It is well-known that users who visit travel websites sometimes abandon their bookings. But the rate at which this is happening is worryingly high, at nearly 75%. This level even exceeds the abandonment rate for the retail industry, which stands at 71%. What’s more troubling is that this rate is unlikely to decline soon, at least according to remarketing specialist SaleCycle, which predicts that online travel booking abandonment will reach 81% in 2014.

However, all is not lost, as SaleCycle also has some e-mail remarketing tips which could help travel companies to recover lost booking revenue. First, let’s look at the statistics.

SaleCycle has released some figures on booking abandonment rates for each travel segment, revenue generated per e-mail sent and conversion rates through e-mail remarketing. The firm polled around 100 travel companies to produce the data, establishing that booking abandonment rates are highest among online travel agents, standing at 89.1%, and lowest in accommodation services, at 67.6%. The car rental sector emerged as the best performer both in terms of remarketing e-mail open rates and e-mail click-through rates, scoring levels of 57% and 28.3%, respectively. Airlines have the lowest e-mail open rates, while cruises have the lowest e-mail click-through rates.

Online travel agencies, however, excel in the revenue per e-mail sent category. SaleCycle said that when 100 remarketing e-mails are sent to online travel agency customers, every e-mail can generate $188.93 in revenue on average. This figure is three times higher than the second-best performer, the car rentals segment, where revenues stand at $54.70 per e-mail sent. This is good news and clearly shows that remarketing can be used to great effect in the travel industry to convert users and boost travel bookings.
SaleCycle’s tips for remarketing are as follows:

First, travel brands should know that the best time for sending remarketing messages is within half an hour of the time a user gives up the booking process as this is when the highest conversion rate is achieved. The rate declines by 51% if the remarketing message is sent a day after the user abandons the booking.

Second, travel firms need to carefully consider their e-mail subject lines and remember that messages which include “booking details” in the subject line tend to score the highest opening rates. Other subject lines that work are those featuring the brand or travel company name. An urgent tone is also effective.

Third, it’s important to note that the best e-mail content includes a “complete your booking” option within the message, as this gets the highest click-through rate. Others sections worth including in the e-mail are booking details, recommendations, social links and promotional banners.