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E-consultancy's recent Travel Website Benchmarks report looks at ways to reduce abandonment once a customer has decided on the travel product they wish to purchase.
A certain amount of drop-off is to be expected at this stage in the process, and customers abandon the process once they have selected a flight or hotel for a variety of reasons.
Many may never have intended to make a purchase - they may have been dreaming about the kind of holiday they would like, or reasearching and checking out prices for a future holiday, or they may decide to book the same holiday through another channel.
There are some good practices which should be common across all travel websites:
Set expectations early
Customers need to be made aware in advance of the steps that are required to complete the booking, and any information the customer may need to provide, such as a passport number.
Make payment the final step
This should be the last stage, expect for a confirmation page, as customers will not be expecting any more pages after this point.
Provide any necessary information before the payment stage
Customers who have any doubts or unanswered questions may not complete a purchase. Therefore any information should be provided before asking for credit card details.
Don't provide too much text
Customers need to be able to access the information, but too much fine print can be offputting. Make the most important information clearly visible, while providing clear links to terms and conditions.
Only ask for relevant information
There is a temptation to include fields for marketing purchases, but customers can resent a purchase taking longer due to what they see as irrelevant questions.
For more information on how to improve customer experience on travel websites, and examples of current best practice in the industry, see our Travel Website Benchmarks report.