Travel companies are losing out on millions of pounds in online sales by failing to follow up on customers who abandon orders during the booking process, according to a specialist conversion company.
Optilead surveyed a number of businesses working in the online channel.
It found only 17% made any effort to follow up on bookings valued in excess of £2,500 that were abandoned before the payment process was complete.
The quickest responded in 54 minutes. The slowest took more than two days.
“It’s unbelievable that companies are ignoring what are obviously hot leads,” said Optilead director Steve Lawton.
“Travel agents don’t let visitors walk into their High Street shop without an agent acknowledging them, so why do they allow it to happen online?”
Whilst the ‘abandoned cart’ email is a popular way to target these prospects, Optilead believes companies are ignoring the power of the phone.
“We identify more than £15 million worth of abandoned web bookings a month for one of our travel clients and they successfully recover over £1m through a targeted outbound campaign,” said Lawton.
“Scale that up across the whole industry and the opportunity is massive.”
Lawton said a recent survey of online travel agents showed an average click rate of 15.6% from abandoned cart emails, with a conversion rate of 22.6%.
He said the value of conversions from timely phone calls was more than double that of an email campaign.
“The most effective strategy is to use both channels,” he said.
“Outbound calls to target higher value leads, using email as a fallback. And emailing lower value leads that don’t warrant a call.”