Online travel booking abandonment rates reach 90%

High abandonment rates are common among travel providers. / Photo by Bruno Kelzer on Unsplash.

The global travel booking abandonment rate averages 90.74% for 2019 so far, with cruise and ferry websites experiencing the highest levels of abandonment, according to new research figures from SaleCycle.

The data covers January to October 2019, and looks at abandonment rates across five different travel types, and abandonment trends throughout the year to date.

People generally take time to research travel purchases, which is why travel abandonment rates are higher than the retail average of 84%. Within the different types of travel websites, there are variations. For example, Cruise and Ferry sites have high abandonment rates (97%) while the rate for Hotel sites is 84.63%. Variations in abandonment rates are often due to the type of travel product booked, the price, and the time and effort needed to book.

For example, a cruise can be an expensive purchase so buyers will take their time to assess their options before finally booking. They may even take a month or two, and visit several sites during this research phase. People may begin and abandon the booking process several times as they check out different destinations, options and extras.

By contrast, hotel bookings can be much simpler. Many don't require payment up front, which simplifies the process, while it’s a purchase that is more likely to be booked close to the date, for quick weekend trips or business for example.

Graham Charlton, editor in chief at Salecycle, said: "Even though much abandonment is inevitable because people take time to research, there’s still a lot that travel sites can do to minimise the problem. Great user experience always helps, as it makes it easier for travel shoppers to find the information they need, and to complete bookings with a minimum of friction."

The new research also looked at booking abandonment trends across the year, which reveals some interesting patterns.

For example, we see a dip in abandonment rates in January, which is a traditional time for people to book summer breaks, while rates also peak in August towards the end of the summer holiday season.

The patterns vary between different types of travel website. Airline and car rental abandonment rates dip around May, perhaps due to people booking relatively last minute holidays.

For more travel data and trends, see our 2019 Travel Ecommerce Remarketing report.

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