Best and worst performers for online travel bookings abandoned [INFOGRAPHIC]

The rate at which visitors to travel websites decide not to complete their bookings is extraordinarily high at almost 75% – and worse than the wider retail industry at 71%.

SaleCycle, a remarketing specialist, estimates the travel booking abandonment to be as high as 81% for the year 2014. Recently, the company released tips on adopting email remarketing technique to gain lost booking revenue.

In a new infographic by SaleCycle, it explains the (forecasted) booking abandonment rates for each segment in travel, conversion rates via email remarketing, and revenue generated per email sent. The company analyzed about 100 global travel brands (including Millennium HotelsP&O Ferries and Hertz) to compile the information.

Booking abandonment is estimated to be the highest among online travel agents at 89.1%, and least among accommodation services at 67.6%.

Car rental segment leads in both “email open rate” and “email click through rate” at 57% and 28.3% respectively. Airlines experience the lowest email open rates while Cruises have the lowest email click through rates.

When it comes to email conversion, car rental market tops the list with 36.2%.

Interestingly, revenue per email sent is as high as $188.93 for OTAs. For example, when 100 emails are sent to customers of an OTA, on an average, every email fetches about $188.93 in revenue. This number is more than three times than the closest segment of car rentals at $54.70 per email sent.

Below is the detailed infographic (click on it to view in high-resolution):


NB: Online booking image via Shutterstock.

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Karthick Prabu

About the Writer :: Karthick Prabu

Karthick was general manager for Tnooz in Asia until September 2014.



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  1. Samantha

    Hi there – can anyone comment on historical conversion rates? Wondering if they’ve improved much since this was posted, or since travel turned digital?

  2. Trishya Tagore

    The infographic continues to show the incorrect value of $188 as revenue per email for OTAs. As per the comments below by salecycle staff Chris Sheen, the value should be $15.45. Do you plan to update the infographic?

    My team member quoted this number in an internal presentation and thankfully I checked the comments before we presented! Just want to make sure that nobody else makes a similar mistake. Thanks

  3. Mark Hargreaves

    No Kevin, we don’t consider ourselves in the same bracket. Ve is the market leader in online efficiency for the e-commere industry and has been since our inception in 2009, and we have worked hard to earn our multi award-winning global reputation. We care passionately about data integrity, accurate journalism & therefore protecting the reputation of the online industry. I’m afraid to say it’s not the first time we’ve seen inaccurate publication of statistics from Salecycle. You have my email address, feel free to contact me if you would like more information.

  4. Mark Hargreaves

    Analysing data takes specialist skills and comes with an implicit responsibility to provide meaningful conclusions. This piece has now spectacularly failed to serve as positive advertorial for this company, but does work as a stark reminder to the digital publishing industry, just how important it is to do due diligence on the source first. For those of us in the performance industry who treat data responsibly, it’s served to undermine hard earned trust in this critical channel.

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @mark – this was not an advertorial, FYI

    • Andrea Puhak

      Hi Mark,
      Unfortunately we’re human and the occasional mistake slips through. Again our sincere apologies for the mix-up and any confusion it has caused!
      More than happy to talk you through our workings – just drop me a note at

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @mark – BTW, is VE Interactive a competitor to SaleCycle?

  5. Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

    Perhaps now they will verify that ALL the information is either correct (or incorrect) when the new infographic gets released. It is important to recognize with an Infographic that the data must be sound before publication.

    • Andrea Puhak

      Hi Timothy,
      Thanks for your concern. As the person responsible for putting together the infographic, I can assure you that we’ve gone through all the data with a fine tooth-comb and that the error in the “Revenue per Email” statistics was purely due to human error in transferring the data from raw figures into infographic format.
      No matter how careful we are, unfortunately the occasional mistake slips through. Again our sincere apologies for the mix-up and any confusion it has caused!

  6. Chris Sheen

    Thanks again for flagging this up Gregory, we can confirm that we goofed in our number crunching (highly embarrassing).

    At SaleCycle we strive to be open, honest, and transparent in all content that we produce. Unfortunately, we have confirmed that there was indeed an error in the “Revenue per Email” section of the Infographic.

    The Revenue per Email for OTAs should actually be $15.45

    We’ll be providing Tnooz with an update to the Infographic on Tuesday and can only apologise for the mix-up! If you have any additional questions please feel free to send us an email at

  7. Gregory Samson

    Unfortunately, the ‘revenue per email sent’ statistics in this article don’t make sense. They would imply, for example, that OTAs had an average revenue per sale of $5,258. Let’s use their own stats:

    Sent: 1 email
    Avg clicked: 0.159
    Avg clicks that convert: 0.226 (the email could not convert at 22.6% if the click rate was 15.9%, so the 22.6% must be a percentage of converted clicks)
    Conversions: 0.036 (1 x 0.159 x 0.226 = 0.036)

    Revenue per conversion to result in $188.93 per email: 188.93/0.036 = $5,258

    TNOOZ should check basic math before publication.

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @gregory – thx for the comment… We’ve asked Chris at SaleCycle to clarify!!!

    • Chris Sheen

      Hi Gregory,

      Thanks for flagging this up – We’re looking into the Revenue per Email stats with our analytics team and will confirm what the figures should be back here on Monday.

      Thanks again for the spot-check,


  8. Paul Clifford

    Great article Karthic!

    Such a good insight, proves there is allot to be had in the travel sector… Love the Infographic too (great design).


  9. Michael Magliocchetti

    Only a 67% abandonment rate on lodging. With the aggregates found on the big OTA’s now this seems hard to swallow. I believe the number is much higher. Our own in house online rate is closer to 80% annually.

    • Chris Sheen

      It’s a fair point Mile and we see a massive range of different abandonment rates across our Hotel & Lodging clients, so 80% is certainly not something to be overly concerned with.

      Much comes down to type of lodgings (business focused hotels will have lower abandonment rates than vacation focused hotels for example) and all the small details on the booking process on the website itself.

  10. Faris

    Revenue per email figures are ridiculous. Definitely not the case in any travel vertical.

  11. Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

    I find these numbers hard to believe. I believe it stems from the definitions. Infographics are maddeningly useless and purport to be things that they generally not. Pretty – yes, useless – almost always.

    If the definition (of abandonment) is in the purchase path then I would grant there is a possible set of rates that are possible. So looking at two studies by eMarketer – one can get the view that the rate of abandonment in Travel is comparable to general rates.

    However travel as a complex largely constructed product (as opposed to a SKU based product type) gets much higher failure rates from the search into the purchase path. Why? Simple – consumers are just using the purchase path as a way to validate the truthfulness of the results. Thus look to book rates are dismal when compared with other product types.

    I would like to see a real case study that shows the entire process from the search lead in to the end state successful purchase. I hope that there is one brave soul prepared to show an actual example. I doubt it but its worthy of a quest.


  12. Sandro Cuzzolin

    Hello, I am struggling to catch this:

    This $188.93 applies only to the 22.6% of emails that are converted ( e.g. “revenue per email converted” or is it an average of sent emails?

    Thank you for your help!

    • Chris Sheen

      Hi Sandro,

      Thanks for checking out the infographic!

      The numbers are based on averages of revenue per remarketing email sent – So for example, if an OTA sends 10 emails and one of them has a conversion for a holiday costing $2,000 – then the revenue per email sent is $200.

      The numbers are very high, but is of course influenced by high average order values.

      Hope this all makes sense! 🙂


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