In the traditional travel and tourism industry, it used to take a long time to book everything at a travel agent, getting the right deal, and walking out with a large plastic binder containing paperwork that would be dogeared by the time the holiday started.
Nowadays, there are a bunch of mobile applications for the travel and tourism industry that can do most, if not all, of the work for you, taking you from your home to your chosen destination, and back again, all accomplished from the comfort of your favorite chair.
All the necessary information is right there in the palm of your hand. And if you don’t have a plan, there are travel apps that will help.
Tourism app development and technology is moving forward at an astonishing rate, with virtual reality tours of hotels and amenities, and smart rooms in hotels.
Smartphone users regularly look at online reviews to find the best deals in all aspects of the travel industry, including hotel reservations, book flights, entertainment and even restaurants. There are plenty of mobile apps that are specifically designed to help customers enjoy themselves while on vacation. Dedicated developers work on providing the best user experience for their customers.
Let’s take a look at some of the features for the users and also some of the benefits for the mobile app provider.
Travel and tourism - is there a difference?
Travel means to move from one place to another. Some would define travel as commuting to work, or even walking to the corner store. Travel apps overlap with tourism apps, but with less focus on tour packages.
The meaning of tourism is to travel somewhere away from home for the purpose of leisure, recreation or a business trip. The destinations provide services to the customers as required.
The tourism sector provides many different services, including hospitality, transportation, information and facilities, and entertainment. That’s why tourism app development and tourism app development services are on the rise, to engage and serve new and returning customers.
A mobile application is able to give abundant information about all of the services in the tourism industry. With just a few clicks, you can book the cheapest or the most luxurious travel packages depending on your budget. You can find out about upcoming events and festivals, and get a really good insight into what you can expect.
Different types of travel and tourism applications
Having described the difference between travel and tourism, we can get into the different apps available for specific types of both the travel and tourism sector. All of these mobile apps can be found in the app stores.
One of the most popular travel apps is Google maps, a cross-platform application that works equally well on all devices. With recommendations and suggestions, it is a powerful tool for tourists.
But for specific requirements, such as for a flight booking, hotel reservation or in-country tour, there are cleverly designed apps that zoom in on your needs. There is even a travel app for jet lag, which helps you prepare your circadian rhythm before, during and after a long haul vacation.
For unorthodox travelers, and by that I mean people who like adventure and off-the-beaten-path tourism, it’s best to be prepared. There is a travel app that will show you how to pack the necessary gear according to the weather and climate conditions in your chosen destination, especially for hiking, walking, cycling and camping vacations. You won’t forget a thing.
If you are going to a non-english speaking country, it is crucial to have a translator on your smartphone and maybe even try to learn a few common words using a language app.
While some people prefer an app that provides everything to the user, including flights, bookings and reviews, I prefer to have a specialized travel and tourism app to manage each part of my tourism package. It’s easier for me to open one app for exchange rates and let it sit in the background, ready for quick deployment when the time is right to make a purchase. It’s simply much clearer at the end of the day to check your spending, as each travel app will have its own header on your bank statement.
Features of travel and tourism apps
Here are some of my recommendations for mobile apps in travel and tourism:
Kayak – for an all-in-one package of flights, hotels and other activities
Packpoint – a cool app to make sure you take the right gear with you
Xe – for currency conversions
Wanderlog – a great travel app for planning road trips and group travel
Airbnb – a superb travel app for those who prefer to stay in private homes
Polarsteps – for those who want to document their entire adventure
Translator – either Google or Microsoft will do the job nicely
It has been on the go since 2004, and comes highly recommended. This tourism app allows you to shop for and compare deals on flights, hotels and other activity related events. It gathers data from loads of different websites, saving you time and trouble. When you decide what you want, booking is relatively straightforward and stress free.
It’s an intuitive little app that formulates a checklist depending on where you are going and what you will be doing. It will even ask you if you will have access to laundry facilities on your vacation!
It’s the ‘The World’s Trusted Currency Authority’ and it does what it says on the tin. I have used Xe numerous times over the years in many different countries, and it always works.
This is a super app that allows you to plan your itinerary and lets you share it online with your friends, who can then edit it to add attractions or places they know. It will also suggest ‘must see’ locations on your trip.
This is probably the biggest app for recreation travelers, who don’t want to use hotels and prefer a more personal approach to accommodation during their travels. Quaint village houses, upmarket city apartments and off the beaten track rooms are all part of the experience.
Allows you to set up your travel route and store photos and notes along the way. It’s mainly designed for adventure tourism, and you can even purchase a book showing your exploits in the wild!
An app that’s a no-brainer, unless you wish to spend time learning a new language. Google and Microsoft apps are brilliant, although not always 100% accurate. Some laughs or quizzical looks might possibly follow.
Even the trusty Lonely Planets series is online, and uses a subscription method, so it’s not free. But it’s really good for people who have already sorted out their flights and accommodation and are looking for concise details on around 8,000 cities.
Transactions and payments
Mobile apps for banking and transactions are aplenty, but there is a slim chance that your bank doesn’t have a mobile app. If that is the case, setting up an online payment system is straightforward.
It is one of the biggest online payment systems and there are 100’s of millions of active users out there that enjoy the simplicity of the app. You store your credit or debit card details on their secure website and then you can use it to make purchases.
Speed, security and Paypal rewards are the most popular reasons for using it. There are over 19 million merchants that accept the Paypal platform.
It is a mobile transaction platform that is currently available in around 40 countries. It is similar to Paypal, and the reviews seem to suggest general satisfaction with transactions. However it is better used between people and not so much between user and business. It was initially set up to support cryptocurrencies.
It is a mobile app that is a cracking alternative to Paypal, and most people are familiar with the Google suite of apps. Users simply add their bank details to the app, and are then able to pay on apps, in-store and websites. Best of all, it’s mostly free!
Benefits to the travel app developer
With the pandemic settling down a bit, most of the world is again opening up its doors to travelers and tourists. There are some restrictions, but for the most part it is almost back to normal.
According to Statistica, in 2020, with Covid in full swing, the travel and tourism business still managed a market share of a staggering $1 trillion globally. In 2021, the business was estimated at $1.3 trillion, and it needs to start off on the right foot for 2022 and beyond.
The type of mobile apps in this article are going to be used more and more, and that’s good news for tourism app development and entrepreneurs.
Monetising a travel or tourism app is uncomplicated. Most of the mobile apps in this article are free to download, but once you feel comfortable with them, it is an easy decision to move up to ‘pro’ or paid levels, to get more services and get rid of annoying ads.
Commission from bookings made using mobile apps would be an invisible generator for the developers, as it would be included in the total. Making travel apps that have a cost to download generates income, and apps are not particularly expensive to most users.
Some apps will send hotel deals to users who have only booked a flight. Having related travel and tourism industry recommendations sent to your smartphone is definitely a way to increase revenue for the app owner. Flying to Paris? How about renting a bicycle? Paris is relatively flat!
Data is king, and all users of mobile travel and tourism apps will have relevant data stored by the developers.
That data can then be used to increase customer satisfaction, upselling, and focussing on high points in their travel process. It can also be used to show problem areas that can be reviewed and repaired as needed. Personalized travel and tourism plans come from a travel company’s clever use of data.
Tripadvisor is the market leader for reviews in the travel and tourism business, and generates income from click based advertising, sponsored placements, subscriptions and listing fees to name a few.
It is best known for providing information to users using an open forum for reviews. Users can also ask questions on the forum about different destinations and events, and get clear feedback from others.
In December 2019, the pandemic started. We have lived through over two years of disruption and unrest, and now we can see light at the end of the tunnel.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization has a dashboard online, updated monthly, showing that most countries are open for tourism, with some restrictions. The tourism industry is obviously keen to see all options opening up.
Many hotels are heavily investing in new technology to make guests feel more welcome.
For example, you might find a smart speaker in your room that will let you dim lights, ask for room service and find out about upcoming events in your area, without contacting a member of staff.
Robot carriers will move your luggage from the check-in desk to your room, and robot security guards will protect you while you sleep.
It’s time to put a smile back on the faces of those employed in the travel and tourism industry by using their services and having a great time while doing so!