Mobile apps have had a massive impact on how the travel and tourism industry operates in the UK. Why should you think about investing in this space? Let’s explore.
Mobile apps are continuously evolving and have brought about a revolution in the travel and tourism industry on a global scale. Many would go as far as saying that physical bookings and visiting travel agencies are a thing of the past.
With a complete overhaul worldwide, the UK too witnessed its travel companies trying to leverage devices in the customers’ pockets to increase efficiency and agility in delivering a service at a competitive price.
The impact of mobile apps is evident everywhere and the travel and tourism sector in the UK has not been left behind either.
Be it booking a world cruise, an unforgettable honeymoon, flights to an exotic destination, airport pick-up and drop, cab services, destination experiences, or even as basic as a long-distance bus ticket, a travel and tourism mobile apps make this entire process effortless. It is a one-stop solution that only comprises of a few simple steps.
Approximately 80% of travelers today use mobile apps to plan and book their travel and holidays. This massive shift in customer behavior has driven several travel companies to launch their respective mobile applications to encourage frequent interactions and engagements with their target audience.
So, these mobile apps not only bring ease but also multi-benefits for both users as well as for the travel and tourism companies.
Features That Make a Successful Mobile Travel App
If you are thinking of developing a travel and tourism mobile app, take a look at the must-have feature list that will make it a running success.
#1. Registration and Profile Management
First up as part of the core functionalities is the user registration and profile management feature that is present in the majority of mobile applications.
Many travel apps allow users to have a browse through minus logging in. Some even permit bookings as Guest Users who do not wish to create a permanent profile on the app.
Having said that, registering and creating a profile just makes the process easier as you do not need to submit your key information along with payment details every time you book a holiday.
Usually, a phone number/email ID with a password is sufficient. However, many apps also allow users to login using their social media handles or Google logins to sign up. The faster, the better for user experience.
Have separate registration access for hosts to list their property on your travel app. They should ideally be able to share all relevant documents confirmation authorization for listing along with the agreement on the app itself.
#2. Search and Filters
Another core feature of any travel app is to let the users search for flights and a place to stay. Filters such as the number of people, date, budget, location, and so on in those places can help the search taking into account customer preferences. For a more precise result, the users should have more filters.
#3. Listing Information
When your users have shortlisted hotels or experiences on your travel app, naturally, they will want to have a little more information about it. This is where the listing information features come in handy as you can include the following:
- Available booking dates
- Customers’ reviews
- Rules and cancellation policies
Alternatively, you can also show a part of your listing information on a map. Your app users will be able to see the exact location of their chosen accommodation, restaurant, or shopping center.
The basis that, they can look up other facilities such as the nearest tube or train station, bus or taxi stand, other places to see nearby, etc.
Depending on the app platform, your developers can create itinerary apps using Apple Maps or Google Maps.
Remember that your listing information feature must be extended to the hosts too. They will need a dedicated option to add their place and its description to the list. Typically, the host will enter the following:
- Available rooms
#4. Messaging Channels
All travel apps must have a dedicated messaging channel such as a live chat feature that connects customers with agents instantly. This is important as customers are quite fickle when it comes to booking their travel and a moment’s delay or delayed customer service can drive them to take their business to a competitor.
Other messaging channels apart from a live chat can be incorporating chatbots that can be programmed to respond to simple customer queries and then transfer more complex concerns to agents. Strengthen it by adding direct access to a call-centre number and you would have done a good job of it.
#5. Intelligent Booking Systems
Booking systems is the most important feature of any travel and tourism app as it combines some of the core functionalities like reminders, price comparison, alerts on upcoming discounts, saving future bookings and cataloging in a single dashboard.
For this functionality, developers use different technologies and platforms– like Booking.com, Skyscanner, and other more popular tools. The part is extremely crucial to get the right as it can elevate the total user experience to another level.
Most travelers when they arrive at their chosen destination want to find out what’s around them that is easily accessible. Is there a happening club nearby, or a restaurant that can be used for a corporate lunch, the geo-location feature comes in very handy. It enables your customers to get around without getting lost especially if they have never been there before.
Most importantly, including a geo-location functionality can keep your customers hooked onto the application even after they are past booking their travel plans.
#7. Climate or Weather Forecasting
Another feature that also drives your users to keep coming back to the application is to include real-time climate and weather forecasting functionality. The app giving accurate climate predictions can help you in picking the right clothes.
When it comes to traveling via flights, it can be extremely useful as bad weather can sometimes delay plane departure times. Plus, when you reach your destination, you can also plan your outings basis on how the weather is going to pan out.
Other snippets that can be packed to make this feature all-powerful is to combine it with users to be alerted on sea temperatures, rate of humidity, storm and hurricane forecasts and so much more.
#8. Trip Reviews
Reviews, when it comes to travel and tourism are right up there as a top feature. Prospective travelers rely on them to book future travel plans. Therefore, having functionality that enables travelers to review a destination, or share a real-life experience is absolutely a must-have.
Moreover, a robust review system helps users to find out what travelers think and discover the pitfalls and raise awareness.
Every app has an in-built notification system that shares important information such as app updates, discounts and offers, or even alerting users on impending bookings and travels, before and on their trip.
Take a look at the common scenarios that makes push notifications an important travel app feature:
- Share new offers, price changes and discounts
- Remind customers if they have an incomplete booking
- Share updates on upcoming flights, railway, bus and taxi bookings
- Alert them on their confirmed accommodation bookings
- Notify them of any booking changes
#10. Streamlining of Transactions
Payments and transaction management is also a core functionality of all travel and tourism-related application as it helps facilitate a key operation both from user and admin end.
Be it processing payments, saving payment information, providing a digital receipt, all form a part of streamlining the online app experience.
It reduces paper use and makes the traveler feel safe as they know that their itineraries, accommodation information, and boarding passes will be provided electronically for easy access.
How to Create a Mobile Travel App
With your feature list more or less finalized, you need to figure out how to create a travel app that will make it attractive and engaging to the end-user.
Step 1: Work for Your Target Audience
The key question that you must be able to answer at this point is:
- Who are you developing the app for?
For example, if your objective is to win over budget travelers having frequent sales, discounts and offers are the way to go. Assisting with finding hostels and enabling your notification system about sharing information on free activities, etc. will work as a strategy.
Other than grouping your target audience, you also need to work out a system where individual travelers are offered more personalized recommendations and offers. Study your competitors to grab some ideas on that.
Step 2: Collaborate With Hosts
For any travel app to work, you must collaborate with hosts to ensure that they list their properties and product offerings with you and keep the offers flowing in.
Give a lot of thought of how you are going to develop the host dashboard as easy management of listings is essential to keep the hosts to partner with your travel application.
Plus, the hosts must be able to monitor bookings, general information, and other details from the app itself. Having a smooth notification system also makes the experience more seamless.
Step 3: Pick the Right Team
With all your planning out of the way, it is time to zero-in on who is going to develop the app for you. While you can always have an in-house team of developers, it can be quite an expensive proposition in the long run.
On the other hand, you can opt for a credible and reliable travel app development company either in the UK or outsource it abroad. Generally, app development agencies in Asia or Europe offer more competitive rates in comparison to companies in the USA or Canada.
Step 4: Tech Stack for Travel Application Development
The tech stack that you decide upon can determine the future success or failure of your travel application.
Take a look at what we recommend:
Programming language for Android and iOS: Swift and Kotlin or Java 7 for Android and Objective-C for iOS
Testing: Crashlytics, Confluence, JIRA, GitLab
Third-party services: Facebook, Google Maps API, Google Sign in
Release: Google Play, App Store, EC2, S3, AWS
While this is only a recommendation, your core development team will be the one to draw up the final set of technology stack depending on your project and business needs.
What Is the Cost of Mobile Travel App Development?
A rough cost estimate to develop a travel app for both the Android and iOS platforms will be over $ 100,000. This is based on a rate of $50 per hour developer cost if a team was hired from Ukraine or Eastern Europe.
An accurate cost of development will be determined by a number of factors such as your feature list, location of your development team, the number of man-hours invested, other business needs, etc.
Typically, a relatively competent development team will take around 2,000+ hours to build the app for iOS and Android including backend, admin panel, and the host end. Basis this, you are looking at the following figures:
- Eastern Europe @ $ 50 per hour: $ 100,000
- Central and Western Europe @ 100 per hour: $ 200,000
- Australia @ $ 100 per hour: $ 200,000
- USA @ $ 150 per hour: $ 300,000
- India @ $ 45 per hour: $ 90,000
Today, the travel and tourism industry in the UK is a multi-billion dollar, thanks to the revolution brought about by mobile travel apps that offer provide reliable and quick service and better user experience.
This brings us to confront a scenario where the impact of mobile apps on travel and tourism is no longer just a passing fad. If anything, it is the future of this sector in the UK and around the world.
With a competition that is always looking to race ahead of you, having the right mobile app offers your customers a ton of benefits and incentives.
While many travel and tourism companies are yet to come to terms with this movement, the good news is that it is not too late to invest in the right digital and mobile apps. The time to start is now.