A Travel Agent Guide on Travel Booking App Development Cost

Sudeep Srivastava July 29, 2022
Travel Booking App Development Cost

The competition in the travel industry is undeniable. 

The mobile app industry offers hundreds of options to every individual looking to plan a vacation. This current and probable rise in online travel booking apps has created a question mark for the need for traditional travel agents.  

Airlines, hotel chains, and car rental brands have created their own applications to join the action. This is driving travel agents out of the equation even further. 

Launching a new app in this fiercely competitive environment would require the OTA (Online Travel Agents) to innovate and differentiate. 

In this guide cum article, we will give travel agents the information on how to create a travel booking app that they need to kick start their journey and, at the same time, set them on the journey to land among the best travel apps, next to Kayak, Expedia, and Airbnb.   

The ways in which applications are changing the travel landscape are unquestionable. Keeping theories aside, even if you look at the point statistically as to why travelers are using applications, you will find the answer justifying the role of travel mobile apps. 

It has been established that travelers need agents to make a mobile presence. But does it indicate the need to create a travel app? Will a mobile responsive website not work (Afterall, it is much more cost-efficient)?

The answer is no. 

Let us give you the whys. 

Why Develop an App when you have a Travel Mobile Website?

The indecisiveness of choosing a mobile website or mobile app is age-old. This becomes all the more confusing when you are a startup operating with little budget. 

Here are some statistics showcasing the benefits of the travel booking app and the reasons behind users’ choice when it comes to choosing between a native experience or a hassle-free web experience.

Statistics showcasing the benefits of travel booking app

The grounds on which travelers are going with apps over mobile web boils down to the specificity that they can do a lot more with their apps compared to a mobile website:

  • Download their boarding pass on device
  • Check in through app
  • Get push notifications 
  • Access the information they need offline

Ease of use is another important reason, with over 28% of travelers choosing applications for the comfort of saving preferences, payment information, and other personal data.

A Few More Stats About The Travel App Industry 

The travel app industry has seen amazing growth in the past few years. This is mainly due to the upsurged usage of smartphones and social media. Currently, travelers are likely to book their flights, tours, and hotels all through mobile applications. The growth in the tours and travel app industry is also experiencing increased competition. Let’s check out a few more stats about the travel app industry. 

  • Around 61% of travelers in the US have booked their tours and travel through a smartphone. 
  • In the next 3 years, 84% of global airlines will integrate AI technology.
  • 26% of the travel application development companies will leverage chatbots in their applications. 
  • Almost 21% of global travelers have utilized the travel agent mobile applications while paying through secured payment gateways

These recent stats clearly show the importance of developing tours and travels application in the current time.

Top Players of the Travel Booking Sector

An important part of entering an already crowded space is knowing who you would be sharing the space with. The sector is already dominated by some names that have been setting the objectives and monetization models of the entire industry. 

Top Players of the Travel Booking Sector

We know how daunting the list might seem. But we guarantee that by the end of this article, you will have pointers that would prepare your OTA business to come next on the list (and not just the estimated cost to create a travel app).

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Different Types of Travel Mobile Applications

Different Types of Travel Apps

Plenty of travel applications are mushrooming up that are helping people arrange their entire travel itinerary. Let’s check out the different types of tours and travels mobile apps.

1. Travel Planning App 

With travel planning applications, users can find the best travel packages under their budget, make reservations, and plan for a safe journey. They can also check the reviews of other users and then make their bookings accordingly. 

2. Flight Booking App

The flight booking applications are now giving each other tough competition with their budget-friendly flight tickets. Such applications now allow users to select multiple airline booking options while comparing the costs. The users can also use the promo codes and discounts to get cheaper flight tickets.

3. Accommodation Booking App

With the accommodation booking app, your users can easily connect with the property and hotel owners of a particular location or area. In such mobile applications, the users can also compare the pricing range and other facilities of different types of accommodation.

4. Navigation App

The navigation apps help travelers find the perfect route from the airport/ station to the required destinations in a particular city. It shows the best navigational route that would take the shortest time and be free from congestion. 

5. Travel Guide App

The travel guide app is for travelers looking for events, entertainment, cities, and restaurants in a particular location during their entire travel period. This app shows you the best results per your search preferences.

Related Read- The Key Reasons Behind a Rise in Demand for Travel apps

How to Build a Travel Booking App: Must-Have Features to Implement

When pondering how much it costs to develop a travel app, the value is decided upon by assessing three segments: the customer panel, the agent’s panel, and the admin panel. 

All three of them come with their own individual set of features. Let us look into the travel app features in detail:

Customer Panel Travel App Features

Develop a powerful customer panel for your travel booking app that meets the demand of your end-users. 

Customer Panel Features

A. Search Functionality 

Although the functionality is embedded individually in every feature offering, let us look at it separately. 

The search functionality is where you should spend a good portion of your efforts. It should be extensive enough to make your customers travel to every corner of the world, depending on their choice (or at least wherever you offer your service). You should incorporate all search queries and forms that an individual normally uses in everyday life into your travel booking app design and development plan.

B. Hotels Tab

Using the hotel’s tab, customers can view the details: accommodation details, room availability on preferred dates, room rent, facilities, ratings, reviews, etc., with a single tap. The rule here is to be as descriptive as possible – enough to leave no room for confusion. 

C. Flight Booking Management

Using APIs (discussed in the section), you should give your customers real-time flight details: availability, seating details, single and roundtrip details, etc. The rule that the travel app developers should follow here is to introduce a wide range of options for customers.

D. Trip Details 

A separate section should be available to your customers to view their trip history and upcoming trip details. This would help them keep a reference point of their trip details, which they might consider revisiting. 

E. Currency Converter 

If your app enables customers to travel across the world, a currency converter will become a must-have. However, ensure you update it in real-time to avoid cost differences when booking payments. 

F. Contact Support 

A key factor to focus upon while travel application development is ensuring you are available to your end users when they need you. Even if you cannot be physically present on the communication modes, we recommend having a chatbot to answer customers’ basic queries related to their trip. 

G. In-App Payment

One of the prime travel app features to introduce in your tourism/travel-booking app is in-app payment. Using a secured mode to integrate in-app payment in the travel booking application, you should give users the ease to make payments against their booking inside the application. 

H. Push Notifications

The importance of push notifications is absolutely unignorable when it comes to investing in travel mobile app development. Your customers will be expected to be notified when a hotel is made available in the location and dates of their choice, any modifications made on their booking, and new offers or promotions.

I. Upsell Features 

There are certain factors, although not a must-have, that can play an active role in improving the app engagement numbers. 

  • Bundle Deals: Give customers details in combinations – Flight + Hotel or Hotel + Car deals to streamline their itinerary further.
  • Car booking feature to make commutation easy in a foreign land. 
  • Things to do tab gives customers insight into activities happening at their destination on their trip dates. 
  • Travel insurance 

Property Agents Panel Features:

Manage booking requests and ensure a seamless transactions with a scalable property agents panel.

Property Agents Panel Features 

When we say agents here, we mean the hotels or trip planners who would be extending their services to your application. 

A. Property and Package Management 

The feature should let the property managers or the trip package owners make modifications in the offering – the date, room availability, number of guests, payment details, etc. 

B. Booking Management 

It should be in the hands of property managers whether or not they wish to accept or decline the booking request – both in terms of the overall booking and the additional requests made like the choice of smoking/non-smoking rooms. 

C. Payment Management 

Another functionality to consider while the travel application development plan is to offer the service of accepting payment or making refunds, in addition to keeping track of the invoice of the bookings made.

D. Analytics and Report

The managers should be given a dashboard where they can see the insights on their property or package: the number of bookings, reviews over time, payment details, etc. This will help them make better decisions about the property and the service they offer. 

Admin Panel Travel App Features

Admin Panel Features

A. Users Management

Everything related to the customers – their details, payment details, bookings, etc., has to be managed by the app admin. The feature will help them streamline the process of keeping every booking running smoothly. 

B. Agents Management 

The details of the property, and package details, along with the verification of the property and the agent, should be handled by the admin on this platform. 

C. Advertisement Management 

The admin will also be responsible for ensuring the advertisement shown on the application is genuine and that it follows the guidelines set by the parent company. 

[Also Read: How to Develop a Hotel Booking App? Types, Features, and Cost Estimations]

Factors To Consider While Developing a Travel App

No matter how great your app idea is and how best your travel app features and functionalities are, but if it is not offering any value to the end users, then it is of no use. Therefore, while developing a travel application, you must consider the following factors

A. Understanding the User’s Needs and Market

To follow your passion for creating a travel application, you must first focus on the market. Try understanding the current market scenario, and then plan your product roadmap. Also, you need to understand your clients’ needs and if your app will solve the problem. Ask these questions to yourself:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is the purpose of your tourism app development?
  • Will your app give you better returns?
  • What kind of travel app should you consider first?

These questions will help you to understand how well your ideas would work out. The better you know the market in the audience, the more valuable app you will be able to launch in the market.

B. Data Analysis and Competitor Research 

Since mobile applications have paved the way into every domain and industry, the travel market has also become quite competitive. With proper competitor research and data analysis, you can understand the current position of your competitors in the market and what strategies they are applying to be on the top. 

You will also learn about the databases and key resources of the market leaders through in-depth data and competitor analysis, which gives you a complete idea of how you can progress.

C. Make a Wise Selection of your Development Team 

Your travel app development idea might be superb, but if you are not hiring an experienced and skilled app development team, all your fortune and hard work will be in vain. Travel application development companies like Appinventiv can offer you a scalable app that is loaded with features. 

Appinventiv is one travel mobile app development company that ensures that your travel business idea takes the flight of success.

How to Get Hotel Listing and Real-Time Flight Details on Your Travel App?

Understanding the financial limitations that a startup or lesser-known travel agency comes with, we recommend using APIs to kickstart your mobile business. 

With our experience of serving more than 10 clients with efficient travel app design and development services, we have been able to curate a list of tested affiliate programs that you can partner with and APIs offering extensive listings. 

By signing up to the plans, you will not just be able to save on the efforts to search and partner with hotels but also save on the cost to make an app – by using their APIs. 

In the image shared below, we have mentioned the names of not just the brands offering affiliate programs but also the APIs of open source content sites. 

Brands offering Affiliate programs and APIs of open source content sites

The Probable Tech Stack of a Robust Travel Booking Application

Tech Stack of a Robust Travel Booking Application

Application & Data – For the mobile version, the travel booking app developers can make use of languages and tools like Python, Java, Amazon S3, Amazon EC2, Apache Impala, Scala, Kafka, etc. 

Location Tracking – This is probably one of the most important elements of the travel booking app tech stack. For a hassle-free user experience, it is important that their location can be tracked.

Cloud – Considering the different types of travel apps and the amount of data they attract, you WILL need cloud access. Quality cloud service providers like Amazon or Google Cloud will not just help you secure terabytes of data but also make the process of information transmission real-time, secure and cost-efficient. 

Real-time Analytics – Tracking app performance is an inherent part of any application. By using Google Analytics or Flurry, or Localytics, you will be able to remain on top of your app’s movement at all times. 

User Verification – To keep authenticness alive in the application, you should ask your mobile app development company to use Email, Phone, and SMS APIs. 

Database – For ensuring robustness, you will have to ensure that well-devised database back the app. Some of the options that you can choose are:  Aerospike, MongoDB, Cassandra, HBase, MySQL, Postgres, etc.

Travel App Development Cost Estimation

The feature set and technology stack that we covered above are the main factors that influence the answer to how much does it costs to build a travel app.

But these are still not enough to help you estimate the amount you will have to keep aside in the name of travel booking app development cost. There are still a number of pivotal factors to be kept into consideration. The factors affecting travel mobile app development cost.

A. Location of the Agency

The location of the professional travel app design company you plan to partner with will play the biggest role in deciding the overall cost. As a general rule of thumb, the average per hour cost keeps declining as you move from a Western nation to an Eastern nation. The per hour cost that you can expect from Australia or the US would be $80 – 100k, while the average cost per hour in the case of India would be $40 – $80. 

B. Backend Architecture Choice

The choice of backend architecture also plays a considerable role in deciding the average app development cost. When we talk about the backend architecture, we majorly talk about the choice between Monolithic and Microservices. While microservices architecture would be a lot more expensive, it will be more scalability and future-friendly.

C. Technology Incorporation 

To stand apart from the crowd of travel apps, you must use innovative technologies to attract users. If that is your plan as well, be wary that the addition of technologies like AR/VR, Blockchain, IoT, etc., will bring up the average app development cost.

D. Travel Booking App Design and Development

Mobile app design costs can have a major impact on your overall travel booking app development price range. While ideally, you should incorporate animations and videos to attract users to your application, they come with an average app development cost. 

What we advise is starting basic with starter animations and basic vectors and then upping your design style as the app’s popularity and download rates grow. 

Noting the factors and functionalities, the overall travel app development cost can be estimated in the range of USD 100,000 to USD 130,000. But, even this would vary depending on your exact black and white requirement. 

Type of App Total Cost Timeline
Basic app (core features) $60,000- $150,000 3-5 months
Full product (complex features, supports single platform) $150,000- $300,000 4-9 months
Large app (complex design, support cross platforms) $300,000+ 9 months+

Advantages of Travel Industry Software Solution

Travel applications have completely revolutionized the tourism industry as it has enabled customers to make a seamless booking and plan their travel itinerary. Let’s check out some of the top benefits of travel applications.

1. Easy Accessibility

Mobile travel mobile apps offer quick access to their users as they can get access to all the information like flight ticket prices, timing, hotels, and several other details that one cannot obtain offline or by calling travel agents. With the help of travel apps, booking tickets online has now become as easy as a click.

2. Advanced Customizations

The travel applications come with the functionalities of advanced customization where the users can customize the features as per their needs. Also, these travel applications are constantly upgrading themselves to the latest technologies and are shaping up to meet the diverse travel app requirements of the customer base.

3. Effortless Maintenance

Travel mobile apps can be maintained easily with regular upgrades. They can easily support, track and update all the data from time to time, so that they can furnish the latest information to their users.

4. Instant Booking 

Whether you are looking for a hotel or want to book a flight ticket, travel apps can help you with everything. They provide details such as distance, rate, information about the tourism site, and other data. Other than that, the users can also avail  special discounts through which they can book their flight or rail ticket or a hotel room at the cheapest rate. Travel apps these days also help customers to make reservations for taxi trips to and fro airports or railway stations.

5. Safety Information 

Safety is one of the major concerns if you are planning a trip. Travel apps now offer the latest safety information regarding the weather condition or any other information that can cause an obstacle in your journey. Whatever it is, your users get instant notification on weather-related disturbances and other 24 hours emergency services so that they can have a safe vacation or journey.

How to Make Money on Your Travel Booking App?

Usually, there are three monetization models that the top mobile app development companies in the market follow. Here are the details of how travel apps make money:

A. Merchant Model 

The model followed by Expedia works in a way that the platform buys (books) hotel rooms at bulk rates and then sells them off to the customers at discounted rates. The model also extends to car rentals, airfares, etc. 

B. Commission Fees

Popularized by Booking.com, under the commission fees model you can charge a commission from hotels or tip planners to get listed on the application. This way, for every booking made for the hotel on your platform, you will get a share of the booking. 

C. Advertisement Model 

Another model that is highly considered when talking about how to make money from your travel app is the advertisement model. Preferred heavily for small agents of OTAs, this model enables you to charge airlines and hotels to advertise in your app under the cost-per-click model. 

How to Stand Apart from the Rest in the Crowded Travel Booking Sector?

Find a New Niche Travel Application Market 

Western Europe, North America, and the Asia-Pacific regions are all-time favorites for travelers. But being new to the already concentrated market, you cannot afford not to expand and limit yourself to the popular locations. 

You can explore new geographical regions on the basis of different demarcations like – Special Events like the Oscars or Commonwealth Games; Interests like relaxation, wildfire, history; etc. 

Use Disruptive Technologies to Better Customer Experience

Technology adoption is the travel industry’s blue ocean. For every new OTA who is looking ahead in the direction of how to start a travel application development business and dominate the market, technology will have to be brought into the equation. 

Here are a few examples of how travel technology trends can help elevate your digital offering. 

AI: Using Artificial Intelligence, OTAs can devise their recommendation engine, advising users where to visit next or similar hotels in case their chosen ones are booked. 

Blockchain: Inaccurate hotel bookings affect the entire travel experience very negatively.  Blockchain, at the back of its immutability feature, helps in ensuring that the users don’t ever have to face such an issue. 

We recently developed a Blockchain-empowered hotel booking application that has been designed to solve the issues of inaccurate bookings and differences in the booking cost by introducing smart contracts and cryptocurrency in the mix

Booking cost by introducing smart contract and cryptocurrency in the mix

AR/VR: Majorly used to give users a peek inside hotels or give them details into the key places of interest to visit in a city, AR/VR in the travel sector is fresh for innovative use cases. AR is reshaping the travel and tourism industry. AR-based travel apps are helping businesses enhance their services and offer personalized experiences to their customers.

Talk to your AR/VR tourism app development company to get an understanding of how to make a successful travel app while focusing on this technology.


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Kickstart your Travel App Idea with Appinventiv 

A good travel app’s user experience mainly revolves around efficiency and speed. A solid search engine, a clean interface, transparency, a dose of customization, and an array of brick-solid payment methods will make your travel app get the smell of success. However, you need to keep one thing in mind trends are shifting faster. 

Mobile and web apps are getting better as the users are getting increasingly demanding. Keep analyzing your app, its elements, and features, and track how your app is behaving in the wild. 

Want an intuitive travel app for your business? Trust a reputed travel app development company like us as we are well-known for offering full-featured apps for mobile and web applications with post-launch support and maintenance. Get connected with our tech experts today!

FAQs

Q. Are travel apps profitable?

A. Travel apps are certainly profitable. Giving your travel agency the power of a software solution can help you to earn significant revenue for your business. Travel applications are expected to generate $364 million by the end of the year 2022. Thus, building a travel app can be extremely profitable if it is done in the right way.

Q. What are the most popular travel mobile apps?

A. Some of the globally recognized travel apps are

  • Airbnb
  • Hostelworld
  • Tripadvisor
  • LoungeBuddy

Q. How do you create a successful travel app?

A. Here are a few steps to create a successful travel app:

Step 1- Define your target audience, plan your product roadmap and come up with unique offers for them.

Step 2- Hire a qualified and experienced mobile app development team for building a travel app from scratch. 

Step 3- Collaborate with various hosts like restaurants, hotels, airlines, and so on.

Q. What are the risks and challenges of building a travel app?

A. A travel app might be subjected to risks and challenges if there is a misinterpretation of the user’s identity, storage of sensitive personal information, and accommodation safety. Therefore, it is always recommended that all travel apps should offer a robust mechanism for the safety and convenience of the users. 

For instance, travel apps should have the feature of ‘Reporting’ where the users will be able to report platform abuse or any other issues. Other than that, the admins of the travel apps should conduct routine security audits in order to prevent unauthorized entry into the user data.

Q. What makes a good travel app?

A. Travellers these days heavily rely on travel applications to make their online booking for flights or hotels. Therefore, it is always important to give them the best booking experience. Here are some of the elements which can help create a good travel app:

  • Minimalism- It is very crucial to keep in mind that your users will always be in a hurry to make their booking. Therefore, your travel app must have minimalistic and easily navigational features so that they can quickly book a flight, find accommodation or book a table in a restaurant. Remember, your users will want a faster solution so cut to the chase quickly.
  • Transparency- One of the prominent things that travelers check is the ‘hidden fees’. The hidden charges can be an additional expense to your users. Also, such things completely destroy the user experience, . Communicate as clearly and transparently as possible. 

Offer them all the information and deductable charges in your travel app while your users make their booking. Lack of transparency can lead to uninstallation or bad reviews. Consequently, it will become harder for you to retain your users then. 

  • Speed and Agility– Ensure a seamless booking process for your users with an agile travel mobile application. To have an amazing travel app, the entire user journey needs to be accounted for. Nobody likes using an app full of glitches. 

Therefore, focus completely on the UI and UX aspect of your application. Take special care of a secured and faster payment process. Payment must be seamless and end-to-end encrypted.

  • Quality Search Engine- For increasing the value of your travel app, your search engine must produce an effective and accurate result. All the apps or not mind readers, but still you need to make your user’s effort as minimal as possible. There are four elements to consider while building a search engine for your travel app:
  • The search bar must be clearly visible and should be simpler and faster to access. 
  • The results must be obvious and spot on. 
  • Personalization is fundamental. 
  • Search results should come out in an appealing manner. 
  • Your search engines must be able to spot typing errors and offer queries before the users finish typing the sentence.
THE AUTHOR
Sudeep Srivastava
Co-Founder and Director
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