Reducing Online Reservation Abandonment - Key Fctors to Consider
By Jerry Tarasofsky CEO, iPerceptions Inc. | January 27, 2012
Since there is not that great a difference between making an online purchase and making an online reservation - both requiring the use of a credit card, it is probably a fair guess that the Boston Consulting Group estimate for shopping cart abandonment is not far off the mark for the hospitality sector.
In fact, feedback from 34,000 visitors to hospitality web sites captured in The Rush Report on User Satisfaction & Hotel Web Site Performance published by Hospitality e-Business Strategies confirms that the overall "look to book" ratio in the sector is approximately 65/35 - For every ten people who visit your site only three actually make a reservation. Imagine how the numbers might look if you could move that look to book ratio to fifty/fifty. Do the math and I'm sure you will agree reservation abandonment is one of the most important issue facing hospitality web sites today.
To put this all in perspective, what if six out of every ten people standing in line waiting to check in to your hotel suddenly change their minds and high tailed it out to stay somewhere else.
My guess is if this situation took place in a traditional bricks and mortar location, you would quickly take the appropriate actions to find out what the problem was and without any hesitation you would implement a program to insure that once people entered your hotel, they opted to stay.
Your web site for all intents and purposes is your online property and should be treated in much the same manner as your traditional bricks and mortar location. With six out of ten prospective customers abandoning the reservation process, you have a problem.
If I continue to use this same analogy, in the traditional world, you would stop the people leaving your hotel and ask them why they are leaving. You might also watch from a distance and try and understand more about their entire experience with your hotel. This could include observing how long they had to wait to be served, how well your staff responded to their queries, even possibly observing whether they arrived by cab, limo, or subway.