A little background
Pontins is an institution of the UK travel industry, attracting and delighting holiday-makers in their droves for over 60 years. Now, like all players in this rapidly moving vertical, Pontins handle a large part of their bookings online so we teamed up to help them get the very most from their website.
The challenge at hand
Pontins and Ve Interactive recognised a problem that all travel companies face today –the continuous growth in online comparison-shopping.
According to the latest Ve Interactive benchmark report, the average abandonment rate in the UK travel industry stands at a massive 81% – meaning that over 8 in every 10 people who begin the booking process fail to complete it.
Furthermore, holiday package bookers make almost 40 visits to travel sites on average before making their decision and normally over the space of 6 weeks (eMarketer). But while these figures can be daunting, they also show the enormous opportunity for proactive hotels and resorts who are ready to re-engage with these interested potential bookers.
That’s where the VePlatform comes in.
The plan of action
To improve Pontins’ conversion rate and lower booking abandonment, Pontins agreed to a two-pronged approach.
We switched on VeContact – our triggered email re- engagement app – to target bookers who abandon within the booking-engine; after entering their contact details, but before completing their transaction.
Plus, we activated VePrompt – our onsite re-engagement app – to tackle abandonment further up the purchase funnel or when a potential customer abandons before leaving their details.
Here are the campaign changes implemented and, more importantly, the results achieved.
Due to the length of the typical online path to purchase in travel, we decided to:
1. Introduce a multi-stage email campaign
With customers abandoning at different stages in the long buying cycle, relying on one email to make an impact is quite the task – no matter how well designed it is. A family holiday is an important (and sizeable) investment so however well timed your email may be, if the customer feels they still need to double check your competitors rates or alternative holiday destinations, they may well forget your attractive offer to come back and book.
This is why we advised Pontins to implement a 3 step cascade campaign – sending a series of strategically timed emails to best meet each customer’s expectations at key points in their personal booking path.
2. Create all emails with responsive design
Over a quarter (27%) of hotel browsing now happens through mobile device, according to Trip Advisor. And whilst conversions on desktop are still leading in travel, re-engagement marketing must be tailored to the modern customer.
It was imperative that Pontins moved their campaign onto a responsive-designed email template to meet today’s customer behaviour and expectations.
Pontins as a company caters to many different demographics, attracting a broad range of market segments. This meant that selecting the most engaging image for our VePrompt sales agent would have huge influence on conversion rates.
Many young families are very price sensitive, with their key consideration also being to pick a family friendly resort.
Our account management team took the decision to swap out the original Pontins imagery of a senior couple for another of a young girl having a great time at the resort.
This clearly reinforces the impression that Pontins is a fun, family friendly resort, helping allay any related concerns.
It’s this quick reassurance which is often so influential in accelerating the decision making process.
This new more targeted imagery was bolstered by more concise copy and a clearer call to action to create a highly engaging conversion tool.
As you can see from the results below, as a consequence of these changes VePrompt delivered a huge increase in revenue performance.
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