Booking recovery tools can make your hotel thousands in direct revenue. Here’s a quick breakdown of how and why they work.

There are two different times when it’s vital to keep guests interested. Before they’re ready to make a booking, and after abandoning your site mid-booking.

Today we’ll be talking about what happens after a user abandons a booking.

81% of online travel bookings are abandoned, according to SaleCycle, so it’s vital to address the problem.

When users abandon the booking process without finishing, that’s not the end! There are tools to help you get them back.

In fact, our booking recovery tools help hotels recapture up to 33% percent of lost bookings. While that isn’t the norm, even half a dozen recaptured bookings can mean thousands in revenue.

Booking recovery tools mean your guests – and you – get a second chance. Easily create an on-screen pop up or send an automated follow up email to remind them what they’re missing out on, and watch your conversion rate soar.

There are other important booking recovery tools and methods you should use here, especially remarketing. Today, though, we wanted to focus on the most direct methods of recapturing lost bookings. For a thorough look at remarketing, here’s a guide.

Here’s how on-screen pop ups and automated follow up emails work:

On-Screen Pop Ups

On-screen pop ups remind guests what they’re missing out on when they’re just on the verge of abandoning.

These prompts can be shown to users based on ‘exit intent’ or ‘page inactivity’. If a user starts to exit the window they’re making the booking in, you can present a last-minute prompt, and encourage them to remain in the booking funnel.

Simply re-enforcing a ‘book direct’ message can keep people with the booking funnel and reduce mobile cart abandonment.

Here are a few examples of what on screen pop ups might look like:

on screen pop up examples

They are quick, simple messages to remind the guest of the advantages of booking direct. Do you offer a best rate guarantee, or maybe complimentary breakfast?

An on-screen pop up is an easy way to show guests what you offer.

While some people do find pop ups annoying, the simple fact is that they work. We’ve seen hotels recapture dozens of bookings per month with just a pop up!

The fact that they only show when a user attempts to leave the page also means, unlike most pop ups, they never intrude on an active booking.

Try out different messages to find out which message resonates with your guests. Think of what you know appeals to them (is it your free cancellation policy? A free drink you offer on arrival?), and make it part of your book direct message.

patrick stewart amazed book direct

This is how you want guests to look when you remind them of your amazing offers. (Source: Starz Inc.)

At Net Affinity, we provide extensive, clear reporting on booking recovery tools, so you can easily see when your message is working or when it needs an adjustment.

Our team are all experienced in hospitality, so we’ve got a lot of experience creating messages that appeal to different types of guests. If you’d like to chat, drop us a line!

Automated Follow Up Email

Sending automatic emails to guests who have abandoned a booking can raise a lot of questions.

When should you send it? What should it say? Should you send more than one?

Happily, the data is there to answer your questions.

When should you send it?

You should send it as soon as possible – ideally less than an hour after they abandon their booking.

Why?

People often ‘abandon’ a booking for simple reasons. They might have left their credit card in another room, gotten distracted, or just hesitated at the final hurdle.

SaleCycle did an extensive survey of why people abandon their travel bookings.

Here’s a snippet of their excellent infographic:

salecycle booking recovery tools infographic

These are, generally speaking, issues you can overcome. In fact, 87% of those surveyed said they would be willing to return to the booking.

All you need to do is seize the day.

Sending an email as soon as possible ensures that you’re still fresh in their mind, maximizing the chance that you’ll persuade them to come back.

What should you say?

Booking recovery emails must be strongly persuasive, without crossing the line to irritating. A lot of that comes down to the language you use.

Some of the most successful emails we’ve seen from our hotel clients start with a gentle nudge, and include the details of the booking and the user’s name. These make it personal, and give a reminder to a guest who might have forgotten.

Here are two options for your ‘gentle nudge’:

  • Forgot something? Just a reminder…
  • Would you like to complete your booking? We would love to have you stay

You should also include your hotel’s branding, any book direct benefits you offer, and contact details. A phone number, an email address, and a link back to the same dates they searched for previously are all helpful.

Should you send a second one?

Some hotels see fantastic results from a second email sent 2 days later, but some see little to no recaptures after the first email.

It’s certainly worth a try – we have seen hotels make thousands in revenue every month from a second email, in some cases converting far more guests than the first email!

The message on your second email can be similar to the first. However, you might offer an additional incentive to book. You could offer a 10% discount code, or an ‘exclusive’ loyalty offer, like an item on arrival or something else not commonly available to your guests. These can convert guests who are wavering on the fence.

Important tip: For all abandonment emails, you need the guest’s email. It’s vital to as for this as early in the booking process as possible to give you the most opportunities to contact them. A good time to ask is right after they select their room type.

Conclusion

Both on screen pop ups and emails offer advantages as booking recovery tools. The pop up is immediate, and the email can feel much more personal.

You’re not in an either-or situation! Many hotels see the best results when they use both emails and on screen messages.

Whichever you choose, booking recovery tools often make hotels thousands in direct revenue. That’s not something you should ignore.

Which approach does your hotel favour? Is your hotel more of a pop up property or do you prefer emails? Let us know in the comments below, or get in touch with us if you have any other questions!