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14 November 2021

How Much does it Cost to Start a TripAdvisor Clone?

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TripAdvisor is the world's largest online travel guide to help travelers plan the perfect trip: choose a vacation spot, book a hotel room, find the best local restaurants, highlight the best attractions, find out which guides to hire, and more. In this article, we will look at the estimated cost of launching a website with similar functions and similar design, i.e. TripAdvisor clone.

The cost of launching a TripAdvisor clone

The cost of market research. The first thing to do when launching a software startup is to conduct market research to find out the expectations and needs of potential users and find out if there are competitors in the target market. The price of such a study depends on its depth:

Software product development cost. According to Clutch, the average cost of developing a software product ranges from 38 to 171 thousand dollars, most of which is spent on creating design, functionality, infrastructure and testing. At the same time, two factors affect the cost of a product most of all - the location of the developer and the complexity of the product being created.

As for the average hourly rate of developers, according to Cleveroad analysis, in 2020, the highest rate for specialists from the United States was $ 178 per hour, the lowest in Africa and Asia was about $ 26.5 per hour. Also, Cleveroad notes the leading positions of Ukraine, whose personnel reserve reached 192 thousand people in 2020. Ukrainian software companies charge an average of $ 25-50 per hour for their services.

In terms of the complexity of development, software is conventionally divided into simple, moderate and complex. The main difference between them is the number and complexity of the elaboration of functions. For example, if you want to create the simplest TripAdvisor clone, then it will be a service with a simple interface, a minimum of functionality, and no API integrations. Such a product is suitable for markets where neither TripAdvisor (language support) nor other competitors are available.

While the development of a full-featured clone (a complex product) implies support for multiple languages, a large number of API integrations, a maximum set of functions and a unique design focused on the chosen niche and target audience. Such a product is being developed for highly competitive markets, including with the expectation of competing with TripAdvisor.

Here is the estimated cost of creating a TripAdvisor clone based on complexity and developer location (US, Western & Eastern Europe).

Cost of creating individual TripAdvisor features

The cost of creating a website and / or app like TripAdvisor is based on several factors, including the number of features. Here's a breakdown of the basic functionality of a TripAdvisor clone and the time and cost to create them.

Basic functions for the traveler

Registration, authorization. Allows travelers to create personal profiles, book hotel rooms, chat and leave reviews. TripAdvisor provides a simple registration process: users can register and then log in through their Google or Facebook accounts or by entering their email address. Implementing this feature in a TripAdvisor clone will require approximately 110 hours, or $ 3,850 (Eastern Europe) to $ 19,580 (US).

TripAdvisor registration function

User (tourist) panel. Allows users to view their reviews and reservations, as well as add personal information: place of residence, preferences, desires, where they were and what they saw, marital status, etc. It takes about 80 hours to create this feature, or $ 2,800 to $ 14,280.

What the TripAdvisor Member Dashboard looks like

Search, search categories and filters. After logging into the application and entering personal data, users can start searching for the desired trips, hotels, restaurants, sights and more. TripAdvisor provides this functionality with an intelligent system with over 100 filters for various categories of ads. Specifically, people can determine their preferences based on location, price, taste, atmosphere, and ratings from other users. To create such a system, you need from 35 hours (25+ hours for a search engine and 10+ hours for navigation), the cost - from $ 1,225 to $ 6,230.

Main categories to search on TripAdvisor

Geolocation and map integration. Lets you find places near your current location or a user-specified address. TripAdvisor and Booking use IP addresses, if it's a website, and GPS, if it's a smartphone, to determine the current location. In addition, review sites and mobile apps usually also provide map integration to enhance the user experience, such as finding addresses for specific places or selecting accommodations near a specified place. Implementation of this functionality requires 70+ hours (50+ hours for geolocation and 20+ hours for integration with maps).

Geolocation functionality on TripAdvisor

Rating system and reviews. TripAdvisor is primarily a review website and app to help travelers make better choices when looking for a hotel, restaurant, guide, transportation, and more. Such reviews contain a rating on a five-point scale for several parameters (location, service, cleanliness, price), user photos and a small text. The development of such functionality takes from 40 hours or from 1,400 to 7,120 dollars.

An example of user feedback and the response to it from the site of the service provider TripAdvisor

Another popular online travel platform with reviews, Expedia, also has its own ratings and reviews system that only collects reviews from verified users. This helps to get a more objective assessment of the places people want to visit. Consider this approach in your TripAdvisor clone.

The rating system on the Expedia website

Uploading media content. For hotel, restaurant, nightclub, and travel reviews to be useful to users in general, you need to be able to add photos and / or videos to your profiles and reviews (as-is or with some simple editing options). Implementing these features in your TripAdvisor clone will take 30+ hours or $ 1,050 to $ 5,340.

TripAdvisor users can upload photos and videos to the system and attach them to reviews

Notifications. A very handy feature that will inform users about important details of the upcoming trip, such as flight time, date of booking at the hotel, weather at the destination ("Bring an umbrella or sun cream") and more. Depending on the type (text, image, video, message with action buttons) and logic (to whom, when, how) of notification, the development of this functionality will take from 20 to 200 hours.

Example of a push notification on TripAdvisor

Other. In addition to the basic functionality, perhaps when you create a clone you want to add the ability to buy tickets, book, hire a guide, view the weather, etc. If you create these functions from scratch, then it will take up to 500 hours, if you use special APIs, then the time can be reduced to 50-100 hours. Fortunately, providers of such services are themselves interested in getting their services on the listings of sites such as TripAdvisor, so they almost always provide their APIs for free.

More about what users need in the website and / or app for travelers in the article: «How to develop travel mobile app».

Key features for a service provider

Adding services to listing. Owners of restaurants, taxis, spas, nightclubs and other travel service providers should be able to create business profiles and add basic information about their services to them: description, price, opening times, photos, routes, etc. Implementing these options in a TripAdvisor clone would require 50+ hours or $ 1,750 to $ 8,900.

Booking management. Property owners should be able to not only create business profiles and list the properties they want to rent, but also the ability to manage, cancel and track all their bookings on your website. This functionality can be implemented using special APIs, which will require 15+ hours of development.

Analytical tools. Will allow you to collect and group information about the behavior, habits, goals and pains of clients. Also here you can add marketing tools that will improve the level of communication with current and potential customers. Depending on the number and complexity of such tools, their creation will take from 10 to 200 hours.

The cost of promoting a TripAdvisor analog

Average marketing budget as measured by CMO Survey (left) and Marketing Charts (right)

According to The CMO Survey, a business spends an average of 8.7% of its annual income on online promotion. Marketing Charts research results for the travel industry show similar numbers: around 8% of revenue. For most companies, this is from 10 to 50 thousand dollars per year.
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