4 Tips for Building the Perfect Dashboard
Dashboards will transform your organization into a data-driven organization. When you started your tour company, you were in charge and knew everything about your business. Now you have a team, and you need to know quickly how your business is doing. Dashboards allow you to take your data and transform it into a visual representation of your company’s (and your team’s) performance.
There are three types of dashboards that you can build, but regardless of the type there are a few things that every dashboard needs to have. They are:
1. Choose One Business Unit
Dashboards need to be clear and concise. In fact, we think that less is more when choosing which metrics and reports to display within a dashboard. A common mistake for new dashboard users is to put too much information in one place. It’s easy to do, after all, because you’re so excited that you have so much information to share. You want to know how many bookings you get each day, how your website traffic is trending, how many reviews your top guide received this month, the customer satisfaction scores from your tour surveys, how many single-person bookings you need to re-schedule next week, and the list goes on.
But our recommendation is to focus on just one area of your business per dashboard. Focus on direct bookings, for example, and include a handful of stats and reports that will give you a clear and thorough understanding of your bookings performance.
This example of a direct bookings dashboard shows a section of KPIs related to website users and direct bookings.
2. Define a Clear Audience
Before you build your next dashboard, think about who is going to look at it. Is it only you? Is it your tour manager, tour guides, or customer service team? How about your marketing manager or sales leader? By thinking about who is going to look at it, it will give you some direction on what the dashboard needs to show.
Your tour guide isn’t going to care about what your website conversion rate is, and probably won’t care about how many tours you ran last month. So keep your audience in mind and show them what they need to know. If they have targets and KPIs to hit, like how many reviews they receive or keeping their costs low, then make sure you include those so you are emphasizing their importance.
3. Select Metrics with a Clear Purpose
Every metric needs to have a purpose. This is much harder than it seems because we are so used to looking at metrics that don’t matter to us. What happens when you log in to Google Analytics? How about your online booking system? They all show you pages full of numbers and reports…and you didn’t choose any of them. Don’t care about a number just because you have it in front of you. Choose numbers that are important to you and your team, and don’t worry if other systems are telling you that you should care about something else.
A good way to start is to understand what your goals are and what problems you are trying to solve. Using data to make decisions is the first step to becoming a data-driven tour operator. Understanding your performance against those decisions is the second.
This example of an online review dashboard shows metrics that all have a purpose to align with a tour operator’s goals. Those include metrics like how many new reviews were received month by month, the percentage of those reviews that got 5 stars, and total bookings to reviews ratio.
4. Make them Visible
You already thought about who is going to look at your dashboard, so you need to make sure they look. Your dashboards should be easily accessible. Put them on a TV screen in your office, and make sure they can be visible at any time online…both on a computer and on a mobile device. Making them accessible will increase the chances that your team will use them often.
The key to building a data-driven culture within your team is to ENABLE a data-driven culture. Make sure everyone knows that they exist and make sure they know how important it is to look at them. Hold regular meetings with your team and ask them to report on information they can find within their dashboards. Make them a regular part of their job and before you know it you’ll have a team of people telling you more about your business than you ever knew!
Building dashboards is our bread and better. We’ve worked with countless tour operators to understand what data sources they have, and then integrated them into one system where they can generate reports and dashboards to help them visualize their company’s performance. If you’re interested to learn more about how we can help, just get in touch.
Brian Bergey is Co-Founder and President of Tourflow, Inc.