How to Create a Travel App in 2022: Trends, Ideas, Features, Costs
Travel applications are pretty popular. The Booking.com app alone generated 63 million downloads last year.
According to forecasts, travel apps will reach 0.54 billion US dollars in revenue in 2026 (a two-fold increase from 2021). As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, once borders were opened back up, the number of travelers increased almost immediately, and this trend remains.
These stats make it clear — the travel mobile app market is growing.
Let’s get started by examining the current state of the travel industry.
Travel App Market Explained
In the first step of the process exploring how to make a travel app, you have to run a market and business analysis. Good news — we have done this for you.
Here are some key stats on travel apps:
The market for travel apps is vast and variable, and consumer tastes change constantly.
In 2021, downloads of the travel booking app Hopper increased dramatically, rising by 197% compared to 2019.
At the same time, downloads of KAYAK, Hotel Tonight, Skyscanner, and Trivago dropped in 2021 compared to 2019.
This is a welcoming sign for newcomers — although the competition is tight, the way forward for new travel apps is open.
6 Challenges You Can Solve With Travel App
So, let’s review the key problems that travel application development can solve:
1. Improve Travel Experience
With a few swipes and taps, a traveler can build itineraries, find the best offers, and book hotels, tickets, cruises, and even arrange customized events.
2. Automate Tasks
A travel app can help you automatically build your travel itinerary by setting schedules and sending alerts and reminders.
3. Improve Customer Service
Since customer service is the first thing angry users complain about, today’s app development companies compete over the speed and quality of services they provide.
4. Organize your team of travel suppliers
App development today provides a sustainably positive experience, turning an app into a one-stop resource for travel planning. The app should organize food, shelter, transportation, and entertainment services.
5. Remote Destination Exploration
Apps like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and OpenRice show you information on the most famous sights of a particular locale of interest. Based on customer reviews and listings, you can explore your destination virtually.
6. Incentives & Offers
Most apps offer loyalty programs to returning customers. First-time users also get their own perks. Companies like Booking.com work with hosts to provide special prices for reservations made through their app.
11+ Travel Mobile App Types & Ideas
The next step in our query will be choosing a type.
You can make an all-in-one app or focus on a specific feature. Based on the main functionality, travel apps are divided into several types.
1. Flight Booking
Examples: Hopper, Skyscanner, Kiwi.com, Momondo
2. Niche Experience Travel App
Examples: GoodGuide, EatWith, Expedia App (for green hotels), HopStop, Animal Free app, Locavore
3. Accommodation Booking
Examples: Booking.com, Expedia, Marriott
4. Transport App
Examples: Lyft, Uber, Zipcar, Transit, Getaround, Feedback2Go, and Next Station.
5. Travel Guides
Examples: Triposo (offline access), Tripadvisor
6. Travel Planning Apps
Examples: TripIt, Couchsurfing, Kayak, Packing Pro, Sygic Travel
7. Navigation Apps
Examples: Google Maps, Maze, MapFactor, MAPS.ME, Polaris GPS Navigation, BackCountry Navigator, HERE WeGo.
8. Deal Alert Apps
Examples: Hopper, HotelTonight, One:Night, Google Flights, LateRooms
9. Virtual Tours
Examples: Qantas, British Airways, Marriott
10. Travel Security Apps
Examples: Sitata Travel Safe, NordVPN, bSafe
Travel Apps: More Great Ideas
Here are several ideas to consider when thinking about how to make a travel app. Each idea will work great inside any travel application.
- Audio Tour Mobile App
- Kid-Friendly Place Finder App
- Gift & Souvenir Guide App
Top Travel Market Players
Here is some information on the top players in the travel market and how they got started.
Then: The service started back in the 1990s with a simple search website.
Now: The company has access to 28 million listings worldwide and provides services in 43 languages. Their overall net income surpassed 1.17 billion U.S. dollars in 2021.
Then: In 2008, Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Joe Gebbia founded AirBedandBreakfast.com (acronym: Airbnb).
Now: Airbnb is the most successful company by market capitalization. Last year, Airbnb reached $104.25 billion and surpassed its closest rival, Booking.com, with a market capitalization of $98.5 billion.
Then: New Hampshire programmer Casey Felton had issues with high hotel prices in Iceland. To find a free place to stay while there, he hacked a local university website and e-mailed over a thousand students asking for help. He received over 50 answers and decided to turn this success into service upon returning home.
Now: Couchsurfing is a company with over 14 million hosts and travelers in 200,000 cities worldwide and is most famous as a free resource for social travel.
Then: The company started in 2000 as an online travel guide.
Now: TripAdvisor has a website and travel application that features 859 million reviews for 8.6 million establishments worldwide. They provide services in 49 markets and 28 languages.
Then: The idea evolved as Gareth Williams (a founder) faced problems finding cheap flights to ski resorts. Thus, he started a website with Barry Smith and Bonamy Grimes to help people find and book flights online.
Now: Skyscanner is one of the world’s largest search engines and travel agencies, peaking at over 311 million British pounds in revenue in 2019.
Then: TripIt was founded in San Francisco in 2006 by Gregg Brockway, Scott Hintz, and Andy Denmark.
Now: The TripIt app and website are some of the most visited worldwide and recommended by NYT, Forbes, and Wall Street Journal.
Travel App Functionality
You have to find and establish killer features to stand out from the crowd.
Must-Have Features for Travel Apps
This is a set of basic travel app features included in software development services.
- User Onboarding (Signup/Login)
- Search System
- User Profile
- Chat (Basic)
- Reviews & Ratings
People who know how to build products that overcome user expectations compete by building advanced features.
Here are several ideas for you to consider:
- Transportation Services
- Booking Services
- Travel Journal
- Navigation Services
- Trip Reviews or Travel Recommendations
- Translation Functionality
- Weather Forecasts
- 3D Virtual Tours
- Fare Price Prediction & Alerts
- Real-time Flight Updates & Self-Service
Now, let’s review the tech stack you will need when creating a travel app.
Tech Stack & Integrations for Travel Apps
You already have an idea of the API integrations you may need to implement the features you want. Here’s the basic tech stack you might need to create a travel app:
The first thing to do is to find a team that works with different platforms (iOS, Android, Windows) and can build a travel website if needed.
The good news is that numerous integrations can be used in travel application development. However, if you have an idea for functionality that barely even exists, you’ll have to pay for additional requirements.
How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Travel App
The budget will depend on the majority and complexity of features you want to include and the rates of your software development company.
A simple app with basic features will take about 440 working hours of development. Since the hourly rates for app development vary (from $100 an hour in the United States to $40–50 in Eastern Europe), the price will depend significantly on where you find a development company.
If you hire app developers and opt for IT staff augmentation in a country with moderate development prices (in Ukraine, the average rate is $40 per hour), a travel app with minimum functionality will cost about $18,000 within 2 months.
As for a more complex app version with differentiating and innovative features, the app development cost starts at $60,000 and may increase to $300,000+ for one platform (web, iOS, Android). The timeline to create such a travel app can take from 6 to 9+ months.
How to Make Money from Your Travel App
There are numerous ways to make your travel app profitable. They include charges for hosting, nominal fees for stays, registration fees, advertising and sponsorship, affiliate partnerships, etc.
- Bookings & Reservations
- Sponsored Places
- Coupons & Vouchers
- In-App Advertising
- Push Notifications
- Premium Version
- Sponsored App
- In-App Purchases
Note: It is essential to decide on a monetization model before you start developing a travel app business plan.
Final Takeaways on Travel App Creation
This is the list of steps to create a travel app to win over the market.
- The travel app market is on the rise and has favorites too, but it’s not a monolith. New apps are gaining popularity. There is also a trend to offer niche apps focusing on specific content. This means you have all the chances for success.
- Decide on app monetization models since this will influence the tech stack, integrations, and price.
- Make sure you find and hire a dedicated development team or reliable development company with a lot of experience in application development to make sure you stick with the latest design and technology trends.
We hope, by this time, you have an idea for developing a travel app with the necessary functionality. You should also have a vision of how to make money with your app. Your next step is personal consultation.