Abandonment rates for travel websites are notoriously high. In fact, a recent study by Salescycle4 estimates the overall abandonment rate for the travel industry at nearly 82% and nearly 90% for online travel agents (OTAs).
Travel companies “abandonment marketing” strategies typically focus most on retargeting and trying to find and win back those lost users once they’ve already left the site. But, having a great user experience on your site from the outset is the first line of defense for cart or booking abandonment, and (rather than trying to win them back once they’re gone) travel websites should be doing all they can to persuade users not to leave their sites in the first place.
To keep users on your site and encourage them to complete the booking process (and become a loyal user of your site), avoid these common UX mistakes:
- Overly complicated search and navigation: The search and discovery process for users across your site should be intuitive, frictionless, and agile. Poorly designed navigation is an important factor in user abandonment and should take top priority in your UX strategy.
- Too much text: Travel shoppers love to dream and visualize their destinations. If the pages on your site are too text-heavy or your images are poor quality or your videos take too long to load… users will get frustrated and bored with your content
- No smart calendar: Users have come to expect digital conveniences like smart calendars when they book. If you don’t have one, the extra time it takes them to fill out their dates will seem like a hassle.
- Not optimized for mobile: Mobile bookings are the key driver of growth now for travel websites. If your mobile UX is not optimized, users lose faith in and patience with your brand.
- Misleading checkout process: One of the top causes of cart abandonment (in any industry, for that matter) is a lack of transparency in the checkout process. Users dislike hidden fees or confusing final steps when they’re checking out, and this is a key point of abandonment. Make sure your checkout process is trustworthy and transparent as your site guides users to purchase.
- Unintuitive search fields: Another best practice for travel sites, intuitive search fields for things like dates or destinations keep users focused on following through with the booking by giving them the added convenience of not having to fill out multiple search fields throughout their time on your site.
- No progress tracker: Again, this speaks to the transparency that users love. Progress trackers clearly show users where they are in their booking journey so there are no surprise steps.
- Not personalized: A personalized user experience (based on things like geolocation or other demographical data) shows your users the most relevant content that would speak directly to their needs and encourage them to engage longer with your site.
- Optimized site for returning users: Sites should not offer the exact same experience to new visitors as they do to returning visitors. Returning visitors should be provided personalized content that suggests information, trips, deals, or options based on past search history and preferences.
- Poor copy: Copywriting on your travel site should be clear and persuasive. Wording for CTAs should be powerful and clearly align with the desired action you want the user to take. The copy or wording should not present any roadblocks or confusing elements to the user that would cause them to get frustrated with your site. On the other hand, it should enhance their experience, inspire them to take action, and quickly and concisely educate them about the booking process.