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The Case with Abandoned Hotel Bookings

Posted on May 23, 2019 11:42:51 AM

According to a hospitality industry report by Ignition One, in Q4 2018 direct website bookings reported a loss of $2.4billion in revenue due to abandoned carts.

Since the traveler journey to purchase is more complex than before, we ran a short survey with 1,000 UK citizens to learn which devices are depended on for online booking and the main reasons for abandonment.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash


Pre-Planning Stage

To understand the reason for abandonment we looked at the early stages of the journey to find what inspirations derived from wanting to book.

60% of respondents we surveyed conveyed their use of Google Search for planning trips, followed by social media at 40%.

When asked on which device do prefer to book your accommodation for travels, more than 60% preferred using a mobile versus only 30% using a laptop.


What is the biggest factor in booking? Approximately how many times do you usually book accommodation?



How do you usually book your accommodation when you travel?


Content-Based Abandonment

Travelers look for inspirational content and recommendations before making a decision, with most utilizing a mobile to search for this information. Ensure your website and hotel booking engine provide useful curated content to inspire visitors to travel to destinations and have it mobile optimized to reduce drop offs during the first visit to your website.

To understand the reasons a visitor would abandon a website before booking, we asked respondents the frequency of placing an accommodation booking throughout 1 year — 65% stated within every 3-6 months


Approximately how many times do you usually book accommodation?


 With a good amount of frequent travelers we can presume that most travelers are always looking for different inspirations for their next travel destination. Which brings us to the major reason we believe travelers abandon bookings.


“...travelers really just want solutions that make life easier, with nearly 90% of travelers expecting their travel provider to share relevant information.”

— Think with Google Consumer Insights 


Price-Based Abandonment

According to our surveys, close to 90% showcases that price is the major deciding factor when booking accommodation, followed by promotions at 55%.


What is the biggest factor in booking?


Site visitors have a higher chance of returning once a booking has previously been abandoned if you offer retargeting campaigns that provide promotional offerings, such as a lower price than the initial. This can easily be done with a third party cart abandonment tool connected to a hotel’s booking engine.

An additional contributing factor showed that cart abandonment would occur by 48% on slow-loading websites, while 30% responded to abandoning a booking due to unuser-friendly reservation systems.


What are the main factors, if any, that made you abandon your online booking?


Increase site user-friendliness and optimize pages for faster-loading and booking experiences to reduce abandonment.

“User experience matters, an easy search functionality and a simple booking process are also cited as “important features” Friction on a mobile site when completing a booking can lead to travelers trying another site.”

— Think with Google Consumer Insights


With multiple options in a traveler’s booking experience, purchasing psychology has shown that this can be overwhelming and inhibiting. A study from the University of Cornell, School of Hotel Administration showed that this can be a paradox of choice, meaning choosing the best of circumstances amongst current options based on “how well all the pieces of information about the hotel — price, brand, photo, ratings and so on — fit together.” One of the study’s authors, Stephani K. A. Robson said that the accommodation decision process involves far more than price points as a contributing decision-making factor.


“The beyond-the-click experience matters. Try matching the information you present to what travelers want. Anything travelers expect to accomplish online should be easy to accomplish on mobile devices.”

— Think with Google Consumer Insights


The report by eye for travel business intelligence “Understanding the Travel Consumer’s Path to Purchase” reveals that a consumer is less likely to make an immediate purchase should a decision require more cognitive power. The top players in the industry, OTAs, secure more bookings especially  over the mobile medium, due to content aggregation that makes site visitors’ lives easier. Greater search engine prominence and better personalization means controlling larger marketing digital journeys that are more highly usable and dynamic, delivering better quality experiences.



Topics: Hospitality Travel, Mobile behavior, Hospitality, Travel experience, Traveling, Mobile Booking

About Blog Author

Clara Gutierrez is the Marketing & PR Manager for hi Inc. She has over five years experience in enhancing marketing solutions, planning innovative branding strategies, and developing international partnerships and media relations in the hospitality industry. Previously, she has also worked for lifestyle and fashion brands, covering the Spanish and UK markets.