Travel & Destination websites have some of the highest customer abandonment rates in the industry. We feel your pain. Travel brands still aspire to meet the high customer expectations set by non-travel brands. It’s not easy out there.

Because the experience for the customer of booking holidays/vacations is limited to one or two times a year, the need to get your customer experience spot on, first time, is critical. Bear in mind that an average customer will spend 5 weeks researching holidays and will look at 40 of your competitor sites before deciding. In addition to these 40 competitor sites are the numerous sites where the customer is researching the destination, such as weather, things to do and of course reviews.

With all this in mind, here are 10 things you could be doing to help make that customer experience a pleasure.

Pro-tip: This is not just all travel related! Any site can benefit from these helpful hints!

1. The need for speed

Your website speed plays a critical role in that all important first impression. If your home page is taking an age to load (full width image galleries we’re looking at you here), then what impression is the customer left with if they want to take a look around the rest of the site? Why not just use a competitors site that loads nice and quickly?

Our take would be anything over 4 seconds is unacceptable. Your conversion rate will drop by 7% every second over that.

2. The price is right

If your website has accommodation availability and shows results then make sure your showing accurate live pricing and not a ‘from’ price based on the cheapest available tariff. It’s infuriating for the customer when they go to the property detail page, only to be told the price has quadrupled from the results page price.

3. Hello. Is it me you're looking for?

The dreaded ‘no results found’ page. Never do this. Even if there is nothing available, add a bit of logic to your search to show alternatives. This could be dates that are near to the original dates searched.

4. Be clear, be precise

Avoid hyperbole and overly flowery descriptions for your properties in the crucial areas of real estate on a page. We know there’s a need for this, especially for decent search engine rankings, but it has its place further down the page. A brief description, bulleted list of key features and clear pricing should be the main focus.

5. Why photography (& your brand) matters

Heard the story on how Airbnb were about to throw in the towel until they risked it all on commissioning professional photography? Good photography increases customer engagement and content sharing. Great design takes it to another level. Sales are done on an emotional response (one study puts 90% of sales are done at a subconscious level), so images, user experience, design and your brand image all come into play.

6. Get your advertising strategy in place

Getting paid ads in front of clients early creates a strong band+destination recognition for the customer. Remember that our customers typically spend six weeks researching, with the final week being the peak.

7. Follow up on abandoned purchases

Email marketing platforms enable you to send customised emails to shoppers that have abandoned shopping carts. Some tactics that you might try with abandonment email include:

  • Put personalised information to use if available.
  • Send emails promptly.
  • Try more than once. Typically 3 times (one immediately, one after 24 hours and one after 5 days)
  • Discounts encouraging a final purchase

8. Get your checkout in order

Not being clear on the total price is the 2nd biggest reason for customer abandonment. If you’ve any ‘booking fees’ or other add-ons, then these need to be highlighted clearly on the first phase of the checkout. Writing about checkout optimisation is a whole other blog post, but in a nutshell you need to make it uncomplicated and as simple to use as possible.

9. Testing, testing & more testing

Try and test every possible user engagement on your site. Whilst nothing is bug-free, not testing vital aspects of your site is not an option. We add automated testing to all of our sites which test key customer touchpoints such as checkouts, uptime, contact forms, search etc multiple times daily.

10. Curate your social media profile

Don’t leave those Tripadvisor reviews just hanging. Good or bad, respond in a pleasant and personal manner and don’t come across angry, or worse still, a robot sending the same reply to every way. Just be authentic.

About the Author

Russell has headed up numerous successful digital transformation projects for the travel and destination market for over 10 years. Having worked in digital and marketing since 1999, he has worked with clients such as Away Resorts, Lake Lovers, Duchy Holidays, and The Headland Hotel to name a few.

Inspired by this article and want to explore how Creation can help you on your Customer Experience or data journey? Get in touch with us to arrange a chat, call us on 01173 211 393 or email