More than 53% of the UK population took a holiday abroad at least once last year. After showing signs of slowing down during the recession, holiday-makers have started looking abroad again and the current travel market is booming.

What this means is that holiday makers need somewhere to leave the car. Airport parking in the UK is big business and there’s a lot of competition among providers.

To find out how well the industry is currently dealing with these online reservations and bookings, abandonment specialists, Optilead, conducted tests on 50 of the UK’s biggest airport parking companies to see how well they engage with customers online.

Each of the websites was tested 3 times by completing applications for parking and abandoning the web browser on the payment pages. Each site was also tested for call back features, to ascertain if assistance was available over the phone.

Here are the results:


Booking abandonment in airport parking: infographic


#1 Only 14% of companies responded to abandoned parking applications


Despite customers showing a genuine interest in services and leaving their details in 150 tests over 50 airport parking sites, only 7 companies attempted to contact customers and recover their abandoned bookings. This will be disappointing reading for any manager, especially if – like Heathrow – you have over 20 other competitors all looking to win business.

Summary – Clear strategies should be set to recover abandoned bookings – consider a multi-channel solution such as phone, email and SMS.


#2 Only 2 companies called the customer on the phone number provided


It’s one thing to follow up abandonment with an email, but by calling somebody you can find out why they left and improve the customer journey for future customers. You can find out if it was an issue with the price, or because of uncertainties about the service. A phone call is probably the most engaging channel you have to make a sale, so it should be used wherever possible.

Summary – Unfortunately for the companies we tested, this has to go down as a missed opportunity.


#3 Average value of abandoned bookings was £170.26


Throughout testing we experimented with various add-ons and extras, but this didn’t impact the likelihood of a company getting in touch. The average booking for airport parking nationwide totalled £170.26; for travellers flying out of one London Airport, this jumps up to £613.58 for a fortnight away (holiday not included).

Summary – Having a system in place to recover abandoned bookings and convert some of them into sales is essential.


#4 Average response time: 15 hours 2 minutes


Out of 150 tests in total, we only received 13 responses to our abandoned applications, and the times we received them varied hugely. The quickest response we got was after 17 minutes, which is good but still not within the most effective time frame. As experienced abandonment recovery specialists, our own research shows that if a customer can be contacted within 15 minutes of abandoning a purchase online, they are 3 times more likely to carry on with the process than if it is delayed for over an hour.

So for the company that responded in 5 days, 23 hours and 37 minutes, there is a good chance your customer has made other arrangements… or is already on holiday!

Summary – Review options available to connect with abandoned visitors within 15 minutes. Consider using an automated system to increase revenue.


Final thoughts

Although there are several companies who have attempted to take up these systems, they seem to be more of a manual process, which doesn’t deal with leads in real-time or as effectively as automated marketing.

One parking company that did respond actually sent payment confirmations instead of a recovery emails, even though card details hadn’t been entered. This could have potentially lost 2 sales for the company if a space had been reserved.

Improving the way that online now connects with offline is critical for any ecommerce site that wants to maximise revenue.

There has been a tremendous take up of automated marketing systems by professionals in ecommerce, as competition has increased. Travel & Leisure companies in particular have become more competitive than ever but those that have adopted technology benefit the most.


For more information on how an automated marketing system could help your company improve customer engagement, contact us.


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