About ZOZI

ZOZI Advance is the fastest growing web-based reservation, payment, and customer management platform used by thousands of activity, tour, and event merchants.

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Sabah Karimi

You've spent hours upon hours painstakingly creating a professional website to attract customers. You've made sure the photos are vivid. You consistently update your content to keep them engaged. You've smartly made it easier for them to book an activity or tour directly through your website. Now, make sure all that work isn't for naught, and make sure your checkout process is equally cared for. Statistics from the Baymard Institute reveal that more than two-thirds of shoppers end up abandoning their shopping cart at checkout. This means that two out of three customers may only work their way through part of your checkout flow process.

Whether it's because of technical issues, losing interest, or any type of interruption while the customer is online, you need to do whatever you can to create a streamlined checkout process that customers are eager to complete. Here are some best practices for optimizing the checkout process to maximize bookings for your tour and activities business.

1. Include teaser video snippets of the activity or tour.

Short teaser videos help to engage and entice potential customers during the sales process. Kissmetrics reports that anywhere from 64 to 85 percent of video viewers are more likely to buy your product after watching a product video. It's a simple and powerful way to share your offerings while moving the customer through the buying process with ease.

Best approach:

Place these videos right next to the "Book It!" button. The videos don't have to be lengthy—a minute or less, in fact—since they are essentially teaser videos giving the traveler a taste of what they're in for.

2. Make ratings and reviews more obvious.

Increase customer confidence by making reviews and ratings readily available within the listing. Results of the 2014 BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey found that 88 percent of online customers read reviews to determine the quality of a local business and 85 percent of consumers say they read up to 10 reviews.

Best approach:

Embed a list of reviews or star ratings prominently on your website, somewhere close to the banner and your "Book It!" button. This will encourage customers to read positive reviews before making their purchase—and without having to drift away from the call to action.

3. Include related bookings of interest.

Sites like Amazon have capitalized on the concept of generating more sales per visitor by sharing related product information or recommended products during the checkout process. For example, Amazon shoppers are exposed to Similar Products at checkout to provide personalized recommendations, thanks to Amazon's patented recommendation algorithm. The concept is simple: shoppers who are already in the mindset of buying are more likely to continue buying. FuturePay reports on this behavior, pointing out, "The more time customers have to contemplate their purchase, the more likely they will rethink the purchase. One-click shopping is one option to increase impulsive buying behavior within checkout."

Best approach:

If you use ZOZI Advance's online booking system, your customers can browse multiple activities and rentals at once using the shopping cart feature. You can set up multiple activities and products available during the booking process in the backend so that customers see even more options as they proceed through checkout—and confirm multi-bookings with ease. Another option is to set up Add-Ons to your activities or rentals. Just click the "Activities" tab at the top of the page in the backend and choose Add-Ons that will appear at checkout for one-click bookings.

4. Increase customer confidence with a stepped checkout process.

Even though you want to collect as much customer information as possible, automate the registration process with the checkout flow so that customers don't have to spend extra time setting up an account and then providing payment details for each booking. Research shows that 23 percent of online shoppers will abandon their cart when they have to create a new user account—it's the second biggest reason for cart abandonment, according to a study by Visual Website Optimizer (VWO).

Best approach:

Make things easy for your customer by only requiring them to provide contact information once and using a stepped process to get them through checkout. Amazon does a great job with this by taking shoppers through a step-by-step process with a "Sign In," "Shipping & Payment," "Gift Options," and "Place Order" sequence.

5. Disclose discounts or dropped prices upfront.

If you're offering discounted tours and activities as part of a seasonal special or have a discount code available for first-time travelers, make sure the site visitor knows about it well before they hit the checkout page. eConsultancy reports that 27 percent of shoppers surveyed abandoned carts because they were prompted to enter a coupon code and they didn't have one—possibly upon seeing the promo code box.

Best approach:

Reduce the risk of cart abandonment by deliberately including a link to the deal or other details about the discount on the homepage. This way, the customer doesn't have to click back to the site or dig around for the code or discount when they are ready to go ahead and book.

Final Thoughts

Generate more bookings each season with a streamlined checkout flow that helps increase customer confidence and, when possible, prompts customers to book more than they initially intended. Keeping customers engaged, providing just enough information, and recommending add-ons or other activities as an up-sell are just a few ways to generate more bookings and increase revenue from each completed booking.