Create a tourism app ( guide 2021 )

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How a tourism app makes money

Travel app revenue is consist of the following sources:
  • Reservation. The application, focusing on the specified search parameters of the client, searches for suitable hotel options. When the option is selected, the client pays for the hotel room, indicating all wishes and dates of check-in / check-out right in the application. The application takes a commission for mediation, sometimes from.the client's price, sometimes from the hotel wishes to cooperate with the application.
  • First place in the search. Hotels can pay an app to be the first in a customer's search.
  • Advertising. A well-performing app attracts a wide audience. Integration of advertising will create additional income.
  • Premium offer. If the application allows various hotels to create a personal account, they can purchase premium features. For example, for a premium subscription, hotel owners can get top, post more photos, change the design of their page and much more, which will allow them to persuade the consumer to buy.
  • Full cycle. Some applications tend to cooperate not only with hotels, but also with means of transportation: air, railway and other methods of transportation. This option hasn't yet been fully realised by anyone around the world, but it's developed within various countries. The client is offered a price for the hotel and transportation. The app earns commissions from hotels and transportation companies.
Each of the listed monetization options can be connected with each other. Perhaps as you read this article, you have come up with a new travel business proposal that generates a completely different kind of income. However, in order to come up with a new idea in the industry, it is worth studying current trends.
1. Online booking
Some people like to travel “when the opportunity knocks”. Others may be sent on an emergency trip. Still others, spontaneously set off on a journey for family deals. There may be many examples, but they all have one thing in common - none of these people planned the trip. Specially for this group of people the offer from hotels with ability to book quickly for any time will be actual. The client can book a room at the hotel directly during the trip to the destination.
2. Instant secure mobile payment
Modern tourists want to pay for the booked room and deal with accommodation and rest upon arrival. Paying for the apartment as soon as it is selected by the person inside the app is the most needed trend in the industry.
3. Personalization
The consumer is accustomed to personalizing what the most popular applications adapt to his preferences. Travel apps are expected the same. The program remembers what conditions, budget and place for traveling the tourist chooses most often and offers various options for hotels/rest/route according to his tastes.
4. Full functionality
Most of the hotels have their own websites. However, their potential customers have moved from computers to mobile phones. Many representatives of business tourism don't want to pay for creating their own mobile application. This is true for small and medium-sized businesses. An application is able to provide entrepreneurs with full functionality and a platform with an interested audience - this is what the tourism business needs. This can be done by giving the entrepreneur a personal account of the hotel/hostel and giving him many functions. A number of features may be available to entrepreneurs using a subscription.
5. Voice control
In the United States, voice control is becoming more and more popular: ordering groceries at home, calling a taxi, etc. In other countries, the popularity of voice assistants and their integration with people's lives are only developing.
The opportunity to book a hotel room and choose the right option for a price using your voice is a convenient option for many owners of smart speakers and voice assistants. In the near future, such features are going to appear in travel applications in the United States and Canada.
6. Communication
A pleasant experience is what can motivate a tourist to return. Entrepreneurs want to provide comfort so tourists can easily get to them, spend time with them and leave the vacation place without any problems. Previously, travel agents could direct everything to this. Now tourism applications carry out constant communication with the tourist.
They can tell you the place of the trip, how to get there, and where is the best place to stay, what is interesting in this location, where you can buy food, etc. For entrepreneurs, this communication is important and they are ready to be active in the application in order to attract customers and stay with them before, during and after their holidays.
7. Tourists from outside the hotels
Not all tourists prefer to visit hotels. Many people choose a tent and a navigator as the main components of their trip. For such tourists, travel apps can also be helpful. For instance:
  • Development of more advanced maps with directions for transport timetables
  • Opening hours of places
  • Reviews from other tourists
  • Creation of chat from the same country/different countries can gather together and have fun.
8. Blockchain
Blockchain technology in the travel business helps to track baggage and room status (busy/free). It is already used by big brands of hotels, cinemas, etc. Mass integration of technology into the work of tourist applications is only a matter of time.
9. Online excursion
Photographs are important for many users before deciding on the choice of hotel and the place where they are going to go. But often dishonest travel business owners will show better room than a visitor would expect. The introduction of the possibility of online excursions into the application will allow you to see the selected room in 360 degrees. An example of using this technology: thanks to photos of Google maps, you can navigate the streets of all cities in the world.

Advanced features

Before describing advanced features for travel applications, you need to know the basic ones.
Basic functions of travel apps:
  • Signing up for an Account
  • Personal account of the tourist/tourist business owner
  • Profile management (avatar, information about yourself, etc.)
  • Search within the app
  • Hotel cards (photos, reviews, ratings, contact details, etc.)
  • Communication chats between: tourist/hotel owner; tourist/application representative; hotel owner/application representative; tourist/tourist
  • Room reservation
  • Reviews/ability to write reviews
  • Notifications
These functions are expected to be shown by the user in the 2021 travel application. Now, let's describe the advanced functionality you may want to place in your own travel application:
  • Personalization. Adapt to the preferences of the tourist and increases the profit of hotels and applications.
  • Geolocation. Geolocation is useful for tourists at any time of the trip. The chance of using the application is increasing when you can see recommendations for places of rest, transport timetables and other information on the map.
  • Tongue. Language change is a useful feature if you are targeting the global market - not all users are fluent in two or more languages, and the translator will help make your application popular while traveling.
  • Rating. It is possible to reward business owners by ranking top places to visit. This will create adequate competition or become a source of income for the application.
  • SOS. This function is only thought to be introduced into taxi applications. The idea is if a person doesn't feel safe, he can press the "SOS" button. This will immediately display the person on maps or even call special services. When a tourist is abroad, anything can happen. To make users feel safe, the application can contain a “SOS” button and connect the tourist with the police/ambulance or other service, displaying his location on the map.
  • Instant payment. Often booking means charging for the app's services. Then, upon arrival, the user pays for the booked room. However, technology is trying to introduce instant payment through the application to the hotel. This will increase the speed of making a profit and the client's waiting at the reception.
  • Custom card. The traveler may have special preferences for their vacation. Help them to communicate by creating visibility for the hotel owner about the needs of the potential tourist. If we introduce artificial intelligence into this system, then it will automatically show the desire of the tourist to the owners of the tourism business suitable for him.
  • Photo/video reviews. Many tourists want to express their emotions after the rest. Especially if the rest isn't good. Placing photos and video materials in reviews will allow other users to carefully navigate when choosing a hotel. The same function can be done for business owners in their business accounts.
These were advanced features, many of which could be integrated into travel applications. However, most of the existing applications still don't have the listed functions. Perhaps, placing them in your application, you will attract more people and set a new level for the entire travel industry.

Best examples of a tourism app

It is worth studying the market actual leaders for 2021 to develop a tourism application. This will help you to come up with a unique idea and stand out from the competition.
Travel apps come in a variety of ways. Some weren't originally created as tourism apps, but eventually became very convenient for travelers.
These lists are organized by category. Best travel apps:
1. Travel planning:
  • Onward Ticket
  • TripIt
  • Visit a City
  • Skyscanner
  • TripAdvisor
  • Trabee Pocket
  • PackPoint
2. Searching flights to visit a travel destination:
  • Hopper
  • Skyscanner
  • Vayama
  • Flight Aware
  • App In The Air
3. Maps and movements:
  • Google Maps
  • Uber
  • Blabla Car
  • Waze
  • Donkey Republic
  • Bird/Lime Scooters
  • Fog of World
  • Roadtrippers
  • Skyscanner
  • Vayama
  • Flight Aware
  • Gaia GPS
  • AllTrails
  • Plant Snap
  • Citymapper
  • RV Parks & Campgrounds
4. Search for a hotel:
  • Hostelworld
  • Airbnb
  • Hotel Tonight
  • Dayuse
5. Food:
  • The Fork
  • Happy Cow
  • Zomato
  • Delivery Club
6. Finance:
  • Cash App
  • Transferwise
  • XE Currency Converter
  • Trabee Pocket
7. Translators:
  • Google Translate
  • Reverso
  • Voice Translator
  • iTranslate
  • Translate.Ru
  • Waygo
8. Connection
  • Whatsapp
  • Skype
  • Line
  • Facebook
  • Telegram
  • Signal
9. Meeting with people/activities/help/romantic dating:
  • Couchsurfing
  • Meetup
  • Tinder
  • Bumble
  • Badoo
  • Yelp
10. It can be useful:
Many surprises can happen while traveling. The final selection of apps is designed for travelers to help them in a variety of situations.
  • Drive Weather. Weather forecasts around the world and making routes anywhere in the world. This application was created not to get caught in a storm.
  • KAYAK. Airline and hotel filter.
  • Airbnb. The application allows you to rent a room/house and other places to stay without cooperation with hotels.
  • Timeshifter. Provide a plan for changing time zones so traveling around the world is comfortable.
  • Hound From SoundHound. The user can communicate with a voice assistant like a travel agent. It tells you about hotels, where to eat and much more.
  • Rome2rio. Enter the place where you want to go in the application, and it will reflect information about where you can stay, what attractions are around, compare prices, etc.
  • GasBuddy. If you are traveling by car, this application will help you to find the best prices for gasoline in the nearest settlements.
  • Flush Toilet Finder. Everyone goes to the toilet, but not everywhere is possible. The application displays public toilets, gives information about their condition, whether disabled people can use them and whether there is a need to pay for this toilet.
  • SOAR. The application will help you get rid of your fear of flying and make your dream trip.
It was the most popular travel and leisure app. The “Exceed Team” wishes you some inspiration for your travel app idea.

A technology stack for a tourism app

We told you about many applications in our article. Some of them are directly related to tourism, others are indirect. Describing a common technology stack for a travel application isn't an easy task, because the stack depends on your idea.
Answer the following questions:
  • What problem does your application solve?
  • For whom is it created?
  • How does it differ from competitors?
Answers to these questions will help you to define the mission and purpose of the application and accurately articulate its functions. The following parts of the technology stack will help you to understand what features can be integrated into your application and make development easier.
  1. Model-View-Controller - a scheme for dividing application data into three categories: model, view, and controller. This division allows you to sort information that only tourists or business owners can.
  2. Electronic portfolio - allows you to create an account and track its progress within the application. Watch account reviews, replenishment of information, change of avatar, etc.
  3. Payment gateways. This is a generalized concept of different payment methods and systems that can be applied on the site for the convenience of the buyer paying without leaving the site.
  4. Elastic search. Allows you to navigate the application and quickly find the necessary information for any user.
  5. Search filters. The search is better within the configured application and more chances that the tourist will find the service or actual information. Elastic search with a system of filters by categories will help the user to find what he wants faster.
  6. Cloud services. These services store all the information that happens in the software and support its operation in terms of exchanging, managing and retrieving data.
  7. API is an application integration tool (interaction one program with another)
  8. Content Delivery Network - allows you to support communication and file sharing between users.
  9. AI (artificial intelligence) - facilitates the collection of statistical data, maintains and implements the work of chat bots, pushes a certain user with the necessary advertising, forms ratings, etc.
  10. System of recommendations. Thanks to AI and collected statistics about the movement of a specific account within the application. This allows you to form recommendations and increase the chance of making a deal.
  11. WebRTC. The tool helps you to create and use chats, voice messages and real-time video calling within the app, making communication easy. Also WebRTC organizes a staging database.
  12. Text editors. Text materials for studying and posting them for reading are essential for writing. It has the ability to place illustrations, graphs, etc. inside the article. You can read the article in audio format, combined with AI.
  13. SEO. An optimization tool allows the application to appear among the first in search queries in various browsers. It is based on elastic search, as well as the use of keywords and their consolidation in search engines.
  14. IVR. This technology provides an automated telephony system allowing subscribers to interact using voice and DTMF signals.
  15. GPS. The Google Geolocation API allows you to get data about the location of the tourist. An irreplaceable feature in most tourist applications.
  16. Search for travel / transport / hotel / catering and recreation establishments. This function uses GPS technology, which allows you to see a map of the area, the distance of the nearest coffee, taxi, hotel, etc.
  17. Twilio - Voice notifications and messages.This feature helps improve voice messages and notifications to remind you of certain app news.
  18. Chat. This function helps communication between the users of the application.
  19. Rating. Introduced among tourists or hotel owners - they can study each other before deciding on cooperation. Possible thanks to the feedback system, rating by reactions and AI information gathering.
There are a number of other functions that can be used in tourism applications.
Travel apps use all possible platforms:
  • Web application
  • Android
  • iOS
Each of these systems uses its own programming languages. Here are the most common ones:
For applications focused on the mobile platform (Android and iOS):
  • JavaScript
  • Java
  • Kotlin
  • Swift
  • Rust
  • HTML5
For web-based applications:
  • JavaScript
  • Java
  • РНР
  • Python
  • Ruby
When you set your goal, it will be easier for you to choose the technology stack of the project. Now, you need to figure out exactly how to develop your application. In this case, you have three options:
  1. Develop an application for yourself. Doing this, you need to start learning a suitable programming language. What programming language is suitable and for what purposes you can find out by studying our blog.
  2. Search for freelancers to develop a tourism application.
  3. Hire a development team.
Why hiring freelancers is a risky step and how to choose a quality development team, we wrote the article “All you need to know to hire dedicated web developers”.

Team structure

A brief structure of the article “All you need to know to hire dedicated web developers”. will be shown below so you can imagine the general algorithm of the development team.
The team for creating a tourism application should consist of experienced programmers who has knowledge and experience in developing various applications. So, following the experience of the Exceed Team development, the team is built on the basis of the following stages of creating such a project:
  1. Software architecture planning. This function is built by specialists on the basis of business data, which was selected by a client to create an application for tourism. This is the formation of what functions are needed in the application, and which will be redundant, etc.
  2. Earlier application planning. The development team of the program describes exactly what manipulations they need to do to establish the work of the described project and in what terms.
  3. Development of the first version of the application. You can call this stage “pen test”, when the work created application features is being studied, but the general plan hasn't yet been completed.
  4. Quality assurance and application test. This point is pre-final, when the application passes various tests and identifies all possible problems before putting it into operation.
  5. Delivery of the application and launching its work. The application is ready and able to carry out all the functions created in it.
We recommend reading our article “All you need to know to hire dedicated web developers”. for a more detailed algorithm and team composition.
All these stages can provide only a team which has a variety of experience and programming languages. Such teams are assembled on the basis of the Exceed Team over the years of work in the company and the creation of a variety of software.

Market analysis for a tourism app

Returning to tourism applications at the beginning of the article, we described in detail why creating such an application is actual. However, let's review the general tourism trend in 2021.
1. Many people choose not to travel long trips to other countries, preferring to travel to neighboring states or within their own country.
This happens because of the continuation of the COVID-19 situation and various strikes that broke out in various countries in 2020. People don't want to take risks, however, sitting still is not in their plans. Therefore, we recommend creating an application that will take into account the regionality of your users. You should pay attention to the geolocation technology and try the application at the beginning within your country.
2. Because of the situation with oil prices in early 2020 and the subsequent unrest on the stock exchange, many people are afraid of an economic crisis.
This encourages people to buy goods that are more in demand for them at the price that they have now. On the one hand, people will try to improve their living conditions. On the other hand, make your dreams come true at the prices that are now. And for many people, such dreams are associated with travel.
3. According to the forecast of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), by 2022, due to massive relaxation of restrictions associated with the epidemic, world tourism will increase.
Of course, such a state of travel business may not come. However, many experts suggest a series of mass migrations. This is due to various worries and desires of people to temporarily move to other places of residence.
These were three main themes that dominate the tourism application market.

Success stories of tourism apps

The key success model of any travel app is its idea.
Each of the applications we have listed in this article has gained its success due to:
  • A unique idea
  • Convenient interface
  • Personalization
  • Competent application maintenance
  • Timely updates
  • Solving the problems of people if appear during travel
  • Advertising company
  • Competent monetization policy
Examples of successful applications for tourism include:
  • KAYAK. Airline and hotel filter. It has been operating since 2004. At the moment, the mobile application is localized for every country in the world. This is the secret of KAYAK's success - regionalism. Also, in 2013, KAYAK became part of Booking Holdings, a world leader in the field of tourism. This allows the company to be actual and respond quickly to all market changes.
  • Trabee Pocket. This travel app allows its users to keep track of travel budget spending. Even if they happen in another country. The ability to switch currencies makes this application convenient and in demand on the tourism market. Careful planning and pricing made this application especially relevant in the business environment.
  • Google Maps. Thanks to Google, it has become widespread as well as convenient updates that allow you to see the names of the streets, and the user can look at the map in several modes. A huge number of applications in various fields work on the basis of these maps.
  • Flush Toilet Finder. The application displays public toilets, gives information about their condition, whether disabled people can use them and whether there is a need to pay for this toilet. The originality and prostate of this idea made it relevant. Having this map allows you to navigate in space no worse than other geolocation applications.
We have described success stories in a separate article in the section “Best travel application examples”. For Exceed Team is more important that you consciously approach the development of your idea. The main thing isn't to be afraid to experiment.
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