How to Retarget Abandoned Hotel Bookings

How to Retarget Abandoned Hotel Bookings

29 March 2021Kirsty Beasley

Are you a hotelier looking for tips on how to retarget abandoned hotel bookings?

In 2019, the booking abandonment rate for hotels was a staggering 84.63% – a figure that means only around 15% of prospective guests go through to confirm a booking.

It’s an astonishing statistic, but one that provides a huge opportunity. If someone has shown enough interest in your offering to get as far as actively going into your booking engine before leaving, then there’s a very good chance that you can tempt them back through a dedicated retargeting campaign.

But how do you do this?

Well, there’s a multipronged approach you can follow – but you need to ensure the basics are in place first.

Create a User-Friendly Guest Journey

Get your booking process sorted first of all; the key to this is reducing the number of steps in it. Ours, for instance, has a three-step process that delivers a conversion rate of between 25-36%, with the industry-standard sitting at 20%. This is something that’s been achieved through integrated payment merchants and a user-friendly – but above all swift – checkout process. Making it as easy as possible to complete a purchase makes it all the harder to say no.

Part of the user-friendly guest journey should involve implementing dedicated special offer landing pages. By this, we don’t just mean showcasing discounts; we mean creating packages to include experiences, gift vouchers, upsell opportunities and more – something that helps the guest to properly imagine what their stay will be like. The sizzle sells the sausage, as they say – and a compelling package of experiences helps people to envisage themselves at your property enjoying what’s on offer.

An important point to remember is to ensure you display the relevant info. Put all the package costs on the hotel card and the offer’s unique landing page. Presenting the right information at the right time for the guest means they don’t have to click back to review anything, thanks to the relevant information about room types already being there. 

Eye-catching, attractive landing pages increase IBE (into booking engine traffic), which, combined with a speedy booking process, reduces the need for retargeting in the first place.

Three Key Retargeting Methods

When guests do leave the booking funnel, three standard approaches can be used to retarget abandoned hotel bookings: email retargeting, paid remarketing campaigns and on-screen prompts.

1. Email retargeting

Email retargeting allows you to follow up with those who haven’t completed a booking. You’ve no doubt encountered similar emails from retailers, where they draw your attention back to products left – but not bought – in a virtual shopping basket. There’s a similar version we have developed for the hotel industry; if a prospective guest has had a stay proposal then you can remind them of the deal/availability (or even offer them something new to tempt them) via a personalised email. 

These automated emails can be personalised, too – meaning you don’t have to rely on your team to actively go in and individually message them. A good automated marketing CRM system will do this for you just like the functionality in the Profitroom Booking Engine 360. The key to this is having a database of email addresses in the first place; it’s best to capture these early on in the booking process where possible. Alternatively, you could persuade your guests to give their details by offering targeted ‘loyalty’ discounts/offers to those who share their email address with you.

Segmenting your database to target users based on the data you’ve accrued can also reap rewards here; something that our marketing automation CRM system can deliver.

2. Create a Personalised Experience

More and more guests are looking for a personalised experience – so, tailor packages to suit certain demographics or specific segments within your target market. You could make the most of onsite amenities, or provide a unique experience by partnering with a local business that shares a similar audience. Furthermore, helping guests to envisage a stay with you through ‘storytelling’ (using images, videos and compelling copy) encourages them to book.

Paid marketing campaigns are essentially a form of online advertising (via social media, Google and so on) that uses cookie data to try and draw people back into the booking funnel. Most of us are familiar with this from a retail perspective – and it’s something hoteliers shouldn’t overlook. Timely adverts popping up to remind you of a prospective hotel stay can make you revisit and hopefully confirm a booking.

3. On-Screen Prompts

On-screen prompts are the third key option for retargeting abandoned hotel bookings. These are last-minute prompts that try to keep people on a page if they’re looking to exit your website. Stats report that 80% of people who encounter your property for the first time via OTAs, such as Booking.com, will then look to the hotel’s direct website for reassurance regarding the legitimacy of the booking. 

This is where on-screen prompts can work well if you reinforce the ‘book direct’ message – especially if you use a loyalty discount tool to tempt them. The loyalty discount tool also helps to build the database for email retargeting – a method that’s been proven to enhance engagement through increased open rates and conversion, and a key tactic that we employ at Profitroom.

Given the huge proportion of guests who make tentative steps to explore a booking before withdrawing, it’s essential to take steps to try and encourage them to come back. With almost 85% of users abandoning their booking, persuading 5/10/15% of them to return and confirm can make a huge difference to revenues (achieving the latter figure would effectively double the number of bookings, based on the 2019 data). 

Abandoned bookings are essentially warm leads, so you mustn’t neglect them. Actively retarget them in a considered approach and you’ll see increased bookings, enhanced revenues and boosted profits.

Would you like to discover more about how you can retarget abandoned hotel bookings? Don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team today using the form below.

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