The challenge for Online Travel Sites
It is very disappointing to see the visitor reach all the way to the payment page and then pretty much disappears before the transaction has been completed. Visitor abandonment can be due to any number of reasons. So, in this brief article I’d like to help you understand five of the biggest variables in the ever evolving online buyer on the online travel sites, why these factors are hindering your ability to generate actual bookings, and how to beat it to the punch.
Tip 1. Support Local Currency
According to Kevin May in his article about local currency and abandonment of booking, a poll of 3,500 consumers worldwide found that almost 25% would end a transaction at checkout if their local currency isn’t supported for payments to a online travel site. The globalization of online travel has meant that consumers are happy to book on travel sites that are not based in the country. Now, the frustrations comes in when the site does not auto detect the local currency or even worse does not support local currency. Of course, you need to give an option of selecting a different currency. Auto detecting local currency makes the visitor feel at home and gives you the ability to compete with local online travel sites.
Tip 2. Authentication and Digital Certificate Icons
Nearly two out of five travelers would be more likely to book a hotel if the website simply displayed the logos of the payment methods on its homepage. This figure rises to almost half (48%) if a homepage shows the authentication and/or digital certificate icons. Browsers these days can automatically detect the SSL certificate and if the certificate is authentic, most browsers show a green checkbox if the certificate is valid and these browsers don’t allow the travelers to proceed further if the certificate is either invalid or not correctly configured.
Tip 3. Provide greater clarity Price and Charges
Visitors are always apprehensive of hidden costs and charges, small print, asterisks on prices etc. It is not only important to show signs of secure payment on the site, but also make sure you are displaying all the costs and charges. Display the base price and taxes separately, does the price include breakfast, is the room refundable, display in bold the cancellation policy and any fees or charges payable at the hotel.
Tip 4. Make it mobile ready
With the increase in use of mobile devices and with google’s mobilegeddon update released earlier this year, Online Travel sites do not have an option but get mobile ready. Having a great user experience is very important for a mobile ready site. If the visitor needs to pinch to view the page, you can be sure that the booking will not happen on your site.
Tip 5. Make it easy for customers to Return
Online Travel Sites need to accept that they are part of a research process, and that customers will use their site for price and product comparison on a regular basis. With a look to book ratio being between 1000:1 and 2000:1, you have to make sure you leave the door wide open for your visitors to come back and when they do come back, you need to give them a feeling that you know them. Things like remembering their last searches, offering them to sign up to your newsletters, allowing them to manage their previous bookings, suggesting them to register on the site for more exclusive deals and offers and personalized emails when they make a booking are some of the most important things needed so that they can come back and visit your travel website.