LONDON – Customers across Europe are now more hesitant to commit to an online booking than this time last year, as shown by soaring website abandonment rates in the travel industry.
This is according to data insights from marketing technology company Ve Global, who analysed behavioural trends from hundreds of thousands of online travel sessions across Europe. Booking abandonment online, where users begin but fail to complete a purchase, stood at an enormous 92.8% in the second half of 2017, up from 85% in 2016.
Hotels (97.7%) and airlines (94.6%) in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH) were the hardest hit, with travel agents also suffering from tip-toeing window shoppers, losing 97.4% of online bookings during the checkout process across Europe.
DACH customers also ranked the most difficult to win over with the highest average website abandonment rate (95.9%), just ahead of their Russian counterparts (95.4%). Irish companies performed the best in turning browsers into bookers with an abandonment rate of just 89.3%, with UK travellers almost as keen to seal their bookings (90.6%).
There was better news for the more low cost travel options, with coach and ferry converting 15% of online traffic into bookings. The data also found that customers using desktop were more likely to convert than those on mobile once the booking process had begun. One in ten who started the process on desktop or laptop converted compared to just one booking for every 20 checkout sessions on mobile, and in 6.6% of cases on a tablet device.
Morten Tonnesen, CEO at Ve, said: “While the entire industry continues to invest heavily in digital, this data clearly shows that consumers in every subsector of travel are spending more time browsing their options before committing to a purchase. This represents a considerable worry for travel companies allocating vast sums of their marketing spend to the digital ad space in order to attract people to their websites, only to lose them in the booking process.”
Yoel Marson, CTO at Ve, said: “One of the reasons the travel industry still hasn’t solved online abandonment is the constantly heightening levels of personalisation demanded in the modern travel market. Companies struggle against the complex diversity of their audiences and the impossible task of creating real-time, relevantly personalised experiences. This, in my opinion, is the remedy to online abandonment.”