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A tourist trip is a combination of several typical actions: finding a vacation spot, booking a hotel room, buying tickets, planning a vacation route, sightseeing tours, visiting restaurants, etc. Travel agencies used to plan all this, but now tourists themselves prefer to do it using apps like TripAdvisor
, Airbnb, Meetup and Google Flights. In this article, we'll show you how to develop such a mobile app
and how much it costs
Application development step by step
The process of developing an app
can be roughly divided into six main stages. Here is a brief description.
Step 1. Choosing a niche
The first decision you must make is to decide exactly what your application
will do. It can be an application for travel planning, booking hotel rooms, buying air tickets, renting a car, finding restaurants, finding travel partners, exploring local attractions and culture, or other useful activity for travelers.
The capabilities and functionality of apps
will depend on this decision.
Step 2. Researching the market and competitors
After you have decided on the niche of the application, you can start analyzing the market and competitors. The market can be explored through research such as the Travelport Digital report on the role of mobile communication in travel
. A lot of data can also be found on sites like Statista
The best way to research your competitors is to try out the best travel apps in your chosen niche. Explore their features and capabilities, what is unique about them and what they lack. Also, research the audience's reaction to them in order to understand what you need to do to be better than your competitors.
Step 3. Selecting the functions of your application
Identify features that are absolutely necessary to support the main purpose of the service and those that, if not required, can improve the user experience. It is advisable that you do this by researching similar applications
and noting features that are useful and that the target audience likes.
Step 4. Hiring a development company
We recommend hiring a development company
, rather than freelancers, as companies have a more professional work environment and an experienced team of specialists who are well versed in their tasks. Such team usually includes:
- 1 project manager.
- 1-2 UX / UI designers.
- 2-3 mobile application developers.
- 1-2 QA testers.
Step 5. Discussion and development
Hiring developers, you must explain them your ideas and business goals. An experienced team will understand what you want to do, even if the idea is not very clear. Together, you will develop technical documentation for the application and draw up an action plan, which usually consists of 5 stages.
Step 6. Promotion and advertising
Any application, no matter how unique, reliable, secure and feature-rich it may be, cannot be successful if you do not promote it on the appropriate platforms. Such platforms can be any online and offline sites where your target audience is. For example, you can ask a famous travel blogger to promote your service or advertise it on your YouTube channel and / or Facebook page.
Key features of the travel app
To help you with the third step of developing a mobile app
, we have compiled a list of key features, as well as additional features that may be useful for tourists. To do this, we built the path of an ordinary tourist and noted those things that can satisfy his needs and / or solve possible problems along the way.
1. Firstly, the tourist needs to plan the trip. Here you need:
2. Now, after the trip has been planned, you need to book a place to stay in a hotel, hostel, bungalow or private house.
- Trip planner. It is an organizer in which you can store a route map, destinations, tickets, schedules and contacts. Services like Google Trips and TripIt are good examples.
3. At the next stage, you need to take care of transport, that is, you need to buy / book tickets for a plane, bus, train or rent a car.
- This is a function that will help you find affordable accommodation in the desired city and book a room / apartment. Typically, you need to implement a map, cards with a description of housing, as well as ratings with reviews. This segment is dominated by giants such as Booking.com, AirBnB and Trivago. And what's great is that these platforms provide their APIs for free for travel app developers, so you only need to implement a geolocation map and API for hotel booking.
- Ordering tickets. Global platforms such as Skyscanner, KAYAK and Expedia rule the parade here. They usually already have their own ticket selling application, so it will be difficult for you to compete with them directly, but you can use their API to provide information about available tickets and buy them as a non-main, but an additional function.
- Car rental. Hertz, Sixt, and Avis are good examples of inheritance here. See how they implemented the main features and copy them in your travel app.
4. You also need to always remember that now, before making a final decision, tourists always look through information about hotels, airlines, car rental companies and all other services in the Internet
5. And the last but not the least important detail before starting a tourist trip is checking the weather forecast.
- Ratings and reviews. They are needed not only for places to stay, but also for places that the user would like to visit and for the services that he intends to use. TripAdvisor is a great example here and the good news is that it provides a free API.
6. When a tourist goes on a journey, the first thing he needs is proper navigation. Especially if it's an independent journey.
- Weather forecast. This feature is not really required, but it will greatly enhance the user experience. The best way to integrate it into your application is to use a free API like OpenWeatherMap, Yahoo! Weather, Weather Underground or Forecast.Io.
7. So, the tourist has arrived at his destination and wants to get to his hotel.
- Maps and geolocation. They usually take Google Maps and Apple Maps as examples, as well as their smaller counterparts: HERE WeGo and Maps.me. This function can be implemented using Google Maps SDK, Facebook, Google Places API. And remember that all of this should work offline too.
- Local transport. You can find a map and timetable for local public transport in Google Maps or Yandex, Maps. You can connect to them through the Google Maps SDK and the Yandex.Maps API.
- Search and order a taxi. Next, you should make sure that the tourist has the opportunity to call a taxi after arrival. Uber API or Taxify API can help with this. At the same time, do not forget about car sharing, as in BlaBlaCar. Also BlaBlaCar has a local bus and train schedule.
8. After checking into the hotel, the tourist will certainly want to see something unusual, colorful and unique, in addition to traditional tourist places.
9. You also need to think about how the tourist will communicate with the locals.
- Directory / search engine of interesting places. Use the Culture Trip app as an example for some of the most exciting and incredible things to see, do, and experience in over 300 locations around the world. It is relatively easy to implement this function using the Google Maps API, independently mapping things which tourists are interested in and adding a small description to them, as well as contacts of guides.
10. Everything is going well, the tourist is enjoying the trip, but suddenly he has a stomach ache or he loses a child in the crowd.
- If you want to develop a travel app that focuses on translation, it will be very difficult for you to make it popular as you have to surpass Google Translate. But you can use Microsoft's Translate API (provides 2 million characters a month for free) as an advanced feature.
What to do?
What else can a tourist need?
- Search for emergency services. The travel app should contain the contacts of the local police and medical services. In addition, it is advisable to also add contacts and addresses of embassies and consulates.
- Adding a social component to your application is a great idea. From fairly simple features like posting to integration with preferred social networks via APIs like the Facebook API.
- Local and World Time.
- Search for the nearest restrooms.
- Search for free Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Currency converter, search for banks.
- Other things.
Travel app monetization models
If a tourist uses your mobile application
to buy tickets, book a hotel room, pay for tours or rent a car, then you, as an intermediary, can charge commissions on all such transactions. Of course, you will need to negotiate with the relevant companies (for example, with hotel chain owners or airlines), but they are unlikely to be against cooperation.