10+ Booking Abandonment Email Subject Line Examples with High Open-Rates

September 26, 2022

Whether you’re sending booking abandonment, confirmation or post-stay follow up emails – the facts stay consistent: great email subject lines result in opened messages; poor ones may be deleted without being read

While it’s important to put time into crafting awesome content for your email campaigns, do not overlook the importance of your subject line. The results of your email marketing campaign will drastically differ based on the subject line used and this is especially true for booking abandonment campaigns.

The term booking abandonment comes from shopping cart abandonment, a common problem for eCommerce stores. It refers to online shoppers that begin the checkout process but do not complete it. Many online retailers and hotels suffer from high cart abandonment rates and revenue drain due to abandoned shopping carts.

When it comes to booking abandonment, hotels lose out in a big way:

  • Nearly $16 billion in lost revenue annually
  • Unrealized guest relationships
  • Increased marketing spend

Booking abandonment emails are the solution to this problem, as they help re-engage travelers that have started the booking process but didn’t complete it. But before you hit send, you’ll need an email subject line that is up to snuff. 

Why Your Email Subject Line Matters

finances online email subject line infographic


Your email subject line is your first opportunity to make a good impression and persuade someone to open your email. In fact, 64% of people say that the subject line is what influences their decision whether to open an email or not.

Think about it from your own perspective. When you’re scanning your inbox, what types of subject lines stand out to you and make you want to click? Chances are, it’s something that’s interesting, helpful, or both.

On the other hand, a boring or spammy subject line is likely to get your email deleted without even being opened. As much as 69% of email users say they report emails as spam based solely on the subject line.

Best Email Subject Line Examples for Booking Abandonment

So, it’s clear that email subject lines are an important part of a successful email marketing strategy. But what makes a good email subject line?

Lucky for you, we’ve got the stats! We’re breaking down our users’ most successful booking abandonment campaigns based on open-rates. Below you’ll find 12 examples of abandoned booking email subject lines that are proven to produce high open-rates:

1. “Oops, did something go wrong with your booking?”

This subject line is a classic and has a long-running history of helping eCommerce brands recover abandoned carts. However, this subject line works just as well for re-engaging abandoned bookings for hotels! 

This is because it conveys a support-tone over a sales and marketing tone. The “Oops” is casual yet attention grabbing, leading readers to click on the email to investigate what may have gone “wrong.” 

This prompts guests to take another look at their booking, leading to a successful re-engagement of a previously abandoned booking. 

Our analytics show that this subject line performs particularly well when used for the first email of a three-email recovery campaign, producing an 82.1% open-rate.

2.“Availability is limited. Book today!” 

Here we have a perfect example of how to create a sense of urgency and FOMO. Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is a common scarcity marketing tactic used to increase sales. 

Scarcity marketing is a powerful tool for marketers, as consumers correlate limited availability with increased value. In this example, we can see that limited availability is highlighted, and this prompts guests to finish their booking before it’s too late.

This subject line also doubles down by creating a sense of urgency. In marketing, creating a sense of urgency refers to using language that encourages people to take action now instead of later. 

When used in a three-email recovery campaign, this subject line resulted in an average open-rate of 71.4% for the second email in the campaign. 

3. “Your booking is almost complete (and now includes 20% off) 💰”

Deals and discount codes are a great way to incentivize guests to complete their booking. Cost is a major factor behind booking abandonment, and even the smallest price drop will nudge travelers to book.

By offering a discount or coupon, you’re giving guests an extra reason to finalize their purchase. This can be especially effective if the guest is on the fence about whether or not to book in the first place.

We’ve seen hotels using this subject line reach open rates up to 71.7%, but that’s not all. Emails using this subject line also had higher conversion rates of 8.7%. Not too shabby for offering a small discount!

4. “You are just a few clicks away from your dream vacation”

This email subject line takes a more personal approach by talking about the guests’ dream vacation. This can be an effective way to connect with guests on an emotional level and prompt them to finish their booking. 

Emotions drive us to do many things, and booking vacations is one of them. By playing into the desires of travelers in your email subject line, you’ll increase both your open-rates and conversion rates. 

Remember: benefits and desires sell.

5. “There’s still time to complete your booking”

As mentioned above, creating a sense of urgency is a helpful strategy for increasing open-rates and click-through rates, but sometimes a gentle reminder is enough to work wonders. 

In a report by Experian, it was found that email subject lines applying a sense of urgency increased transaction rates by 16%. Simple yet to the point, this subject line reminds readers that they should book in a timely manner. 

6. “Book now while there’s still room”

Another simple yet effective classic. By stating that travelers must “book now” this subject line creates a sense of urgency, but also comes off as helpful. You as the brand want the traveler to secure their dates instead of missing out! 

To create a sense of urgency you must be persuasive but not pushy. Suggesting that your hotel will soon book up also implies popularity, which further increases perceived value. 

We can see proof of this in the 66.7% open-rates for this subject line when used in the third email of a recovery campaign. 

7. “Still undecided? Book direct and save!”

Direct bookings are the golden ticket in hospitality, as they allow hotels to avoid hefty service fees that most online travel agencies (OTAs) demand. This subject line also works to benefit both the hotel and the traveler.

It not only incentivizes travelers to book by offering savings, but it reminds them why they should book directly. Travelers will be more likely to book directly for their next stay, as they’ll remember the deal they received!

8. “We’ve penciled in your dates at (the hotel)”

This subject line takes on a helpful tone and ensures travelers that their stay is important to the hotel. When it comes to booking and cart recovery, it is essential that potential customers feel valued.

By taking on a helpful tone and reminding guests that you are holding their dates, they will feel both valued and a need to reciprocate. 

The rule of reciprocity is a marketing term that describes our need to offer something in return when we receive something. By doing guests a favor and holding their dates, you increase their need to reciprocate and offer something in return, such as a booking.

9. “Did you forget something? Book your stay while you still can”

Here we have a great example of how to combine two strategies into one subject line: a helpful reminder and a sense of urgency.

In the first half of this subject line, we see the helpful reminder asking potential guests if they “forgot something.” This does a great job of sparking curiosity, before leading into a more firm reminder that creates a sense of urgency. 

By reminding guests that time is limited, you can prompt guests to take another look at their booking to see if everything is in order. 

10. ““Last chance to save 10% on your stay at (the hotel)”

We all love a good discount, and travelers are especially swayed by savings. Over half of travelers, 51%, say that deals and discounts are what prompt their bookings, according to a study conducted by CMO Council in 2018. 

So, it’s no surprise that this email subject line is so effective. On top of offering a discount, this subject line is a great example of a limited time offer. Limited time offers are popular for cart recovery emails due to the quick response they elicit. 

Using a statement like “last chance” in your booking recovery subject line also creates a fear of missing out. This can be especially effective if the guest is on the fence about whether or not to book in the first place. 

11. “Your VIP offer of 20% off has arrived”

The most successful hoteliers know that building guest relationships is key for a long-running and profitable hotel business. To build relationships with guests, it’s important to make them feel special. Have you ever considered that an abandoned booking email is the start of this relationship?

This subject line sets the stage for the beginning of that relationship by making travelers feel special with a “VIP” offer. As we’ve covered already, travelers love discounts but by adding this extra level of exclusivity to the offer you are more likely to land the booking.

12. “Hey (John Doe), we’re still holding your dates!”

This subject line takes a more personal approach by addressing guests directly and making them feel as though the hotel is excited to welcome them. Personalized email subject lines with the recipient’s first name are shown to increase email open-rates by 26%.

Using a guest’s name in an abandoned booking email also makes a great first impression, and first impressions are important for guest loyalty!


Email subject lines are one of the most important elements of a booking abandonment campaign. They determine whether or not your email gets opened, and if it does, whether or not the recipient takes any action on it. The best email subject lines for booking abandonment create a sense of urgency, provide incentives to travelers, use active and enticing language, and are personalized for best results. 

By using any of the above email subject lines for your booking abandonment emails, you’re sure to increase open rates and boost bookings. But remember, an effective email subject line is only one step in the process. Make sure your email content is just as strong.
At RezRecover, we’ve created a library of email templates that you can use in your own campaigns – all you need to do is sign-up. So what are you waiting for? Start recovering lost bookings today!