Shopping Cart Abandonment was key to Spectrum Resorts’ recovery during the pandemic.
Spectrum Resorts is the premier rental management company along the Alabama Gulf Coast, providing over 500 luxury rentals at both The Beach Club in Gulf Shores and Turquoise Place in Orange Beach, Alabama. With The Beach Club ranked as a Top 10 Family Beach Resorts, and an unsurpassed mix of five-star service and condominium comforts at Turquoise Place, Spectrum Resorts has one goal: to create the ultimate vacation experience.
Of all of the issues surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, one, in particular, took Ashlee Lowry, Director of Marketing at Spectrum Resorts, by surprise. “After the initial slowdown, we were swamped by calls and messages,” shared Ashlee. “Every day, we woke up to 500 or 600 voicemails, and hundreds more messages on our social media channels.”
Prospects were anxious to travel but hesitant to book. Questions on cleanliness, refund policies and available amenities persisted. Staffing shortages had Spectrum reeling; there were hot leads that needed some reassurance, but no way to quickly respond.
“Of course, we wanted to bring staff back. We had 100 open positions we were trying to fill.” Even fully staffed the resort wouldn’t be equipped for the surge of interest. “On average, we receive ten to fifteen social media messages per day,” remarked Ashlee. There was no plan for a 1,000% jump in inquiries.
This presented a unique challenge: how to prioritize callbacks, address concerns, and convert overwhelming interest with a small team of call center agents and marketers. “Many of the calls and messages were from prospects who went to our website, chose dates and room type, and then exited the booking engine. They just weren’t confident.”
Despite the team’s best efforts, these messages drowned in the sea of inquiries. “There’s no playbook for prioritizing who to call back when hundreds of messages arrive each day,” she admits.
Spectrum Resorts didn’t want to lose interested visitors, but they couldn’t wait for agents to work through expanding call-back lists. They decided to answer prospects’ questions head-on.
- They implemented Shopping Cart Abandonment (SCA) to reach guests who were on the fence about booking. An email is triggered when a prospect exits the booking engine after their information is entered.
- Design a simple, to-the-point email to ease traveler worries. Email sends are automated using Revinate Email Marketing. “We shared our cleaning and cancellation policies, and highlighted available amenities while inviting them back to book.”
Concerns about introducing new technology, process, and expense during a chaotic season were quickly dismissed. “The SCA setup process was very low maintenance,” offered Ashlee. “After a quick, explanatory call I signed up. Two weeks later we were capturing leads and recapturing bookings.”
Ashlee admits not being 100% sure what to expect. Then, the revenues hit. “That first $5,000 was an ‘ah-ha’ moment.” A few days later, they had $11,000, and the bookings poured in. “We generated over $600,000 in three months with one email to abandoned leads,” said Ashlee. Her team sees nearly 70% open rates on emails and converts these direct bookings without additional staffing.
The time savings is significant, too. “Each week we’re saving hours of work from manually pulling reports and crafting emails.”
Today, Spectrum Resorts operates at 99% occupancy. Ashlee plans to keep the Shopping Cart Abandonment tool running but will expand her email nurturing strategies with additional automated email solutions. “There’s other low-hanging fruit in our business, and I’m ready to find it.”