Tour Tech

Why All Tour Operators Need an Abandoned Cart Strategy

Discover how a strong, proactive abandoned cart strategy can convince "on the fence" shoppers to complete their booking without your team having to lift a finger.
Ewell Torphy
6 minutes

70% — That’s how many online shopping carts are abandoned before a purchase is completed, so say the experts. And while this number might seem high, those same experts put it even higher for the tourism industry (including tour and activity operators).

Closer to 81%, they say.

Why Tourists Abandon Carts

The reason for all these ghosted carts?

  • Window shopping
  • Bargain hunting
  • The need for more information
  • An inability to decide

While most online sellers are resigned to the whims of cart abandoners, successful tour owners (like you) take a more proactive approach. These operators recognize that many of the reasons shoppers/tourists give for not completing a reservation are fairly easy to overcome, often quite quickly too.

It might surprise you to learn that when you connect with a shopper and answer their questions, the result is a happy 11% boost in sales.*

A Strong Abandoned Cart Strategy Can Boost Sales 11%

Of course, the operative word in that sentence above is “connect.” Any effective abandoned cart strategy requires you to connect with your visitor in order to rescue a sale, and a strong outreach strategy is where the most operators shine in their rescue attempts.

This outreach should include an automated email or text campaign and a quickly placed phone call to your website visitor.

How TripWorks Helps Overcome Abandoned Carts

At TripWorks, we’ve designed our platform with the capabilities tour operators need to maximize bookings and ROI.

One way we’ve done this is by equipping the TripWorks platform with tools needed to combat the abandoned cart phenomenon and turn those leads into sales. (See TripWorks’ Technology for Abandoned Carts).

With the TripWorks’ booking flow, when a visitor comes to a tour or activity operator’s website and starts the reservation process, we ask them to provide their contact information upfront. Specifically, we collect the guests’ name, email address and phone number as the first step in our conversion-optimized reservation path.

Honestly, name, email and phone number … that’s a lot of information … really valuable information. (We also use AI to collect a few more tidbits about your website guests, a secret sauce capability unique to TripWorks that we’re happy to share when you book a demo.)

Once gathered, TripWorks saves this contact information in the tour operator’s Drafts folders – immediately, even before the reservation is final. If the reservation is completed and the sale confirmed, this reservation converts from draft mode to a fully converted reservation.

But if it doesn’t convert (as happens 81% of the time), the tour operator needs only open their Reservation Draft to know who visited their site and in which trip and dates these potential customers are interested.

TripWorks Gives Tour Operators Direct Access to Shoppers

Armed with the “who and how,” the operator can take the next step in securing the booking. The best approach involves two steps: both sending emails and/or texts and placing phone calls as soon as possible, while the guest is still considering dreaming of their travel plans.

Automated Email and Text Strategy

TripWorks builds a workflow to automatically kick off an email series when an abandoned cart pops up. TripWorks’ customers can define when a cart is deemed “abandoned,” after a few minutes or a few hours.

This idle status triggers the TripWorks platform to initiate your email series, a collection of emails encouraging your visitor to return and complete their reservation with you.

Generally, a “Win-Back or Re Engagement” series will include:

  • Email 1: A friendly reminder that a reservation is unconfirmed.
  • Email 2: A stronger nudge, perhaps suggesting time sensitivity to the sale.
  • Email 3: A special offer or promotional code to use with the booking.

Email and Text Results

According to, 44.1% of abandoned cart emails are opened, which is a terrific  engagement rate. And almost a third of the clicks they get (29.9%) lead to a recovered sale. provides similar stats, stating that abandoned cart emails average open rates of 41.18% and click rates of 9.5%. They continue, saying that businesses with AOV of $100 to $500 recover 4% to 5% of their abandoned carts on average using an email strategy.

A Winning Abandoned Cart Strategy is Available for All Tour Operators

Phone Call Strategy

As mentioned above, TripWorks sets a trigger when an abandoned cart appears. Notification for this trigger is customizable to each account and is sent as an email, text message or in-platform alert.

This means that not only can you reach cart abandoners through an automated email series, but, with TripWorks, you also have the information you need – in real time – to truly connect with these guests with a quick, proactive phone call.

And this is precisely how one TripWorks customer handles their abandoned carts.

  • A text message is sent to the office staff when an abandoned cart is identified on the TripWorks platform.
  • The staff then locates the unconfirmed reservation in their Reservation Drafts folder.
  • The final step is a phone call to the guest to answer any questions or resolve any potential objections.

Phone Call Results

While this TripWorks customer admits that most guests are surprised to hear from them by phone, and so quickly after abandoning their cart, using this approach has added 11% to their bottom line. Note — this is an 11% boost on top of the success of automated recovery emails.

A Final Note

Abandoned carts are an unfortunate reality of online commerce, and more so for online travel commerce. But there are ways to combat abandoned carts and win over undecided guests. It only takes a committed strategy, a bit of effort and the technology the TripWorks platform provides.

As a final note, per one of the industry’s top research houses, Quantum Metric, travel is finally rebounding to pre-Covid days. Their findings show that the news is good: Travel sales are up and abandoned carts are down.

That is good news indeed.

Here’s to a complete return to full calendars. And until then, here’s to a successful and smart abandoned cart strategy.

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