Are your customers looking instead of booking?

How the correct online booking software can help reduce booking abandonment rate

It’s frustrating and infuriating in equal measure for owners of holiday parks and campsites… Seeing high levels of abandoned bookings represents a wasted opportunity and a large chunk of missed revenue.

According to a survey in 2015, 81% of people abandon on-line travel bookings before payment, with the main reason given as ‘just looking’. But what, if anything, can be done to reduce these high levels?

Choose the right online booking software for your holiday park or campsite

Choose the right online booking software for your holiday park or campsite

It sounds easy but there are so many products out there, all promising the perfect online booking software for your campsite or holiday park. Picking the right one for your park’s needs is key to success.

Do your research: Does the company behind the product know the holiday park and campsite industry? Is their product as easy for your customers to use as it is for your staff to manage? Does their online booking software have features that can be customised or tailored to your specific park?

If any answers to the above questions are a ‘not sure’ or, worse, a resounding ‘no’ then it’s time to move on. If your current provider also falls well short on these questions then, again, look elsewhere…

Why do people abandon their holiday booking?

Why do people abandon their holiday booking?

According to the aforementioned survey, while many said they were either price checking or researching, 20% of those who abandoned said they did so because the booking process was too long, the checkout steps too complicated or they had issues with payments on the booking pages.

It’s a given that, when booking a holiday involves spending a fair amount of money, people are going to take their time and do their research. Inevitably this may involve price checking and visiting several sites before a final decision is made. But, when a customer has made his or her decision, you don’t want them to fall foul of a convoluted and complicated booking system that inhibits, rather than aids, the process from click to checkout.

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What’s the solution?

Keep it simple

When researching online booking software for campsites and holiday parks you need to make sure you request a demo and sample every function available. Test out the software, from a customer’s point of view as well as your staff’s. Go through the booking steps, as a customer would. Are there too many steps, questions and pages? Is it overly complicated? Does it look professional? And is it secure – where is your customer’s data stored? Does it tick all the boxes for you and your customer’s security in a post GDPR world?

All these are important factors that some customers would consider crucial – and could help reduce your abandonment rate. Nothing infuriates a user more than error messages on payment, highlighting where a required field has been missed or one element hasn’t been recognised – stopping the whole process dead in its tracks.

Clear pricing and charges

We’ve all done it. Suckered in by a cheap, attention grabbing price only to get to the checkout to find that essential purchase is actually 20% more than advertised. Nothing says ‘abandon checkout’ quite like a misleading price.

Surely the same applies to holiday bookings too, right? Be clear with your customers and choose an online booking system that displays the on-going price on every page. If someone makes a change to their booking on step 2 out of 4 then the system should recalculate the price of their holiday there and then, so there’s no nasty surprises when it’s time for them to get their credit card out. Does your holiday park’s on-line booking software do this?

Publish and promote your holiday park’s reviews

People are going to do their research before booking a holiday. A user isn’t going to open up his laptop or turn on his iPad, land on your site straightaway and book instantly. It’s not going to happen. They’re going to browse – research suggests some people view as many as 38 different sites before they book.

However, review sites like TripAdvisor are becoming more and more influential in helping people to make informed decisions on their next holiday. So, why not publish those reviews on your site? They can be very persuasive for potential bookers.

Choose an online booking system that can be fully integrated into your website

Choose an online booking system that can be fully integrated into your website

Make the journey from browsing to payment as seamless as possible. When researching online booking software for your campsite or holiday park, look for a system that can be fully integrated into your site. Not only does this provide a far better experience for the user but it also looks far more professional than a new pop-up window opening to take the user off to a third party site.

There also may be issues with tracking booking data on sites that are not integrated, as the cookie data is not handed over when a user is directed off to the third party site or payment page. For park owners, this lack of data can be incredibly frustrating, so choose a booking system that can be embedded into your site.

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