Top Reasons Why Customers Abandon The Travel Booking Process

May 02, 2023
Allan Formigoni (he/him)
7 min read

Providing a seamless travel booking experience for your prospective customers is paramount.

Roughly 70% of all online shopping carts are abandoned across all industries. This goes to show how imperative it is to provide a smooth navigational path to ensure that your customers not only get to checkout, but actually follow through on their booking transaction.

On a positive note, all is not lost. Abandoned carts can be turned around relatively easily. By identifying why people abandon their purchases, and introducing the right cart abandonment strategies, you can unlock a lot more revenue for your tour business.

Let’s take a look at how we can achieve this.

Spreadsheet: Travel industry's booking and payment gateways compared

Understanding cart abandonment in the travel booking process 

“An abandoned cart” is a term used in the e-commerce realm for when someone looks at your travel packages, adds to their cart, then leaves your website before completing their purchase/booking their tour.

This proportion of prospective customers accounts for a lot of lost revenue or potential sales.

On the other hand, abandoned carts also represent customers who have shown a keen interest in your products and have reached the last step in the sales process/funnel. With the right nudge, you could re-engage these customers and get them to complete their purchases.

Get this right, and it could generate a lot more revenue for your travel business.

Why people abandon the travel booking process 

Implementing checkout optimization strategies can improve your conversion rate by 35.63%.

So if you want to address cart abandonment on your travel website, then it's important to understand the main reasons why people are dropping off in your travel booking process.

While the exact reasons may differ for each customer, here are some of the main causes of abandoned carts.

1. Unexpected costs 

One of the most common reasons why people give up when making a purchase is due to unexpected costs that appear during the checkout process. This may include added taxes or additional booking fees.

Costly additions may quickly result in a negative shopping experience and turn the customer away.

This is why it's so important to offer completely transparent pricing on your website. When a potential customer looks at one of your travel products or services, they should know exactly what the total cost will be.

Travel booking process

Unexpected costs during the booking process do two things. First, they push the price of your product outside of the customer’s budget. This is a fast way to lose that customer. Second, they make your business look untrustworthy, which can also result in an abandoned cart.

So, make sure that your travel booking pages clearly display all of the costs involved in each booking, and that these costs don’t change. This will result in a much smoother booking process.

With a payment processing tool like WeTravel, there are no hidden costs and free international card payments. This makes the customer booking experience a lot more positive.

2. Technical issues 

Technical issues on your website, like slow loading speeds or images not loading, will cause a bad shopping experience. This could result in a customer abandoning their cart and looking at other travel websites.

In fact, 53% of mobile users will leave a web page within three seconds if it loads too slowly. If your travel website and booking pages aren’t lightning fast, you could lose a lot of potential customers.

When you use a platform like WeTravel, this concern goes out the window because this software solution is designed with a “mobile-first” mindset.

You also want to make sure that the customer journey is a seamless process. If you want to avoid cart abandonment, then make sure that each step a customer takes in your travel booking process is smooth and easy. Any areas of friction, like asking for too much information, could cause cart abandonment.

This is why it’s so important to use travel booking software that lets you create easily customizable booking pages or simple booking widgets for a simple customer journey.

Looking for a powerful and seamless travel payment system? Let's chat! Schedule a commitment-free demo today and learn how WeTravel can help you run your business. 

Abandoned cart

3. Comparison shopping 

Many people will abandon their carts because they want to compare your travel prices against your competitors. This is a common tactic in online bookings and can be tricky to address.

While you can’t always prevent comparison shopping, you can make your travel experiences look as appealing as possible. By highlighting the value of your tours and your business’s unique value proposition, you’ll build a more compelling case for potential customers.

It’s important to create detailed booking pages that outline absolutely everything your travel experiences include. The more details you include, the better value your travel experiences may seem.

Of course, having a competitive pricing strategy in place can also help you to secure more customers who are comparison shopping.

4. Security concerns 

If a potential customer doesn’t feel secure during your travel booking process, there’s a good chance they will abandon their cart. Security here really comes down to your payment process.

Ensure you use a trusted payment processing solution on your travel booking pages. You’ll also want to display trust badges on these pages to help customers feel more comfortable.

The more transparent you are about your booking process, the more trustworthy your website will seem.

5. Payment options are not flexible 

It’s not only payment security that can chase away potential customers. Customers also want to access flexible payment options to match their preferred payment method.

The more payment options you offer, the fewer reasons you give customers to abandon their carts. This is because a customer can easily find their preferred payment method and follow through with their purchase with minimal effort.

Travel booking process

Make sure your travel payment processing solution lets you easily accept payments from all major credit and debit cards. Ideally, you will also be able to accept payments in a range of different currencies.

This is important for travel businesses, as you are likely to deal with many international customers.

Another consideration when it comes to security is clearly displaying your refund policy, and that you work with a payment processing solution that offers no refund costs. Offering easy refunds will add more trust in the customer booking experience, giving them more reason to make a purchase on impulse.

6. Lack of urgency 

An effective way of speeding up the travel booking process is to add a sense of urgency. While this is not always a major reason for cart abandonment, it can help you to generate more sales and speed up the buying process.

You can add a sense of urgency to your booking pages by offering things like limited-time discounts and special offers. You could also display the limited availability of your tours, like displaying how many places are left for the tour.

This can help customers make a faster decision to complete their purchase.

7. Lack of information 

A lack of information included in your travel booking pages and website is one of the more common reasons for cart abandonment. This could be because you don't display enough details about what your travel experience offers, or because you don't display enough details about important factors like your refund policy etc.

In order to combat this, ensure that you cover all possible customer objections on your website, and that any information a customer has can be quickly answered. Including an FAQ section on your website can be very helpful here.

Abandoned cart

Include the itineraries for your tours, and everything that’s included in your price, mention what’s not included, and outline any other information a potential customer will want to know.

This provides a better customer experience and avoids hesitation, which can ultimately help you to generate more bookings.

8. No social proof 

Including social proof in your travel booking process can elevate the customer experience in a big way. Social proof includes additions like reviews and testimonials from past customers.

The idea here is that people looking at your booking pages will be more motivated to make a purchase if they know that loads of other people have also made the same purchase and had a positive experience.

Always try to include social proof at the very last stage of the booking journey. This helps to build trust and encourages the customer to complete their booking.

9. Providing a poor customer experience 

Friction refers to any unnecessary steps in the customer journey that could result in a negative experience. Some common examples include having to set up an account before making a purchase or needing to fill out long forms when making a booking.

Always try to streamline the customer journey as much as possible, and minimize any steps customers need to take. The less friction you create during the customer journey, the easier it will be for a customer to complete their booking. This means fewer abandoned carts and more revenue.

How to combat abandoned carts 

We’ve covered the main reasons why your travel booking process could result in cart abandonment. Now let’s take a look at a couple of different tactics you could use to recover these abandoned carts and get the bookings back on track.

Travel booking process

Here are some of the essential processes your travel business should consider for securing more bookings.

Provide a seamless booking experience 

The best way to reduce cart abandonment is to offer a great booking experience. This should involve using a booking solution designed for the travel industry.

By doing so, your booking and payment platform will come equipped with all the relevant features to provide a seamless customer journey.

Send customers who abandon their carts a follow up email 

Follow up with customers by sending them an email after they have abandoned their cart to entice them to come back to your site and complete their booking.

Triggering these emails at the right time can be a highly effective method of bringing them back. Try to include some kind of special offers (like a 10% discount) to give the customer more reason to complete their purchase.

Try SMS marketing 

SMS marketing can work just as effectively as abandoned cart emails. The benefit of using SMS is that it has a 99% open rate, and most SMS’s are opened within the first three minutes.

This results in more engagement than abandoned cart emails, making your cart abandonment campaigns more effective.

Strategic pop ups 

Pop ups on your site can also be a fantastic way to re-engage your shoppers and get them to complete their purchases.

You can set up exit intent pop ups to trigger just before a shopper abandons their cart. These pop ups could offer something special, like a 10% discount or a free add-on, to help sweeten the deal and encourage the customer to complete their purchase.

Abandoned cart

You could even add the number of spaces left on the tour, or how many people have booked within the last 24 hours to create a sense of urgency.

Retargeting ads 

If you experience cart abandonment, you could also run retargeting ad campaigns that display to the people who abandoned their carts.

The sole purpose of these ads is to promote the travel product they just abandoned. With the right offer or nudge, retargeting ads can be a highly effective way of re-engaging these near customers and getting them to return to your site and complete their purchase.

Highlight the carbon footprint benefit 

When you use a platform like WeTravel, you can highlight to customers that they can contribute a percentage of the cost of their trip to help offset their carbon footprint.


Understanding your entire travel booking process is essential. This will help you to ensure that each step offers the best possible experience.

Focusing on this can help you reduce cart abandonment and generate more sales from your travel website.

To get this right, you’ll need to use the right booking and payment solution specially designed for the travel industry. WeTravel offers the most comprehensive travel booking system, with all the features needed to combat cart abandonment and provide a seamless customer experience.

Book a demo to see how WeTravel can help your tour business generate more revenue.