Back in February, I used a vacation-rental site to book a beautiful house on the water for my wife and me and a group of friends. We read the reviews, scrutinized listings and picked the winner.
The booking process went well, but if you have ever booked a site without seeing it in person, you might feel a little anxious after clicking “Book now.”
Will this place that just ate a big chunk of my credit limit turn out as advertised? Will it live up to the photos in the listing, or is it really a shack on a main road with some stranger’s shoes on the deck?
One day after I booked, I got an email. “We saved your search so you don’t miss out on your dream vacation,” it said.
Yes, folks, I freaked out.
Attack of the browse-abandon emails
I booked the place, so why was I getting this browse-abandon email? My card didn’t go through? The owner refused my booking? My reservation got lost? Somebody else booked it a second before I did?
Over the next four months, I looked at the property 22 times, and I received 22 follow-up emails. I know exactly how many because I saved them all.
I won’t mention the site because we all have things in our email programs that we know we need to fix. But there’s an opportunity to learn from it and make sure we’re not making the same mistake.
If you follow me on MarTech, you know how much I love browse-abandon emails (not). But this gave me a whole bunch of teachable moments, which I have narrowed down to three because I just returned from that beautiful house and am in post-vacation-chill mode:
1. Set up or adjust your exclusions
Browse-abandon emails make sense in travel and hospitality, because repeatedly viewing locations, hotels and attractions can be strong intent signals. The dollar value is higher, and the travel shopper’s mindset is more considered.
Your marketing automations must build in exclusions for people who don’t need to receive a follow-up message, even if they meet some of the triggering criteria, like a site visit. Yes, they are still showing intent, but has that intent grown or has it waned? Do you need to change the message?