5 ways to boost your online travel booking conversion rates in 2022

In a market as highly competitive as travel, boosting your online booking conversion rate can be a huge challenge. 

But, what exactly does this mean for your brand? 

Conversion rates in the online travel market are notoriously low, and it is difficult to stand out from the vast array of competitors and engage prospective customers. 

However, there are ways to improve.

Are you a tour operator that is struggling to increase bookings?

Designed the perfect travel website and created incredible itineraries but still don’t know where you’re going wrong?

We’re here to help.

Read on to find out how to boost your online travel booking conversion rate.

Travel Booking Online Conversion Rate

To put it simply, your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your website that complete a desired goal – in this case a booking – out of the total number of visitors. 

Generally, the higher your conversion rate, the better you are doing in terms of marketing, messaging and web design. Your conversion rate should be a KPI, or Key Performance Indicator, for your business’s success.

CRO, or Conversion Rate Optimisation, is the process of optimising your website or landing page experience in order to improve the probability of gaining a conversion. For travel brands, conversion rates are highly important in order to measure and compare the performance of marketing campaigns. 

An article by KIBO explains that the customer journey for someone booking travel is very different from a traditional eCommerce experience, and travel booking conversion rates can be influenced by a variety of different factors.

Within the travel sector there are many different components that influence customers’ decision-making process, for example:

  • When will I leave?
  • Where am I going?
  • When will I return?
  • What will I do on my trip?
  • Where will I stay?
  • How will I get around?

Since there are more factors to consider, travellers take much longer to purchase and plan their trips. 

Therefore, online travel booking conversion rates are, in general, low.

However, with effective planning, tracking and analysing, it is possible to increase your conversion rate. Digitalisation offers plenty of opportunities, and challenges, for travel brands, and conversion rates should be a key consideration in any marketing strategy. More on marketing for tour operators here

online booking conversion 1

How is the online conversion rate calculated?

According to Google, “conversion rates are calculated by simply taking the number of conversions and dividing that by the number of total ad interactions that can be tracked to a conversion during the same time period. For example, if you had 50 conversions from 1,000 interactions, your conversion rate would be 5%, since 50 ÷ 1,000 = 5%.

Simply speaking, your conversion rate is calculated from the number of conversions – or number of bookings – divided by the number of interactions

However, conversion rates don’t have to be related to adverts; traffic can also come from sources such as organic listings, email newsletters, Facebook links or blog posts.

In this case, we are focused on bookings, but conversion rates can track other aspects of your business such as webinar registrations, email click-throughs or landing page signups.

online booking conversion 2

How to track your conversion rate

Google Analytics and AdWords are the most common resources used to track, measure and analyse conversion rates. These tools gather a large amount of raw data, so it is important for you to set filters and focus on your specific goals in order to identify key insights.

Other useful metrics that can be tracked:

  • New visitor conversion rate
  • Customer acquisition cost (cost per conversion)
  • Average order value
  • Return visitor conversion rate
  • Value per visit

What is a good conversion rate for travel websites?

According to Littledata, the average conversion rate for travel websites is 0.3%. While this may seem low in comparison with the global average of 1-3% for e-commerce sites, the online travel industry is a complex and dynamic market. 

Anything above 1.9% would put you in the top 20% of travel stores, and over 3.1% would put you in the top 10%

How to boost your conversion rate

So, now you know the importance of your travel website’s conversion rate. But how can you increase it? 

Here are 5 top tips that can help you to boost your conversion rate.

  1. Optimise and test your website

Your landing page is often a visitor’s first impression of your brand, and as users make the decision whether or not to stay on a web page within the first ten seconds, it is crucial to make a good impact. 

Simplicity is key here; travel websites should be easy to navigate. Avoid lengthy booking processes and be sure to optimise your website for mobile devices, as 70% of travellers research travel on their smartphones. 

Include excellent, SEO-focused copy and bold imagery that catches attention and engages potential customers. Highlight your USP – why is your travel brand better than the others on the market? What is unique and special about your offerings?

Throughout the entire website design process be sure to carry out continual testing. A/B testing, also known as split testing, is found to be one of the best ways to increase conversion rates, and is carried out by comparing two versions of a web page or mobile app and testing them to see which converts best. 

  1. Customer journey

The customer journey is key: 63% of 900 surveyed digital marketers and e-commerce professionals rated customer journey analysis as the most valuable method for improving conversion rates.

PhocusWire also explains that for OTAs to optimise conversions, they must shift their focus from ‘getting the booking’ to looking at the entire traveller journey.

Customer journey mapping is an invaluable process that can help travel brands to boost conversion rates. The customer journey in travel is composed of 5 key stages:

  • Dreaming
  • Planning
  • Booking
  • Experiencing
  • Sharing

Companies should consider how they can engage travellers throughout each of these stages.

  1. Social proof

According to PhocusWire, one of the biggest challenges facing online travel brands is high cart abandonment. Booking a trip can be a complex emotional and financial decision, and customers need to have confidence in a company in order to complete a booking with them. 

Customer reviews and testimonials can help to legitimise your brand and build trust. Reviews displayed on your website should be summarised and easy to read, highlighting key points and insights. 

  1. Visible call-to-action

A call-to-action is what encourages and enables your visitors to take action, which is, in this case, to complete a booking. A visible CTA button should be present throughout your website. 

According to Kameleoon, a good call-to-action must be easily understood, catch the visitor’s eye and enable the visitor to take the action for which they came to the website.  

  1. Personalisation

87% of consumers are more likely to book travel with websites that offer personalised experiences, and, as we discussed in Automation versus Personalisation, technology is going to be crucial in the future of the industry.  

The use of analytics and AI can help track customer behaviour and allow you to offer a more tailored customer journey. Real-time deals, unique landing pages, loyalty programs and personalised email marketing messages can all help to lower cart abandonment rates, drive brand loyalty and boost conversions.

online booking conversion 3

Our TripBuilder software allows travel companies to offer personalised itineraries to their customers, taking into account their specific needs and wants during the planning, booking and pre-travel stages, all on an innovative, efficient and easy to use platform. 

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