Traveling, as well as industries related to the needs of tourists (rental housing, translation services, etc.), are a very large area of business that’s bringing more and more profit. According to data published by Statista, the economic effect (i.e., profit) of the tourism industry in the world is about 6.5 trillion dollars a year. The total income from international tourism is estimated at $1.34 trillion. This indicates the undoubtedly high profitability of this sector, and the bright prospects it has.
In 2018, 85% of travelers used various mobile applications to book tourist services. This incredibly high index does not even take into account the use of these applications outside of travel - for example, people booking accommodation in their own cities, or using taxi apps in their localities, or translation apps to communicate with foreigners, etc. But the most popular among travelers are applications that help to book tickets for different types of transportation and applications that help to rent suitable accommodation. In addition, travelers are greatly aided by programs that improve orientation in unfamiliar places: “virtual maps”, guides to places of interest, applications for online navigation with tracking your own location and planning routes, etc. Despite the market being full of such applications, new solutions are constantly being released, which indicates the existence of large market demand.
Best Apps for Vacation Planning
There are a number of types of applications that fall into the category of tourism and travel apps.
Applications for booking hotels and other real estate
Booking a hotel becomes a matter of a few minutes thanks to applications such as Booking. In such applications, the user can select the desired price category and hotel type (from a bed in a hostel to an elite room at a resort). Some applications from this category support virtual/augmented reality - that is, you can see how the rooms of a particular hotel look like, check out the view from the windows, etc. Other applications (the most famous one being Airbnb) are focused not on hotels, but on apartments, rooms, and houses offered by locals to tourists for short-term rent.
Applications for finding the best options for transportation and booking flights
Applications like Skyscanner track the availability of tickets for flights of different airlines and help the user to select and purchase tickets for the most convenient ones. Many airlines, bus, and railway companies all over the world are also coming up with their own applications.
Applications for travel management and control
Among the applications that facilitate travel planning and management are Google Trips, TripIt, TripCase. You can use them to upload and store all documents: electronic tickets, booking confirmations, etc.
Guide applications and navigation applications
Applications from the City Guides category help travelers to find places of interest: attractions, museums, cafes, and other locations. This category includes TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, Sygic Travel. Their difference from ordinary maps is the availability of information about objects, sometimes including reviews by other travelers. But there are also pure map applications, with the functions of geo-locating and installing geolocation tags. They are convenient both in unfamiliar cities and on hiking trips through natural landscapes.
Must-Have Travel App Features for a Tourist
A traveler’s smartphone contains more than just specialized travel applications. Those applications that help to navigate and conduct various activities in foreign cities and countries are very convenient and quite necessary, even though they were not originally intended for tourists. Together, these two categories of programs for smartphones are able to ensure the most comfortable trips. However, a recent trend is the development of universal applications, so that instead of a large set of programs, travelers can use the minimum number of services to solve a range of problems.
Apps for keeping a travel journal
Keeping a travel journal is convenient for those who travel a lot and need to constantly monitor issues related to the availability of the necessary documents and their validity terms, the availability of booking options, and other similar issues. These are, for example, TripIt, or TripCase. They scan mail for messages from railways and airlines with ordered tickets, and automatically create a travel log, tracking the flight and sending reminders in advance.
In Google Trips, a travel journal is one of the offered features; besides, the service serves as a guide, informing the users about the sights and other infrastructure of specific cities.
In addition to Booking, a similar integrated service available in the mobile application format is Trivago. There are also applications that specialize in finding a certain type of hotel facilities. For example, the Hostelworld application allows you to conveniently search for hostels around the world.
Aviasales is one such application for booking flights. But there are also services that combine the possibility of booking hotels and tickets in a single application, for example, Booking, Ryanair, or Wizzair. Besides, such universal applications can be used to pre-order tickets to museums, theaters, concerts, etc.
Travel meetup apps
The needs of travelers today can be satisfied not by commercial travel companies, but by individuals: local residents or other travelers. Popular meetup apps help in finding such people. For example, the famous Couchsurfing service helps you find an option to stay with a person in your destination city without paying for a hotel. And the Tripster app introduces users to those people who have the opportunity to give a tour of the city or to accompany the tourist on a walk. There are also Bla Bla Car-like programs that replace the classic hitchhiking scheme: you can find a driver to take you along a certain route.
All these applications are gaining immense popularity because more and more people in the world want to travel on a limited budget and are unwilling to purchase tours from travel companies.
It is very important to receive the weather forecast for your exact location on time. Weather applications that automatically synchronize with geolocation are used for this purpose.
The market of applications that serve as city guides is already full of programs varying both in functionality and in specialization (for example, guides for reviewing cafes and restaurants, guides to museums, etc.) The izi.TRAVEL audio guide is quite interesting: it is a program that allows you to choose the route for a walk through the city and listen to an audio tour while traveling. VR/AR technologies are also being introduced in guide applications, as are the possibilities for “virtual tours” with a 360-degree view in video format.
Apps for taxi services, car rental, routes of public transport
Renting cars or bikes is a popular service in many cities around the world. With the help of applications like Rentalcars, you can quickly rent cars in the desired location. Taxi services are popular as well: for example, Uber has gained worldwide popularity due to the mobile application that allows you to call a taxi, contact the driver and track the movement of the car.
Apps like Wikiroutes or Citymapper show the routes of public transport, inform about the cost of travel, and help to create a route around the city using public transport with an indication of the approximate duration of such a trip.
Google Trips also offers comprehensive information on taxis and public transportation.
Useful App Features
- Currency converters. You can quickly calculate the equivalent of this or that sum in local currency with the help of converter apps, which automatically online track current rates of world and national currencies. Examples of such applications are XE Currency or xCurrency.
- Apps that help to pack for a trip. Services like PackPoint function in the following way: details about the trip are entered into the application (including the type of transport, the type of hotel room or other living option, the duration of the trip and its purpose), and the user (age, gender, etc.), and the program makes a list of things that are recommended to take on this trip. A good example is the KLM Smart Pack assistant.
- Online baggage trackers for air travel. Such applications, which the traveler uses to track where their baggage is currently located, are developed by many airlines for their passengers. Airlines offer this feature in their applications, which are also used to order tickets and track flights.
- Translation. For communication with native speakers, applications that use the voice input function with subsequent translation will come in handy. There is also a category of applications with the function of text recognition from a photo. They can be used to read posters, road signs, information boards and other objects in an urban environment. The most popular app of this type is Google Translate.
- Reference apps with contact details of emergency services in different cities of the world. For a person in an unfamiliar city, an application with numbers of emergency medical care, police, etc. will be very useful. This feature exists, for example, for users of Google Trips.
- Voice search technology. This is a convenient feature because it is not always possible to quickly type in a text query (for example, when you are on the move).
- Personalized offers for the traveler. After analyzing the experience of previous trips (which tickets were ordered, which housing was booked, which destinations were interesting), the application can issue ready-made travel options that should fit the needs of this user as closely as possible.
- The maximum visualization of information about cities, attractions, hotels, etc. These are, for example, interactive video guides with VR / AR support, or 360-degree virtual tour videos.
- Smart messages with tips. Some applications have an adviser bot that can answer common questions in the text messaging mode.
- Reviews & recommendations. All people value real opinions and real experience, not just advertising or dry informational texts. This is why many applications include the option to leave reviews: you can read other people's impressions of a particular service or location, and leave your feedback visible to other users.
Travel Mobile App Development and Monetization
The travel mobile applications industry is an extensive business sector: these applications are successfully being monetized and bring profit. There are a number of possibilities for monetization; the choice depends on what functionality a particular application has and what target audience will be using it. We will list the main options for monetization below.
Paid installation of the application on the user's device
The simplest and most obvious method of monetization is to sell the application through mobile app stores. After paying for the installation, the user gets access to all the features of the program and does not make any more payments to the copyright holder. This option has a significant disadvantage: the description or demo version of the application needs to interest the user so much that they will want to pay. And given the variety of free applications, programs, and websites, such a solution should be something truly unique and very convenient in functionality. In addition, this implies a good marketing campaign for successful sales.
Regular payments for using the program
Again, this is justified if the application is truly unique and valuable, and users will want to use it all the time instead of to perform one-time tasks.
Paid use of some functions, or payment charged from certain categories of users
This approach is relevant for applications that will be used for business purposes. For example, there is an application for booking accommodations. For a user who initially registers as a tenant, it will be completely free. But for the landlord (who will add their offers of housing options and make a profit from the booking of these objects through the application) the registration will be paid. It is important to understand that in order to establish such a fee, the application must be quite popular and commercially effective so that the profit from its use would outweigh the monthly fee.
A fee for clicking on commercial links, or for certain actions
In the same application for rental housing, monetization can be implemented in the following way: each time a booking is made, a certain amount will be withdrawn from the landlord’s account. Or the landlord will be charged for every transition from a user to the website. This option works even for new, not yet quite popular applications, since the money is withdrawn only after a certain action. If such actions do not happen, then the user does not pay anything.
Including paid advertising
This is only an option for fully non-commercialized applications - for example, apps for packing a suitcase, or for translating foreign words, etc. That is, all the functions are free but the user sometimes sees ads and the advertiser pays.
It should be noted that you should choose only one of the above monetization options. If the use of the application requires too many payments from the target audience of users, and the costs outweigh the real benefits for people, the interest in the application will not be sufficient for you to profit from it.
The potential of mobile travel applications is becoming more and more powerful. The reasons for this are the increasing availability of travel for people around the world, the increasing desire of tourists to simplify their travel planning, and their desire to do without intermediary services in organizing their holidays. Innovative ideas in this area arise constantly, aimed both at the end user (that is, the traveler) and at travel agencies that want to offer their clients unique services and the most personalized tours.
Our company can offer you development services for a mobile application that can be successfully used in the preparation of trips and while traveling. Our specialists will analyze the market and do everything to create the most demanded, successful and user-friendly application for you.