Abandonment is one of the elephants in the online travel room - potential customers getting all the way through the booking process and then deciding to bail out at the last minute.
The latest figures from SaleCycle, which cover the (traditionally quiet) October-December quarter last year - suggest that more than eight-in-ten travel customers do this.
Travel has a higher abandonment rate that the other verticals SaleCycle looks at. It suggests that travel's higher abandonment rate reflects the fact that people are browsing rather than booking for travel during the period, although it does beg the question as to why these browsers are getting all the way to the booking page before dropping out.
To be fair, SaleCycle did look at exactly this issue a year or so ago and found that 53% dropped out when given the total price with a further 21% dropping out when asked for payment details. The balance bailed out when asked for personal details.
Recovering these lost bookings can be helped, SaleCycle claim, by having a system in place which allows vendors to remarket though on-site overlays or email. Systems run by businesses such as, er, SaleCycle.
The stats for both options are shown below.
Even allowing for the "they would wouldn't they" narrative of a remarketing agency talking up remarketing, abandonment is an issue for travel firms and anything that can be done to tackle to that is worth considering.
But rather than try to catch the horse that has bolted, shouldn't travel firms use better bolts on the door. Or use a different type door. Or try to make the stable nicer so the horse wont bolt even if the door is open. Or warn about the dangers that exist outside the stable?