How to avoid high abandonment rates on your travel website

February20, 2017

Andey Speight

On average, research shows that the conversion rate for travel websites is at a dismal 3%, and the rate at which travellers will decide to abandon their online bookings is extremely high at 75%. The industry as a whole will spend billions every year to drive traffic to their website, however 81% of visitors will still leave long before completing the booking journey. So, what can your online travel business do to avoid these issues?

A study recently conducted by re-marketing specialist SaleCycle, analysed 100 different global travel brands including Millennium Hotels, P&O Ferries and Hertz. The aim was to determine the abandonment rates for each individual travel sector, the conversion rates for email re-marketing and the revenue which had been generated per email sent.

1,000 people from 12 different countries across the globe were surveyed. The findings indicated that 86% of travellers will choose to book their holiday online, with 64% of all responses coming from the US, Australia and the UK.

When it came down to why people abandon, the results showed that 39% of respondents were just looking and preferred to conduct more research online before making a decision. 37% were put off by high prices, preferring to compare prices first. And 21% needed to check with other travellers to get their opinion. Additional reasons also included lengthy booking processes, technical issues and a lack of payment options.

To know how to engage your customers at the right moment to complete the booking journey, you need to know where they are dropping off. Research indicated that the three main reasons travellers were deterred from completing their booking were when shown the total price, and asked for both their personal details and payment details.

However, 87% said they would still consider returning to complete their booking if reminded either on the same day, the next day, within, or even after 1 week since they began the booking process.

The fact of the matter is, every customer’s journey is different, therefore your business needs to ensure it is making the booking process as simple and straight forward as possible.

One thing’s for sure, 87% is an enticing figure to encourage more customers to book. Here are a few tips from our expert team to help you get started:

1. Provide clarity

The final price can be a real turnoff for many customers, and if you aren’t providing clear pricing details then they will be more likely to leave without completing the purchase. The key culprits for this issue are many different variables including anything from flight times to travel extras, such as in flight meals or car hire.

Customers have become more and more suspicious of hidden charges over recent years, and your site will suffer the consequences if you include them. But you can avoid this problem with a few simple steps.

Through offering your travel customers a series of dropdown menus and tick boxes strategically placed at certain stages of the booking flow, you can give your customers more control over the final cost of their booking. Taking away their ability to move forward in the booking process without first making a decision on extras such as insurance, provides your customers with a greater feeling of control, helping them to feel safer and more confident in their decisions.

2. Offer a clear payment method

If you want to inspire more loyalty in your travel customers, then providing a clear and easy payment method is the way to go. Travel customers online may use a variety of different payment methods when booking a holiday online, this can range from anything such as paying via a bank transfer to even paying with cash in person after completing the initial booking online. So, give them plenty of options!

More importantly though, give them the option to be flexible with their payments. Many travel products on your site might be expensive, and your customers will want an easy way of paying off that expensive holiday they’ve been planning over the last year. Flexible payment options on your site will also offer realistic plans that take into account the day-to -day life of many travellers – many customers will not have a large sum of cash on hand for their next vacation. Failing to provide alternative methods of payment could prove detrimental to your online business.

3. Take full advantage of email

Clear & direct communication with your customers at critical points in their booking journey can have a really positive impact on your business, and trigger emails are the answer. A well prompt email that triggers your disengaged customer into action, can bring them back to your site and increase your profit over time.

With 87% of travellers likely to consider returning to complete their booking, you need a system in place which will encourage them to revisit their abandoned basket. According to Hubspot, trigger emails based on a prospect’s past behaviours are powerful, as they are inherently relevant and timely.

4. Optimise for mobile

We’ve said it time and again, with more and more travellers researching and booking their holiday on a mobile and tablet device, you need to be providing them with a seamless booking experience on every screen.

Travel businesses of all shapes and sizes need to understand how customers use mobile devices for the purpose of researching and buying travel products, and optimise accordingly to cater to this behaviour.

5. Don’t make it difficult for customers to return, simple.

If you’re running a travel business online, you will have to learn fast that customers will use your site as a research tool to compare prices on a regular basis.

To turn this into your favour, you need to provide enough reasons for the customer to remain on your site and make a purchase. This can easily be done through using a mixture of reviews and suggested products based on past search preferences, this will tempt them to stay, perhaps even long enough to complete the booking process.

Take charge

Our award-winning Content Management System (CMS) eVolve has been designed to help your online business capture more customers at crucial stages in their booking journey. With endless customisation and the ability to easily manage prices on your site, you’ll have all the tools you need to provide your customers with the best booking experience on the market.

Plus, thanks to our partnership with Fly Now Pay Later, you can provide your travel customers with flexible payment options through easy to manage monthly instalments.