Travel App Development: Types, Features, & Projections

Software has changed how people travel, where they travel, when they travel, and even how they share their travels with others. It has also allowed for the democratization of travel, enabling travelers to easily book flights, hotels, and adventure tours. With the addition of new technology, travel has become more comfortable, providing travelers with the opportunity to access the Internet in-flight, book travel accommodations in advance, and see reviews of restaurants and tourist attractions.

It is also changing how companies in the travel industry operate, enabling real-time monitoring of inventory, pricing, and demand. It enables travel companies to offer greater value to their customers by collecting data about their customers, improving their customer service, and providing opportunities for their customers to share their experiences. As the industry grows, many businesses are introducing new technology and software solutions to solve real-world problems. However, the travel industry is still a very heterogeneous space. Companies have different business models, technologies, and procedures, which make it challenging to build a product that can meet the needs of a wide range of customers. And the sheer diversity of the travel industry also makes it difficult for a single product to gain widespread adoption.

This is where custom software can help! With custom travel apps and software, businesses and entrepreneurs alike can quickly take on the unique challenges of their customers and provide flight comparison services, travel insurance, and hotel booking services to create a seamless travel management platform and quickly fill gaps in the market.

In this article, we'll take a look at the different types of apps and software solutions available to the travel industry, the features these apps should have, and make some predictions for the future of this fast-paced industry.

The State of Software and Applications in the Travel Industry

Problems Software and Apps Can Solve in the Travel Industry

Today, the travel industry is rapidly changing and growing to offer new and exciting experiences for their customers. Many travel companies are investing in technology to improve their operations and provide a better experience for their customers. To this end, businesses in the travel industry can adopt software and applications to improve their customer service and reduce costs. The following are some examples of how companies use software and applications to improve their operations:

- Improve the Booking Experience: Software and applications can be used to improve the travel booking experience by giving customers the ability to search for flights, hotels, and vacation packages without the need for human interaction. Software can automatically suggest offers that match the customer's needs, reduce the time spent on the search, and save the company on marketing costs.

- Automate Tasks: Software can be used to automate some of the routine tasks that travel agents perform so that they can focus on the unique needs of their customers. For example, travel agents can use software to find the cheapest flights on a customer's route so they can offer better deals, or they can use software to check if a flight is delayed so they can alert the customer if it is better to cancel or reschedule the flight.

- Elevate Customer Service: Software can be used to improve the travel agents' customer service by giving them the ability to better serve their customers' needs. For example, software can be used to schedule appointments, send emails to customers, and track the customer's feedback.

- Remote Destination Exploration: A travel app can offer travelers the opportunity to explore remote destinations without leaving their homes. This can be accomplished by offering exploratory content for destinations that travelers may not otherwise be able to visit.

- Incentives & Offers: A travel app could offer travelers incentives and discounts for traveling to new destinations. For example, the app might offer a discount for purchasing a plane ticket to a new country, or it might offer a free hotel stay for visiting a new city. If the app has location-based features, it should also offer discounts for traveling to nearby cities. The app should connect all of these discounts and incentives into one platform so that the traveler can easily view the available rewards and book their travel.

The Market for Travel Apps Today

The market for travel applications and software has exploded in recent years. This is partially due to the popularity of smartphones and tablet computers, as well as the growing use of social media as a travel-planning tool. Travelers are now more likely than ever to use their phones to book flights, hotels, and rental cars, as well as to connect with other travelers on their trip.

Travel applications and software are now available for every major operating system and can be used on almost any device. Many users also prefer to use travel services with a free trial, which allows them to see how the service works before deciding whether or not to purchase. The growth of this market has led to increased competition and therefore a need for more innovative and unique applications and software.

  • 84% of airlines worldwide expect to trial AI technologies in the next three years.
  • 26% of travel and hospitality companies worldwide are using chatbots.
  • The most downloaded online travel agency app worldwide is
  • 21% of global travelers have used travel agent apps since Covid-19.
  • 30% is the average 90-day retention rate of hospitality and tourism apps worldwide.
  • 61% of travelers in the U.S. have booked and paid for travel through their smartphone within the past year, and 64% are using their smartphones in route to their destination.
  • On average, U.S. leisure travelers use 7-8 apps throughout their searching, booking and in-destination travel experience, with maps (52%), weather (51%), and branded airlines (50%) topping their list of most widely used apps.
  • The top three most important features identified in their travel apps are real-time flight alerts throughout their journey (65%), being able to see an entire trip itinerary in one place (64%), and the ability to search & book flights (63%).
  • More than half of U.S. leisure travelers would prefer to use an app for adding extras to their bookings on-the-go (54%); and the ability to pay using Apple/Android pay (Touch ID) within their travel apps is an important feature for 42% of U.S. travelers.
  • 44% of candidates surveyed have used voice to search for some part of their trip, up 3% from the previous year; and, 20% of travelers from the U.S. consider voice search to be a great influencer while traveling.
  • 39% want to use a digital room key to unlock their hotel room door from their smartphone; and 36% said they prefer the option to check in to their hotel via an app, rather than at a reception desk.
  • 70% of U.S. leisure travelers indicated they would happily use biometric scanning to bypass or minimize time spent waiting in security lines.
  • Two-thirds (66%) of U.S. travelers agree that digital boarding passes make leisure travel “so much easier”.
  • Almost half of travelers surveyed from the U.S. also desire the ability to 'Live chat with a travel representative from their favorite travel app' (49%).

Photo by Eva Darron on Unsplash

Types of Travel Apps Being Built Today

We've discussed some of the areas that applications and software can be useful in, and we've touched on what the market for this technology looks like. But what kind of apps are currently being built today, and how do they help travelers? In this section, we'll breakdown some of the most popular application types in development for this industry.

Travel Planning App

A travel planning app is an application for booking travel reservations, tracking loyalty points, and browsing travel packages. A travel planning software package can be used by travel agencies, travel suppliers, and consumers. Some travel planning applications are specifically designed for use by travel agencies, while others are designed for individual consumers.

Examples of travel planning apps include Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity.

Deals Alerts App

Deals alerts are tools that enable travel companies to make money by sending interested customers to partner sites. Deals alerts are usually implemented as browser plugins or mobile apps that notify customers about special deals even when they're not actively searching for travel. These alerts are meant to augment normal travel search engines, not replace them.

There are many different types of deals alerts. The most basic deal alerts are the simplest form. They might only tell customers about their local deals, or they might tell customers about deals that are only available for a limited time. They might show customers the cost of the deal or just the name of the company that is offering the deal.More advanced deals alerts are more personalized. These alerts take the customer's current location into account as well as their current search engine results. They can also take into account the customer's previous purchases and tailor alerts to the customer's interests.

Examples of travel planning apps include Scott's Cheap Flights, Skyscanner, and Hopper.

Virtual Tour App

Virtual tours are 360-degree videos that allow users to experience a location before visiting it in real life. Virtual tours are similar to panoramic photos, except that they are made using special cameras (360-degree cameras), special stitching software, and 3D animations. Virtual tours are used by real estate agents, travel companies, hotels, travel agencies, and others in the travel industry to provide interactive experiences for their customers.

Examples of virtual tour apps include AirPano, National Museum of Natural History Virtual Tours, and The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks.

Photo by Rebe Adelaida on Unsplash

Currency Conversion App

A currency conversion app for the travel industry is any app that allows users to convert currency on their phones. Some currency conversion apps are tied to specific currencies, like the Euro. Other currency conversion apps are linked to multiple currencies, like the USD, the Euro, the Japanese Yen, the British Pound, and the Australian Dollar. This type of app can be used for many purposes, but it is most commonly used by people traveling abroad. Travelers use currency conversion apps to convert their home currency into the currency of the country they are visiting. They can use this converted currency to pay for food, transportation, and lodging.

Examples of currency conversion apps include Money Converter+, Xe Currency Converter, and Currency.

Translation App

A translation app for the travel industry is a mobile application that allows travelers to translate words from their native language to the language of their destination. For example, a translation app for the travel industry might allow a German traveler to translate a word from English to Italian while they are in Rome.

Examples of translation apps include iTranslate, Google Translate, and SayHi Translate.

Facilities Finder App

A facilities finder app is a mobile application that allows users to search for and locate nearby hotel and airport facilities. These apps typically include a database of nearby amenities and other businesses, including restaurants and shops. The exact functionality of these apps can vary greatly, and their design can be very specific to the industry that they serve. For example, a facilities finder app for the travel industry would look very different than a facilities finder app for the real estate industry.

Examples of facilities finder apps include Flush, HotelTonight, and AroundMe.

Navigation Apps

A navigation app is a smartphone app that customers can use to navigate through airports, train stations, and other crowded buildings. They are especially useful for the visually impaired. Most navigation apps use GPS signals to calculate the user's location, and they rely on Google Maps or similar digital maps to show the user the way to their destination. Some navigation apps are capable of estimating travel time based on current traffic patterns, while others can direct the user directly to their destination (and avoid detours) based on the shortest path. Some navigation apps also include public transit information, allowing users to navigate buses and trains in addition to cars and pedestrians.

Examples of navigation apps include Waze, Kamoot, and HERE WeGo.

Social Networking Apps

A social networking app for the travel industry is an application that allows travelers to connect with each other. They might use this app to find new travel buddies, tour guides, or even roommates. This app differs from a traditional social network because its primary purpose is to connect travelers with others who are far away.

Examples of social networking apps include Travello, Couchsurfing, and TravelBuddy.

Travel Security Apps

A travel security app is a mobile application that provides travelers with safety and security assistance while they are on the go. Travel security apps provide features like safety and security notifications, emergency assistance, crowdfunding for travel expenses, and travel record-keeping. They also provide features like personal safety and security checklists and important contact details like emergency contact numbers and local embassy and consulate information. These apps can be beneficial to travelers because they put safety and security information in the hands of those who need it most. This keeps travelers from being as vulnerable as they would be without the app.

Examples of social networking apps include Sitata Travel Safe, NordVPN, and bSafe.

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

Flight Tracking App

A flight tracking app for the travel industry is a mobile app that provides users with real-time information about their flights. Flight trackers were traditionally used by airline employees, but in recent years they have been adapted for public use. Some apps provide a simple, text-based list of flights, while others have a more complicated design. They will typically show a map highlighting the path of a flight and display all of the relevant information about that flight in a table below the map.

Examples of social networking apps include Flightradar24, FlightAware, and FlightStats.

Features That Travel Apps Should Have

  • Limited Human Intervention - An app built for the travel industry should have limited human intervention because transportation is a time-sensitive industry. You are far more likely to make a reservation or buy a ticket for a flight if you are able to complete the process quickly. This is why airlines are willing to pay for tools that can pre-populate forms with their own data, rather than force users to enter their data manually.
  • Climate & Weather Updates - The app should offer climate and weather updates because travelers want to know what to expect at their destination before they even arrive. By providing up-to-date information about the climate and weather, the app can help travelers pack more efficiently, plan their days more effectively, and minimize their stress. Once travelers start arriving at their destination, the app can provide live updates about the climate and weather at that particular moment.
  • All-in-one Travel Booking - An all-in-one travel booking app can make it easier for travelers to plan their trips. A user can enter the destination, the dates, and the number of travelers in one place, and then see all of the available travel options. This eliminates the need to enter information into multiple forms in order to compare flights, hotels, and rental cars.
  • Real-time Tracking - An app for the travel industry should offer real-time tracking because it allows travelers to make better decisions. For example, if a traveler knows their flight is delayed, they might want to take a cab to the airport instead of the train. If they know they will arrive at the airport late, they might want to change their flight to the next day. Real-time tracking allows travelers to act quickly based on the most accurate information.
  • Intelligent Booking System - An intelligent booking system will be able to recommend the best flight options based on the user's personal preferences, help the user book or change reservations with a single click, and compare the prices of several vendors, allowing the user to find the best deal available.
  • Geolocation - An app built for the travel industry should have geolocation for several reasons—it can be used to connect users with nearby businesses, create an in-app map, create location-based reminders, provide turn-by-turn navigation, connect with local businesses, and provide weather alerts.
  • Trip Reviews -  Trip reviews are a primary source of information for travelers. They allow travelers to read and write reviews of hotels, restaurants, tours, and excursions. They help travelers to decide where they will stay and what they will do during their vacation. Reviewers can also give a particular venue a star rating, indicating the level of quality that they experienced at that business.
  • Transaction Streamlining - An app built for the travel industry should offer transaction streamlining for two reasons. First, the app should streamline the process of booking a trip because this is the most important transaction that happens in the travel industry. Second, the app should streamline the booking process to reduce the number of steps that a user has to take to complete a booking. This will allow the user to complete the booking quickly, without feeling like they are wasting time.

Build Custom Travel Apps with Crowdbotics

Crowdbotics is a full-service app development company with an abundance of experience working with enterprise clients to build the solutions that they need. Whether you're looking for applications to help you streamline your operations or more efficiently handle client relationships, marketing, customer service, and travel logistics, we can build the high-quality tools you need 3x faster than manual development. To learn more, get in touch with us today for a detailed estimate!

Originally published:

October 29, 2021

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