Why travelers abandon their online bookings?

Being one of the leading industries in 2016, travel and tourism contributed $7.2 trillion (9.8% of global GDP[1]) to the global economy in the past year.

Apart from great numbers, there are still 75% of online bookings that fail to complete. Why is that?

We know by now that travelers spend up to 83% of their time on OTA, airline and hotel sites, searching for inspirational travel content before deciding where to go.

Customers being undecided or casually looking around for travel tips, comparing few booking sites at the same time (38 sites before making an actual booking, says Expedia) are only a few reasons why they leave unfinished purchases behind. Later in the process, they return back to one specific site to complete their bookings.

There are numerous other reasons for travel bookings fail to complete: travelers are doing the usual search and looking for inspiration, meaning they are far away from being ready to buy. They might seek advice and recommendations from other travelers as well. We can´t forget to mention all of the technical issues that may occur, unavailability of the desirable products, payment problems or, one of the crucial, the process may be too long and/or complex.

Many travelers (86%) are booking online, especially on their smartphones, as mobile has established itself as a vital and necessary medium for travelers when searching for information about their next adventure. A study by Rhythm Insights[2] shows that 73% of people researching their travel options will use mobile to do so. So, optimizing your website for mobile-friendly use is vital.

Furthermore, studies by Boxever and SaleCycle[3] show that 67% of travelers who were part of the survey have spent few weeks researching their travel options before booking/buying. According to Boxever, online travel agencies have the highest abandonment rates (89%), followed by airlines with 79%, car rentals, hotels and cruise companies with 70% abandon rate.

AIRLINES (1)Source: SaleCycle, ArrivalGuides, 2016

The price also plays a big role as the most of the participants in the survey would like to compare prices elsewhere before finalizing their online bookings.

Both of the studies highlighted a fact that many online bookings may fail when personal data is requested.

AIRLINES (3)Source: SaleCycle, ArrivalGuides, 2016

However, there is a silver lightning. 87% of asked travelers said they would search again and return to the site, 47% of them would return and do the bookings within 24 hours leaving their booking cart.

And so, there´s no need to worry. Even though travelers might leave their online bookings incomplete, there is a high possibility they´ll come back and finish what they´ve started. OTAs and airlines have to focus on how to make a traveler to comes back to them. But how do you do that?

Quality destination content will attract and keep potential visitors on the website and make them come back. Vivid imagery, combined with rich, relevant and trustworthy words enables you to tell better stories, providing travelers with the right information during the key planning stages of their visitor journey. Videos and photos are keys to conversion, reinforcing the interactions and customers´ loyalty.

When it comes to destination content, ArrivalGuides has a position to help you inspire travelers and increase engagement, loyalty, and conversion. Our products are easy to integrate into your existing digital products, via API for online and mobile use or our new widget solutions, which improves customer decisions and retention.

The video has become a unique voice of destinations, enabling not only DMOs but all travel brands to trigger travelers´ emotions and offer them a personal travel experience. Moreover, creating compelling content on local attractions, travel videos and adding a possibility to immediately book and purchase tickets to the hottest events and most popular attractions, will increase engagement and create a value for travel brands and destinations.

What matters the most is traveler´s satisfaction which will turn him into a loyal customer, who will keep returning to your site and make the booking directly from it. At the end, no one likes to be left at home. So, Maldives anyone?


[1] WTTC. Economic Impact Report. 2016

[2] eMarketer. Mobile Commerce Roundup. 2016

[3] Boxever. The Habits of Travel Bookers: Shopping Cart Abandonment. 2015; SaleCycle. 2015.

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