Nemacolin Resort’s 11-month Success With Shopping Cart Abandonment

Online booking engine data across NAVIS’ clients show a leap in guest interest. After bottoming out in the first week of April, abandoned booking sessions–and subsequent bookings–rebounded. In the two-weeks between May 4th and May 18th, NAVIS’ clients saw sessions grow from just over 30 per week to over 80 – nearly a 200% increase. 

These visits are akin to a prospect walking into your lobby, sharing some personal details, then leaving. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, an early adopter of Navis’ Shopping Cart Abandonment solution, recognizes this. In eight months, the 323-room luxury resort in Southwestern Pennsylvania drove over $200,000 in incremental revenue. They witnessed a 40% conversion rate on LifeCycle emails to unbooked web visitors, too. Since February–despite the pandemic slowdown–they’ve driven over $75,000 in bookings.   

In a recent interview, Nemacolin shared about their SCA experience and offered guidance to others considering outbound email or phone follow-up to abandoned booking leaders.

Below are highlights from their journey:

Nemacolin Resort: Highlights from the SCA Journey

They boosted direct bookings, unlocked demand pattern intel.

For properties dependent on direct bookings, SCA offers a way to drive additional direct channel business. This business is online too, “which we see as our lowest-cost channel.” 

Discovering the habits of online visitors also guides the sales approach. For example, the resort saw multiple, repeat visits in a day, as well as people visiting online and then calling in. Noting these patterns provided “an opportunity to capture an obviously interested guest and improve our online conversion rate.” 

Abandoned sessions are also a proxy for demand. Bookings engine traffic is a useful way for properties to plan staffing and gauge stay date, room category, and activity interest. 

They realized follow up wasn’t that hard.

SCA leads don’t need exhaustive nurturing by marketing. Reservation Sales teams are suited for quick email or phone follow up. But leaders are nervous for two key reasons: they are lightly staffed or don’t have a process for follow up. Nemacolin’s Martin says not to worry. Insights from booking activities make outreach simpler. “Our conversations are efficient and concise.” Agents ask for the sale quickly and have better questions. As well, these leads may be individuals who agents are already interacting with. “But now, we’re armed with more insight into what they want and what they are willing to spend.”

Take advantage of time-savers, too. “Put LifeCycle marketing automation in place” for some leads and be more proactive with outbound voice for other, valued ones. “This is a stepping stone; agents have space to get more comfortable” and the automation frees up leaders to develop templates and talk tracks.

They made subtle, but effective, shifts in their messaging for leads.

Most businesses lead with a discount to win back a visitor. By understanding behaviors, and using booking session data to gauge interest, Nemacolin disproved this. “We tested a ‘Sorry, we missed you and would love to have you’ message. Then we send them directly into the booking engine without a promo code. For us, a best-available-rate (BAR) strategy works.”

They got agents comfortable, quickly (and drove higher conversion rate). 

Agents may be unsure of what to do with new leads. They’ll ask: where are these from, what am I supposed to do with them, how do I manage them? “Just make sure agents know the source and how these were generated.” Then coach and retrofit sales messaging to get agents comfortable with a lead that originated in a digital channel and has moved to voice. 

“You don’t need to sell them the world when they’ve made it as far as your booking process.” They know what they’re interested in – “use the data you have to drive the conversation. It improves conversion rate, puts guests in the right room, and has agents on the phone less.”  

They let their Client Success Strategist and booking engine partner handle setup.

Rolling out SCA is a quick, three-phase process managed by a NAVIS Customer Support Specialist. Many clients have the solution implemented in less than one week. Once a bit of code is installed on the booking engine and LifeCycle email marketing copy is approved, clients start generating leads – in minutes. 

“This is a very easy tool to implement. We leaned on NAVIS and SynXis teams. It’s not rocket science.” 

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