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10 best practices for your travel booking abandonment emails

August 3rd 2023

Danielle Beuker

By Danielle Beuker

Digital Marketing Assistant

If a traveler has added a vacation to their cart but left your website without finishing the booking, all is not lost. They might have been distracted, or needed some time to look at their travel budget. No matter what the reason is, you can send a booking abandonment email to them, reminding them to book their trip.

Booking abandonment email programs have been proven to work. For example, redtag.ca has seen a 10% increase in booking revenue QoQ, and Awaze has seen a 14% conversion rate across their cottages.com and Hoseasons brands from booking abandonment emails.

But what do you include in such an email? Read on to find our 10 best practice tips for your travel booking abandonment emails.

1. Choose an appropriate subject line

When creating copy for the subject line of your booking abandonment email, you want to make sure that it’s relevant to your individual customers, and that it catches their attention.

You could include name personalization in the subject line, as well as something relating to the destination they almost booked. This could be anything from the name of the destination, to comparing the weather.

2. Don’t be too salesy

The traveler has already decided to look at your website, so now is the time for a gentle nudge in the right direction. If you push them too hard, they will run away.

An example by redtag.ca is shown below. It lets travelers know that the package they were searching for is still available, without being too pushy.

Source: redtag.ca email

3. Help travelers continue where they left off

Booking a trip can take multiple online sessions while travelers decide on the finer details of their travels. This means that travelers appreciate it when you make it easy for them to continue where they left off.

You can do this by including what they had in their abandoned ‘basket’ in the email, as well as a CTA straight to the website. This link should allow them to open up their ‘basket’ and see everything they abandoned last time so they can simply press the checkout button to complete their purchase. They should also have the option to change what’s in their ‘basket’.

An example of this is seen below in the email by Awaze’s Cottages.com.

Source: Cottages.com email

4. Recommend similar destinations

As seen in the example above, another tactic you can use within booking abandonment emails is personalized product recommendations

The product recommendations you give should be relevant to the traveler, for example suggesting similar destinations, or hotels in the area of their flight’s destinations. This can increase the chances of the traveler finding an option they like, and may even increase average order value (AOV).

5. Don’t overwhelm your travelers

While personalized product recommendations can be a very beneficial tactic, distracting travelers with irrelevant recommendations or giving them too many choices can lead to them being overwhelmed. This can then lead to inaction, so make sure any content you include in your email is relevant and succinct.

6. Use geotargeting tools

One of the ways you can ensure that content is relevant to your travelers is by using geotargeting. For example, you can create an email that includes the weather at their current location, versus the weather at the destination in their abandoned ‘basket’.

7. Include social proof

Travel booking requires a higher budget and is a higher risk activity compared to most eCommerce products. This is why it’s vital to gain your travelers’ trust.

One way to do this is through social proof. You can include ratings of accommodation, as well as for travel activities and your services. You can also include reviews in your emails.

For finite products and services, such as places to stay or seats on a flight, you can use urgency messaging such as “3 people recently booked this” or “27 people recently browsed”. This will increase the chances of travelers booking quicker, as there are only a limited number of places or seats available.

8. Stick to your branding

No matter which other tactics you include in your booking abandonment emails, make sure your branding and customer experience is consistent. The more consistent you are, the more trust customers will have in your business.

9. Set up a multi-stage campaign

You don’t have to stop at one email. In fact, a multi-stage abandonment campaign can yield even better results than a single email.

You can test to see the optimum wait time after a booking abandonment happens before sending the email, and how long in between each recovery email. Which leads on nicely to our final best practice…

10. Optimize, optimize, optimize!

You can test how long to wait between when abandonment takes place and the first recovery email is sent, how many abandonment emails to send and the timing between them, and the types of tactics and even content within your emails. With the results of these tests, you can see exactly how to optimize your booking abandonment emails for your specific needs.

Fresh Relevance’s  Auto Optimize feature allows you to set up tests and automatically optimize your content based on the goals you set, such as conversion rate and revenue.

Final thoughts

Booking abandonment emails can help you recover lost booking revenue. With these top 10 best practices, you can optimize your emails and watch your sales soar.

Want more travel content? Check out our ultimate guide to driving customer loyalty in travel.

Ready to boost those bookings? Come talk to us and see how we can help you get there.

Danielle Beuker

By Danielle Beuker

Digital Marketing Assistant

As Digital Marketing Assistant at Fresh Relevance, Danielle writes user-centered content that helps marketers in the eCommerce and travel spaces get their jobs done.