Travel marketers, are you wondering about the ways to Increase Online Travel Booking? It’s bad news. Your industry’s cart abandonment rate is higher than any other.
Data from 2018 puts the average abandonment rate at around 81%. This is higher than the overall average of 76%. More eye wateringly this means that just under $3 trillion of online bookings will be abandoned in 2018. (yes, you read that right- three trillion dollars!)
There are several reasons for this high abandonment rate, and two of the most obvious are:
- An often long and complex booking process. The booking process on many travel sites needs to be long, as details like passport numbers, the names and ages of travelers, seat selection and more need to be entered.
Contrast this with fashion sites, where shoppers only need to enter address and payment details, and you can understand why their average abandonment rate is only 69.1%.
- People can spend a long time researching travel purchases. The research and consideration phase can be much longer for travel too. According to Millward Brown stats, the average holiday purchase takes 45 days of research, with visits to 38 different sites.
This will vary between types of travelers and types of travel sites, but typically people will visit several sites as they research, starting and abandoning the booking process to check prices and availability, and checking different sites for the best deal.
This combination of shopper research behavior and a long booking process presents a conversion challenge for travel websites. And yet, there’s absolutely no reason why the abandonment rate should be as high as 81%. There are lots of ideas which travel marketers can utilize at every stage of the research and booking process to provide the best customer service possible, and making it easy for would-be travelers to find the information they need to complete the booking.
You must read my blog before: Online Travel Booking Statistics & Trends 2020
So in today article, I will show you Some New Ways To Increase Online Travel Booking.
1. Recovering Abandoned Booking
Sites can do a lot to minimize abandonment, but many visitors will start a booking and leave without completing it.
This doesn’t have to be the end though. We found that 87% of consumers who abandoned would consider returning to complete the booking after.
This is where a well timed booking abandonment email can help. Travelers may have left a booking as they’re still thinking about it, or perhaps want to check with friends and family.
An email with their saved holiday details, giving them a fast route back to the booking, can be the nudge they need to book their holiday. Booking abandonment emails have average open rates of 49%, compared to 28% for the average marketing email.
Conversion rates for these emails are around 3%. A simple email reminder can be effective, but it’s the little details which can make the difference.
For example, dynamic images can be inserted into emails to match the destination – if customers were looking at flights to New York. then a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline can be very persuasive.
Just 28% of top 50 travel sites sent booking abandonment emails.
Brands can also add urgency to booking abandonment emails with live trends data. For example, dynamic images can be inserted into emails to match the destination. It’s like there’s a customers were looking at flights to New York. Then a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline can be very persuasive.
Timing also matters. Abandonment emails sent at the right time have a greater chance of success. Through testing, I found that sending emails around an hour after a booking is abandoned produces the best response rates.
Even if emails don’t tempt travelers back to checkout, travel brands can still find some valuable information to improve the booking process in future through abandonment surveys.
These are normally sent to travelers who don’t respond to booking abandonment emails and can help brands gather some useful information.
For example, Virgin Atlantic can monitor the percentage of visitors that decide to book via comparison sites instead, as well as identifying problems with the travel booking process, payment issues or technical problems.
2. Good Form Design
If users have a long form to fill in, good design and user experience can make the process much easier. It also reduces the risk that they will become frustrated enough to abandon their booking. It’s the main reason why you can’t increase online travel booking for your website.
Here are a few guidelines:
- Avoid unnecessary form fields. It’s not simply about making form short, as many other factors influence form usability. Form should be as long as they need to be, but it pays to avoid asking more than asking more than is needed to checkout.
- Provide progress indicators. These help to show the customer where they are in the booking process and how many sections are left to complete.
- Visual appeal. A little bit of visual design can help to turn a dull form into something more enjoyable to complete.
- Use shortcuts to reduce user effort. Any shortcuts which aid data entry help to make the booking process faster and easier. These are proven to help improve conversion.
- Provide clear contact options on site and during booking. People may have last minute questions during booking, or may have encountered a problem.
By providing a clear and fast contact option – a phone number or live chat – then sites can deal with customer issues and keep them in the booking process.
- Use in-line validation. Users will make mistakes completing form. And also with in-line validation points this out where the mistake is made. It’s rather than waiting for them to submit the form.
I found that 54% of the top 50 travel sites made cure that either a phone number or email address was clearly visible during the booking as customers couldn’t find assistance at the point where they most needed it.
Urgency messaging used on site can be an effective way to convey useful information to users, while acting as a way to nudge them towards a purchase decision. You should never forget using it to increase online travel booking.
For example, if the flight the visitor is viewing is very popular, then live trends data can be used to inform the customer of this. So they can make a quick decision before the flight becomes unavailable.
Scarcity is one of Dr Robert Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion, and works on the fear of missing out (FOMO). It can be a very powerful sales driver, but it is a tactic that should be approached with the customer in mind.
If you provide useful data which informs their purchase decision and aids their research, this is good for you and the customer. However, if the data is unreliable, or the tactic over-used, then users can lose trust in the information presented.
I found that 44% of the top 50 travel sites were using urgency messaging during the research and booking process.
To wrap up:
The key theme here is to make the travel research and booking process easier for users. If a site is easy to use, if customers can find the information they need, and can complete a purchase without unnecessary hassle, then booking abandonment can be kept to a minimum. That’s the main core of the way to increase online travel booking.
There will always be some level of abandonment on travel sites, as it’s a part of the research process, and most visitors to a site simply have no intention of making a booking on that visit. They’re on the site to check destinations, prices, finding out what’s on offer and when.
Read more about this topic to increase online travel booking: Tips to Increase Your Travel Website Bookings
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