Every traveler knows the names of the industry giants in travel apps, and it would be foolish to think that a newcomer might upset the applecart, but it’s not impossible. The public votes with their smartphones.
Due to the flexibility of travel app development and the configurations and permutations, it is possible to develop a completely new travel app, with features aimed directly at the target market.
Custom software is time-consuming and has high development costs, so a new travel app will usually borrow from well established core features and add links, or APIs to that framework.
People who enjoy travel planning have their favourite apps to accompany them on their journeys, such as Google maps or a currency converter, for example. Everyone is different, and modern technologies allow for each person to choose mobile travel apps for their style of travel.
Travel mobile app development
Let’s delve into how to build a travel mobile app, starting with an idea.
Identify your target audience
Travel and tourism can be enjoyed by almost everyone, regardless of their location. That doesn’t mean they will all download the same mobile app, as situations differ between regions and cultures.
Once a business idea for a travel app has been realised, it is time to do research into the target audience. The perfect scenario is to create a perfect travel app for those people.
It’s perfectly acceptable to do a little spying on the competition and find ways to offer a better service to users. The new travel app needs to be a major improvement over the competitor’s offering to draw users in.
It is necessary to find out what the competition gives to their users and find out how to upscale and lever things to an advantage.
Find a development company
A software company that specializes in travel mobile app development is the next logical step in the development process, one that is capable of producing a high quality travel app on the different mobile platforms.
A search on Clutch or similar listings will help decide which software company should be approached. Additionally, word of mouth recommendations are very useful to pick and choose.
After deciding on one or two good prospects, the app development company can enter into meetings and negotiations with the client.
Once one is chosen, they will put together a dedicated team to build a travel app as specified by the client.
To create a travel app, clear communication is needed between the client and the software development company. There are different business models to suit, depending on any expected ROI.
There are also delivery dates and schedules to be agreed, with an early version of the app available as a minimum viable product.
Once the software company has produced a MVP, the fledgling travel app can be released to a select group of external testers and users who are happy to test a new mobile travel app with limited functionality.
With feedback and comments generated from the launch, the client and the dedicated team from the software company can add, adjust and upgrade the app development cycle to include more features.
Continuous development approach
Working together, the client and the travel app company can produce upgrades and different models for the users. New features and functionalities can be introduced, along with layers of membership, from standard to premium features.
It is important in the travel industry to keep a travel app fresh and up to date.
Travel app monetization
There are several different forms of travel app monetization, and the mobile travel app development process can choose between several types.
Going into partnerships with companies that will benefit from the travel app will provide a percentage commission of all transactions.
In app advertising, as seen on the top or bottom of the mobile screen, easily generates income for the travel app owners. Companies will pay for advertising space.
Premium features are another form of monetizing a mobile travel app, and once users have discovered the travel app with standard settings, it is likely that, for a little outlay, they will progress to the premium features.
A successful travel mobile app
If the travel app hits all the sweet spots and is attractive and easy to use, there is no reason why it can’t become trending and move up the charts. It is all about filling the needs of the target audience.
When travel agencies want their own travel app, it will be developed using a combination of their experience and skills in the travel industry, with the knowledge and skills of the app developing company.
Travel agencies understand the demands of their customers and will ask for the features needed to fulfil those requirements.
Travel apps and their uses
Now that the mobile app development process has been laid out, the next step is to review different types of features that can be offered.
Below is a summary of different types of travel app including a must have feature.
User Log In (Must have feature!)
It is great that a user can download a mobile version of a travel app and check it out, but for a company to obtain data, they must include a registration process if the user decides to make bookings.
Logging in to a mobile app should be easy, with the minimum amount of input by the user. This is crucial as most will be turned off by a complicated or in-depth sign up process. A travel app is not a bank.
Name, contact number, email and password should suffice and provide the company with solid basic data on which to build. This is a critical feature for the app owner.
All the data provided will go towards giving a better customer experience, for example by using push notifications for up to date information.
If a mobile app has a trip planning function, most of the needs of regular travellers are met. Everything from flights, accommodation, local attractions and entertainment can be found and booked using the app.
Although this feature is basically an online travel agency, the experience makes it feel like a user has created their own trip.
Some travelers compare it to having a travel agency in your pocket, and wouldn’t leave home without it.
Where would we be without google maps? Well, we wouldn’t really know if we were in a far off place.
A geolocation feature is probably the most common mobile application on the market. It provides lots of other information too, including cultural references and important sites.
It’s a no-brainer when it comes to developing a travel app.
Weather forecast apps
The weather does have a way of making or breaking a holiday, and this feature will be a plus point for a successful travel app.
With a combination of forecasting and real time indications, travelers can stay away from rainstorms by choosing indoor activities.
Reservation travel apps
As part of the booking process, this travel app allows the user to reserve hotel rooms, restaurants and even concert tickets. This smartphone app uses in app purchases, avoiding long queues and wasted time.
It is a welcome addition to any travelers mobile phone.
Public and private transport apps
Travelling around an unfamiliar city can be exhausting on foot, and thus limits the whole experience. Taking a bus, taxi or other form of transport is made easy with these apps.
Anything on the other side of town is put back within reach, and usually for a very small price.
For the bold and adventurous traveler, electric bikes and scooters are now common in most big cities, and they can be rented by using a tourism app.
Review and recommendation apps
Having access to a travel app that shows reviews on just about any venue is always a bonus.
Here, a user can look at a restaurant and see what previous visitors thought of the place, from the food to the overall experience.
In return, the users can leave their own thoughts on a myriad of venues, not just restaurants, but also historical landmarks and cultural sites.
Social media apps
People love to share their adventures and exploits, and it is easy with social media mobile apps. Gone are the postcards and letters, users can share their amazing images and videos in real time, with corresponding replies and views.
Augmented reality apps
Relatively new on the market, augmented reality allows the customer to check out a venue on a smartphone screen with additional information being presented for the viewer.
Everything from surrounding businesses and restaurants to important signposts and history markers appear as the user moves around, using the screen as a tour guide.
Currency converter apps
Something that all travellers need is the facility for checking how much an item is in their own currency.
Not only that, if a traveler has to visit an exchange office, it’s good to know the exact rate of exchange to decide whether to use the office or pass.
Flight booking application
With just a few taps on the screen, this smartphone app will allow users to book a flight at any time, and choose the best one for them.
Taking an aggregate of all available flights, the travel app will present a set of choices that fit the request, and then will confirm the booking once completed, adding all relevant e-paperwork to the user’s trip planner.
Road trip planning apps
A lot of holidays in Europe and the USA are road trips, with families or friends driving from one place to another, either directly or in a roundabout fashion.
One needs to know fuel stops and resting places during the trip. Otherwise it could lead to a sticky situation on a deserted road in the middle of nowhere.
Add a link to emergency services in case of breakdown, and this travel app will quietly support any road trip safely.
This type of mobile app is another one of the most important additions to a smartphone. When traveling to a foreign country on holiday, a user needs to be able to translate speech, text and signs to avoid problems.
Apart from general informational questions, there is often a need to translate official signs in order not to fall foul of the law.
Something as daft as requiring a swimming cap in public pools will get a swift fine if ignored.
There are many more variations of travel apps available and it would take too long to mention them all. The ones listed above are the most used and popular.
Travel app development continues to grow and use newer technology. The number of programming languages to produce a travel app varies according to which platform is chosen and which backend development is required.
A hybrid travel app, one that works on both Android and iOS has the most choice of languages.
WIth each added feature, the price of development increases, naturally, as does the tech stack with tools, frameworks and libraries.
Choosing the right travel app features is key. Careful thought must be used to avoid clutter, and potentially drive new users away.
It is crucial to understand what a new travel app will do, and what problems it will be able to handle for the users.
Selecting a niche is the first step, then deciding on the right direction for the market is next.
To make a travel app that connects with the customer and uses all the core features is the objective. Such apps are difficult to get right, but when they are, they are so valuable.