You can do a lot of really neat and complex things with the Checkfront app; more than just giving your customers self-serve options, you can use a combination of tools to create sophisticated marketing campaigns and track what works and where your sales are coming from.
When you’re actively courting new customers, it’s often wise to choose several different marketing avenues—email campaigns, pay-per-click advertising, social media deals, and so on. Customers will arrive at your site in different ways; some will have found you on a search engine, others on TripAdvisor or Yelp, and more from social media. This multi-pronged approach is about more than just spreading the word; it’s about finding out which avenue is the most profitable. With Checkfront’s tracking ID (TID) system, you can assign unique codes to each one of your referrers or campaigns, and track which ones bring in the most bookings. If you wish to monitor the success of discounts or sales you’re running, you can do that too; it’s all about getting information that can be used to improve your business.
Tracking with simple IDs (TID)
You can think of tracking IDs as little post-it notes in your system; they don’t leave a permanent mark, but they do act as flags for information you’ve deemed important. Amazingly, you can create a simple TID with whatever alphanumeric name you wish just by altering your booking page URL; you don’t have to create it in the back end of the app, or connect it to any single item in your inventory. The URL alteration doesn’t visibly change anything on the booking page; it simply tells the system to remember that a particular booking is associated with that ID. TIDs are created by adding ?tid=IDname to the end of the URL. No muss, no fuss. You can name the TID whatever you want, as long as there are no spaces.
The Checkfront app tracks referrals from various parts of the Internet—say, if someone books on the Facebook add-on, from one of your staff members, or from your website. But TIDs can be used to track things on a more specific level. As an example, let’s imagine a business that wants to test the effectiveness of two differently worded call-to-action posts: one that advertises to tourists, and another which targets the city’s residents. Both posts end with a link to the booking page, but they will use slightly altered URLs with the TIDs of ‘visitor’ and ‘local’, respectively.
Here is the normal link for the main booking page: https://demo.checkfront.com/reserve/
The link with the tourist TID added:
And the one for the locals:
Note: When using with other parameters in your URL, add the TID with an ampersand instead of a question mark, like so:
If you visit each of the URLs above, you won’t see a difference in the layout or content of the booking form, and that’s the point; simple TIDs do not change your items in any way. But when a customer clicks on the link from the tourism-based post and makes a booking, you’ll be able to see the TID at the bottom of the internal booking invoice. And if you go to the Booking Index page in your dashboard, you can also include a ‘TID’ column by selecting it from the ‘columns’ icon on the top right; now you can see which bookings came from which source.
Tracking with discounts
You can make use of tracking IDs in Checkfront’s discount feature. Our support section explains the basics of discounts and vouchers in the Checkfront app, and is a good place to start if you’ve never used them before. The Discount Code field is where you’ll put your designated identifier, and like the simple TIDs you can use different URLs to send out to people and track results.
You can create an email marketing campaign and send out coupons to certain members of your mailing list, using our Constant Contact or Mailchimp integrations. For instance, let’s create a coupon campaign that sends a a 15% off coupon to local residents and a 10% off coupon to out-of-town customers for next time they visit. You can get the information in the Customers tab of the app; once it’s exported and sorted, you can move on to the next step.
When you go to create a new discount in the Discounts page, add a specific discount code for each one—again, ‘local’ and ‘visitor’ work well in this example. You can tell your customers to enter a certain discount code into their booking form when they reserve, but if you link the specific URLs then the discount will be applied automatically for them.
Discount links are created by adding ?discount=discountcode to the end of the URL, like so:
They can also be used alongside other booking URL parameters:
The advantage of using discount codes in this way is that you can go to the Promotions report on your dashboard and get an overview of how many bookings each code has gotten, and how much money they’ve made. If you’re dealing with a bunch of incoming bookings, the Booking Index will quickly get rather large and it’ll be tough to get an accurate estimate of which campaign is doing best. If you use discount-based tracking, you can access the data in different ways.
Part of what makes Checkfront so powerful is its flexibility, and tracking IDs are just one way you can accrue more information and refine your marketing focus. By using the IDs and their associated URLs, you can track what is working and what needs to change. And when it comes to marketing your business, that sort of information can be the difference between a middling few months and a bustling busy season.