Ask most hoteliers how they attract prospective guests and they’ll tell you about their marketing campaigns and loyalty programs. Ironically, the lowest hanging fruit for most hotels goes mostly “unpicked.”
Every day, hotels ignore millions of relevant consumers at the very edge of converting to real revenue. Prospects who have already visited their websites and searched the booking engine for their travel dates.
Here’s what happens: A visitor will go far enough into your booking engine to see what your rates are. Afterwards, they are driven out by a number of reasons, including an overcomplicated booking process, concern that rates may be lower elsewhere, or an urge to head to TripAdvisor to read reviews.
There is a massive opportunity to regain those lost visitors and reservations. After all, it’s always easier to win business from a previous visitor who has already made it halfway to purchase, rather than from a traveler who has never heard of you before. Hotels investing in reservation recovery technology are transforming abandoned reservations into big revenue opportunities.
Here are four easy ways you can win back those abandoned bookings:
1. Immediate Capture of Email Addresses
Once an online visitor searches for their dates and chooses a room type, require their email address as the first field in the booking process. That way, you now have the data necessary to retarget them if they abandon.
2. Automated Custom Emails (Dates and Room Preferences)
After a visitor abandons your hotel’s booking engine, your booking engine should send out a specific email with a personalized greeting that thanks them for visiting your website and a reminder to book. This is where you can offer a limited-time incentive and sell them even more on the experience of staying with you and booking with you directly.
3. Pervasive Recovery Links
Most importantly, your automated email must have a link that will take guests exactly where they abandoned the booking process. This will alleviate any irritations with having to fill in their information again, and makes it easier for the visitor to follow-through with the room reservation.
Read: 10 Ways your Booking Engine is Pushing People Out of the Door 4. Retargeting Ads
Retargeting ads give you a chance to keep your property top of mind and in front of eyeballs of indecisive guests. Tailor your ad with stunning photography that sells your experience and with an offer that correlates with what they saw on your site originally. If they spent time on your spa page, use spa images to rekindle their interest.
Investing in retargeting technology that connects directly to your hotel booking engine means you can do some pretty brilliant things. Our favorite retargeting tactic is grabbing the check-in date that the traveler themselves typed into the booking engine and using that to customize and personalize the retargeting ad.
Check out this example from The Quirk Hotel, an art-infused boutique hotel opening in Richmond, Virginia.
Studies have proven that reservation recovery systems can recapture millions of dollars in lost revenue. In some cases, up to 30 percent of abandoned booking were reactivated!
What are you doing to recover abandoned bookings?