Agents face biggest struggle to convert browsing to booking

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As high as 92 per cent of all bookings in Asia-Pacific are abandoned at checkout, with travel agents in the region facing the biggest struggle to convert customers, as data from Ve Global – an advertising and marketing technology company headquartered in London – shows.

The findings, taken from over 58 million customer sessions between January 2017 to April 2018, show that 95.5 per cent of them abandon their online booking with agents in the region. Although performing better, hotels (90.4 per cent), airlines (91.6 per cent) and vehicle hire companies (88.9 per cent) are also failing to convert the majority of would-be bookers at the checkout phase. The most clinical sub-sector was reserved for the more low-cost options, with coach and ferry operators converting 20.2 per cent of active traffic into bookings.

Ve data reveals that a third of APAC customers complete travel bookings via their mobile and tablet devices, more so than any other region globally

In terms of countries, Australian travel companies do the best job in turning browsers into bookers with a relatively low 82 per cent abandonment rate. Japanese customers looked to be the hardest to convert with 93.8 per cent leaving their online baskets without completing a booking.

While abandonment still plagues the travel industry, the research did find Asia-Pacific customers are far more receptive to forms of re-marketing than their global counterparts. The region’s travel companies can expect to recover one online booking for every 18 re-marketing emails sent, compared with the 23 that European companies must send out on average.

The data also reveal customers in Asia-Pacific complete more online travel bookings using their mobile devices than in any other region globally. Almost a third (30 per cent) of all travel bookings made in the region were completed using a mobile or tablet device. This compares to 29 per cent of bookings in the US, 28 per cent in Europe and just 13 per cent in Latin America.

Jamie Pierre, managing director at Ve Global Asia-Pacific, based in Hong Kong, said in a statement: “Increasingly, APAC travel companies are allocating vast sums of their marketing spend to attracting customers online, only to lose them during the booking process.

“Although the causes of customer abandonment are varied, travel companies should pay close attention to the growing use of mobile devices in completing bookings and ensure they offer a multi-channel approach that meets the growing expectations of consumers.”

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