It’s been a few weeks since we returned to HQ here in Brighton, UK and Alex headed back to our Sydney office, following a whirlwind trip to Singapore for the Aviation Festival Asia.
Over 1,300 attendees from over 150 airlines, travel and technology companies descended on Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre to connect, network and learn from industry leaders and each other during the two-day event.
As part of the Festival, 15below hosted a number of activities including an intensive workshop on how to manage disruption more effectively, a seminar featuring JetBlue case study: clearing schedule changes in a matter of minutes, and an interactive roundtable, discussing ways to grow revenues using your operational notifications.
Hot topic | Abandoned Carts
One of the key topics of conversation focused around the issue of Abandoned Carts – what can airlines do to secure bookings (and payment) before the customer gets distracted or thinks again?
With abandoned cart rates as high as 84% for travel bookings, there is huge potential for airlines to optimise additional revenue from abandoned bookings using automated communication technology. By our calculations, using stats from one customer of ours, airlines could be generating as much as $14 million extra revenue every year this way! Read more about this here.
Here we share our top tips, looking at the role automated notifications can play in helping airlines maximise sales conversions, whilst creating an exceptional customer experience.
3 simple ways to reduce ‘Abandoned Cart’ using your operational email notifications
1. Don’t send as soon as they leave your site
While 38% of respondents to a Marketing Sherpa survey found cart abandon reminders annoying, over half of the sample actually found them helpful.
It’s about striking the right balance. An immediate email after your customer has left the site could be off-putting (and a little too keen) but a slightly different tact could be more appealing.
Taking an example from outside the travel industry, Shoe Retailer Boot Barn sends 3 automated reminder emails over the course of one week.
The first reminder, sent 20 minutes after cart abandon, covers customer service asking if something technically went wrong or if they could help improve the experience.
The second, sent 23 hours later, highlights the benefits of shopping at Boot Barn and the last, sent 1 week later, is a clear call-to-action to notify the customer that this is their final chance to purchase the items.
Using 15below’s platform to send automated email notifications, travel companies can improve the digital experience for passengers and effortlessly reduce the number of abandoned carts by proactively contacting customers with a reminder when they do not complete their flight booking.
2. Be tactful with your messaging
Obviously, you want your customers to complete their booking, but that often means looking at ways to improve their experience versus introducing revised sales pitch.
Using the same Shoe Retailer example above, the first reminder sent isn’t a call-to-action to complete the purchase, but a customer service message asking if there was something wrong, or if the experience could be improved in any way.
Feedback like this is gold dust when it comes to improving the booking experience for your prospective (and existing) customers.
Even the second email isn’t a call-to-action, but a reminder of the benefits of purchasing with Boot Barn – something that airlines can learn from when looking to reduce customer’s abandoning their booking in favour of an OTA or search site.
Being tactful with your messaging when tackling abandoned carts will improve your customer’s experience, reiterate the benefits of booking direct and can even open up new channels of communication and feedback – you can continually improving the direct booking experience and reducing cart abandons in the long-term.
3. Use data from other sources to provide an attentive service
Is the person who abandoned the booking a frequent flyer? Have they experienced disruption or severe delays while flying with your airline in the past?
Use a communication platform that can tap into your reservation system, frequent flyer database, CRM and other data sources to provide a 360-degree view of how this person has interacted with you in the past.
Be attentive and let your customer know that you pay attention to these details and that you will reward (or compensate) them for booking directly with you – something as small as a luxury meal voucher or free lounge access will delight your passenger and keep them coming back again and again.
When it comes to increasing ancillary revenue from notifications, abandoned bookings are a hot topic, especially when abandon rates can be as high as 84%. By paying attention to the little details, communicating in the right way and providing an exceptional experience, you’ll soon reap the revenue benefits – and delight passengers too.