The advent of the internet has given birth to a new culture of virtual shoppers, particularly for the online travel market. When it comes to shopping cart abandonment (online shoppers who begin the booking process without confirming or completing their purchase), the travel industry definitely has its fair share. Abandonment doesn’t have to be a bad thing, however, as many travellers who abandon will leave behind lots of useful data which can be re-purposed for use in targeted emails later down the line.
Shopping cart abandonment is a major issue in the travel industry, with research from Boxever indicating that in 2014, nearly $1.78 trillion dollars was lost due to unfinished purchases by potential travellers. That’s three times more than most travel brands actually make ($446 billion).
Research shows that there is an 81% abandonment rate for the travel industry. Compare that to the 68% abandonment rate for other online retail brands and you may think it’s time to reconsider your online strategy, you’d be right.
So why are travellers abandoning their baskets? The answer can be found in our obsession for finding the best deal possible through a never-ending foray of value comparison. Research conducted by Skift shows that on average, travellers will switch between 3 to 5 travel websites before finally making a booking decision.
Studies also show that over half of all travellers do not have a set destination in mind when they are planning their next trip. Instead, these travellers are waiting patiently, searching for the best deal they can find. This results in the conversion time for travel to be twice as long as other traditional retail sites.
This is a sign that you need to be offering travellers a more personalised booking experience if you want to hold them long enough to complete a purchase. Luckily, you can do just that thanks to the high levels of actionable data they leave behind on your site.
Past search history, flight dates, destination, seating and hotel preferences are all forms of actionable data you can use to retarget potential customers and bring them back to your site. So, how can all of this data be put to good use for your travel business? That’s where automated emails come in.
By harnessing the power of automated emails, you can effectively re-capture potential customers, luring them back with relevant offers and incentives based on their past preferences. Research shows that on average, with re-targeting, 18 to 20% of travellers will return to a site and convert, spending on average 55% more than those travellers who do not abandon their booking.
Here are some tips from our expert team on how you can use automated emails effectively to increase conversions on your site:
Use the right tone
Never use sales terms in your automated emails, this will only discourage your customers from engaging with your email. Instead, always ensure you are being helpful and providing service-oriented information. Try to use terms such as “you’re almost there” or “We see you didn’t complete your booking, are you still interested in this destination?” to entice customers back. Remember to also include a note about support and personalise your email with the customer’s name.
Have good timing
When deciding on a time to send out your automated email it depends on the customer you are sending it to. Those travellers who frequently make last minute bookings on your site will probably not benefit much from a timely automated email, so don’t pressure them too much.
When targeting new customers, it’s important to remember that sending a re-engagement email within the first hour of initial abandonment will increase the rate of bookings on your site. In support of this, research from MIT already shows that 90% of travellers who abandon will not return after the first 60 minutes.
Always test your emails
You need to be continuously testing all of your automated emails with different content if you want to be effectively re-engaging your customers. You can carry out these tests using a number of different variables such as text, tone, call-to-actions and images used.
Once you have passed this step, your marketing team should be analysing the open and click through rates for every email sent. This will help you to know whether the content you’ve included is engaging enough and whether or not it needs to be changed.
Include relevant content
Remember when we talked about using data? Good, because this is where it comes in handy. The information you have on the travellers who were last on your site is extremely valuable, especially if you want to write an email that resonates with them. Anything from their personal information and search history, to flight and accommodation preferences, can be used to write engaging content. You need to include the essential information: customer details, eye- catching call-to-actions, their most recent searches and more.
Think about the types of travellers who abandon their basket, they might have been someone interested in villas based in the Mediterranean, therefore you can upsell vacation deals for similar experiences. If the traveller was interested in a city break, upsell locations that match that preference with engaging images and offers.
Make sure it works on every screen
Your customers’ booking journey can take place across multiple devices, so it’s important to make sure your emails are readable no matter what device your customers access them from. Giving your customers the seamless experience of browsing on their mobile phone and later booking on a desktop is what will set you apart from your competitors.
Talk to the experts
With a market-leading travel technology solution from Digital Trip, you’ll have all the tools you need to provide your customers with the best booking experience on the market. Including the ability to create and send automated emails, helping you turn abandoned baskets into sales quickly and efficiently.