Over 80% of online bookings are abandoned. Here’s what we recommend you do next…

We got so much lovely feedback for our infographic, The Perfect Booking Recovery Email, that we thought we’d take things to the next level and look at the all important detail behind the data.

So here we have it – Our top ten tips for creating awesome travel booking abandonment emails.

1 Keep it Personal


Whether we’re checking in at an airport or ferry terminal, arriving at a hotel, or rocking up to a car rental desk, nothing gets the experience off to a better start than a warm, personal greeting.

The same goes for re-engaging with customers who have abandoned a booking on a website. We expect to be treated like royalty when we’re on our holidays.

I doubt whether anyone has ever greeted The Queen by saying “Hello Valued Customer!

2 Include Booking Details

As consumers, we all put a lot of time and effort into planning our trips and holidays; spending plenty of time weighing up different options that are available to us on the across the websites we visit. With an average 8 hours online; 35% of people that were asked in a recent survey claiming to spend over 24 hours online researching their perfect holiday!

So it’s fair to expect these sites to remember our plans when they contact us to remind us about the booking that we nearly made.

Even the most organised of us may struggle to remember which deal or holiday we saw on which site 24 hours later. So receiving a generic remarketing email that does not mention the dates/details/price of your booking, is as much use as a lithium-ion battery on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

In fact, data has shown that a remarketing email which includes the full details of the abandoned basket or booking, can produce 5x more click-through’s and 5x more revenue than a generic, reminder email.


3 Use Relevant Imagery

Travel is an exceptionally visual industry, where a picture can be worth a thousand words.  The travel experience begins with the browsing of images of relaxing sandy beaches or the roaring fire in a traditional alpine lodge, and this is when consumers start to imagine themselves in these settings.

By including in your remarketing email, an image of where the consumer was picture you are able to connect with them on an emotional level, which is far more likely to convert browsers into buyers.

When talking about holidays, flights, etc., we are talking about purchases in the hundreds, if not thousands of pounds.  Customers will need more than a gentle reminder to encourage them to part with these sorts of figures.


4 Maintain Brand Identity

Ensure that the remarketing email you send is visually pleasing and is a true reflection of the quality of your website and your business – You’ve spent a lot of time, money and effort designing a quality website that is user friendly and pleasing-on-the-eye.  The remarketing emails that you send to customers that abandon bookings on your site should keep up that image.

It can be difficult to achieve the dynamic insertion of all the content required to produce a high-quality, effective remarketing email, whilst keeping the creative looking clean and well put together.  But there are experts out there who know how to do this (tip: many of them work for SaleCycle).

The last thing you want is a remarketing email that looks like it was cobbled together, and resembles some email version of Frankenstein’s monster.


5 Segment your Data

Your website visitors give you an abundance of data which you can use to send them a remarketing email that is exceptionally relevant to them.  Use the selections they make when creating their booking to give you insight into what makes them tick… segment on destination and respond with an email that, not only markets your brand, and references the holiday that they selected

It also gives them tips on things to do and places to go whilst they’re in their chosen destination; segment on price and send visitors who abandon higher value bookings a more “premium-tone” email; segment on trip type and send an email that is more relevant to a mini-cruise, city-break, beach holiday…


6 Don’t Stop at One Email

The best practice recommendation is that, even in the travel sector you must respond in a timely fashion to achieve the strongest results (30 minutes being the “sweet-spot”), but some consumers will need a little more time, therefore a multi-cycle remarketing campaign, where a second and, if desired, third email (each different from the previously sent one in terms of its creative, message and tone) is sent (likely at some point 24-48 hours post-abandonment), if the first one hasn’t had the desired effect. We see that multi-touch campaigns typically increase a single-email campaign’s performance by between 25-30%.


7 Ensure your email is as Mobile-Friendly as you are


According to recent research almost a quarter of people use a mobile phone or tablet to book holidays, with nearly half of those aged between 15-24 using this method to book. It is, therefore vital that any remarketing email is designed with these devices in mind, giving special consideration to ensuring that the size of the email enables it to display well on all devices.

8 Keep your Creative Fresh

Regularly update the creative to ensure your re-marketing campaign is in sync with the season and your on-site offers and promotions.

Holiday Offers

9 Customers are your best Salespeople

I’m sure I’m not alone in my desire to see what other people have said about a hotel’s food or an airline’s in-flight entertainment before I make my booking, and I put great stock in what my fellow traveler says.

If you use a review site (TripAdvisor, Reevoo, etc), then why not dynamically insert the average guest review score, or traveler rating into the remarketing email, and give your abandoners a short-cut to the good news?


And 10 – Don’t Be Shy… Talk to EVERYONE

85% of booking abandoners remain anonymous (as they abandon before entering an email address), and elongated checkouts or booking forms which are common within the travel sector, mean that much fewer customers identify themselves on a travel site than on a typical retail eCommerce site.

SaleCycle’s newly-launched On-Site Remarketing product enables you to display a light-box overlay containing an engaging message to reinforce your brand or product (NOT offer a discount) to every abandoner, right at the moment that they are about to leave the booking process of your website, thus keeping them on the site, and encouraging them to complete their booking.

Alternatively, the light-box overlay can be used to obtain an email address for these anonymous abandoners, which will enable you to firm then an equally as engaging “We’ve Saved Your Booking” email.


All in all, your remarketing campaigns should be a smooth extension of the customer’s visit to your website, and should enhance their experience.  Reward your customers for the hard work they put into researching your company and their trip by sending them a timely, relevant, and visually pleasing remarketing email that helps them make their decision rather than one that just reminds them that they visited your website a while ago…

  • Regarding #10 – “85% of booking abandoners remain anonymous”, a nice way to remarket to them would be to use AdWords and Facebook remarketing tools which are based on cookies. So doesn’t matter if you miss out on email id. Although you will to shell out some advertising dollars!