard by tracking KPIs such as Conversion Rate and Cost Per Conversion. Using the right dashboard tool, you can dig into data and break down these KPIs to learn the impact of different channels, campaigns, and creative assets.  

Make It Visual 

All dashboard reports should include detailed visualizations that depict performance. Oftentimes these elements can tell you much more about performance at a glance than regular data reports. Employing dynamic aids like charts, graphs, and timelines can help you uncover what factors are influencing your KPIs. Your visuals can depict any of the following: 

  • Revenue by channel  
  • Geographic data (based on IP address) 
  • Attribution models of how various touch points influence the customer journey  
  • The impact of seasonality on different performance metrics  
  • Demographic trends  

When creating dashboards using sophisticated reporting technologyit’s easy to gain a deeper understanding of these driving factors in just a few clicks. With interactive visuals, you can hover over widgets to get more detailed data, filter by different metrics, and adjust date ranges to get the insights you need in real-time.  

Tie Marketing KPIs Back to Business Metrics  

Your marketing performance reports shouldn’t exist in a silo away from other key organizational data. Marketing, sales, and day-to-day business management are all linked to each other. There is no way to grasp these connections and optimize performance without analyzing data holistically. 

A hotel marketer, for example, might discover that their advertising strategy in the off-season increases bookings and cancellations in a way that lowers their overall occupancy rate. Armed with that knowledge, they can make changes to their ad targeting or redistribute investment to improve key business operations metrics. 

Create More Than One Dashboard

The great thing about adopting sophisticated dashboard reporting software is that it’s simple enough to create multiple reports that you can switch back and forth between. Your business data and performance insights are relevant to all sorts of key players across the company. However, they shouldn’t all necessarily be turning to the exact same dashboards to glean the insights they need. 

Rather than breaking down your dashboards by channel, try creating reports for different positions within your business. For example, you can build a dashboard filled with KPIs relevant to your marketing department, or HR department, or sales, or for executives. If you don’t want to create dashboards for different departments, you can also create them for different purposes. Here are four types of dashboards you can create: 

Operational

Operational dashboards are designed to offer a snapshot of overall business health with a focus on the main KPIs mentioned above for the different travel-related industries. Operational reports must always give a real-time perspective. They aren’t designed to surface insights to improve operations, but instead serve as a monitoring tool to ensure KPI performance doesn’t deviate from expectations. Operational dashboards make it easy to spot issues in day-to-day business execution or data flow.  

Strategic

Strategic dashboards include key organizational data points like bookings, revenue, and customer acquisition costs. They do not include more detailed marketing performance and operational metrics. Instead, strategic dashboards are constructed to give c-suite executives an overview of performance so they can find opportunities for improvement. The goal is to offer a quick snapshot so leaders can dig deeper with more independent, granular analyses.  

Analytical

Analytical dashboards are designed to offer time-bound reports relating to how numerous interrelated factors perform and help identify trends over weeks, months, quarters, or years that might present strategic opportunities. For travel-related businesses, analytical reports can illustrate seasonal changes in demand or bookings, or even opportunities to improve the supply chain. These types of dashboards are often complex, detailed, and include all relevant metrics that could be a driving factor for trend fluctuations 

Tactical

Tactical dashboards are specialized to monitor performance of several important business processes across marketing, sales, or customer service. They unlock detailed insights on performance in a single business process and are designed to help improve cross-team communication, collaboration, and strategy optimization.  

Build Reports Easily with Dashboard Technology

Many industries can benefit from comprehensive, real-time reporting of marketing and business metrics. Businesses working in the travel sector, though, have a greater need for these insights given the competitive market and travel climate. One-off analytics tools can tell you a lot about how different channels perform. However, unifying all your data using a single system eliminates gaps in knowledge and unlocks your full potential 

The reporting technology within Centro’s automation platform, Basis, integrates with all your important data sources and allows you to customize reports to fit your unique business needs. Airlines, cruise companies, hotels, and other travel-related businesses can all benefit from the complete and immediate insights provided by our dashboard reporting technology.