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How to Minimize Booking Abandonment in Online Travel

Cart abandonment remains a major issue in online travel business. Proactive customer engagement platforms powered by artificial intelligence (AI), however, are making it possible to catch and convert cart abandoners, effectively and efficiently, through brands’ owned media channels.

According to a recent research, 92 percent of all travel bookings in Asia Pacific were abandoned at checkout, with online travel agencies suffering from the highest rate at 95.5 percent, followed by hotels (90.4 percent), airlines (91.6 percent) and vehicle hire companies (88.9 percent).

There are many reasons why shoppers abandon cart. Some are just browsing, still comparing prices or simply distracted. Others become frustrated with slow-to-load pages, or are put off by high credit card fees.

While some cases of abandonment can be avoided by improving your website or app UX, many can be overcome by remarketing via paid media channels, such as Facebook and Google Ads. While such remarketing can be effective in winning back lost carts and boosting sales, it is also costly, and relies on strong retargeting tech and infrastructure that many companies lack internally.

AI, Owned Media and Cart Abandonment

Can travel brands tap into the potential of owned media and leverage data to tackle cart abandonment? Turning a ton of customer data into valuable insights and getting the message out there fast and frequently via your own channels is often an unmanageable task. Here is where AI comes in and does all the heavy lifting for you.

AI-driven customer engagement platforms, such as AIQUA, enable you to send out engaging, personalized messages to the right people at the right time on the right device via your owned media channels, such as app and web push notifications.

Here are the four main benefits how you can leverage such platforms to tackle cart abandonment:

1. Know What Your Abandoners Are Into

One of the most crucial capabilities of AI is its ability to sift through all of your internal and external data, and then show you what your customers are doing both on your own channels and elsewhere. The elsewhere is crucial as it can tell you what other interests or topics they might have – information you can use for remarketing.

For example, if Ella adds a flight to Taipei to the cart but didn’t book after repeat messages, AI might identify that she has been looking for hotels in Tokyo based on her search on other sites. You can then recommend Tokyo-related holiday offers to interest Ella in a booking.

2. Understand Cross-Device Behavior

Traditionally, it’s challenging for marketers to see multiple devices as one user, instead seeing them as separate people. AI, however, can help you understand the complete customer purchase journey as it plays out across different devices, and predict the best one for conversions, enabling more effective remarketing.

For instance, Ella adds a hotel in Shanghai to the cart on her tablet on Wednesday without booking. You can send a push notification about the cart abandonment on Thursday to her phone, which is her conversion device. Without AI, you won’t be able to identify that Ella’s conversion device. The notification would be then sent to the tablet, which is ineffective.

3. Reach Multiple Channels in One Click

This new breed of AI-driven customer engagement platforms also gives you the capability to send your remarketing campaigns through multiple owned channels, including app and web push notifications, email, SMS and Messenger, in the click of a single button.

This is not only more time-efficient without having to switch between different tools and platforms, but it also helps you hit your cart abandoners with personalized messages at the right time, boosting the visibility of your messages.

4. Send Personalized Messages in Different Formats

Once your messaging is personalized and relevant, you can also take advantage of creative customization tools in the customer engagement platforms, such as carousel, GIF and video, to boost engagement.

With too many choices available to shoppers these days, cart abandonment in online travel is unlikely to go away any soon. Rather than seeing it as a major sticking point, use these AI-driven customer engagement platforms as a valuable learning and marketing opportunity – one that can turn your virtual basket droppers into more profitable online shoppers.


Explore more about Appier’s AIQUA and how it can help you with personalized marketing in travel today!

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