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Travel and bookings for travelling have taken a whole new tone as people have come to rely on Internet and mobile applications to take care of the travel-related activities for them. The number of travellers has grown and they are fearlessly visiting destinations and indulging in activities that were heretofore unheard of or considered inaccessible.
One of the travel trends that can be attributed to internet and mobile applications is the growth of Airbnb, where people are renting accommodation from home owners and enjoying the experience of a homestay.
Whether you are a full-fledged travel agency, regional tour operator, or utility travel solution provider, a travel application will be a useful tool for the business that will make your business discoverable to a multitude of travellers globally.
However, it is not just about developing an application that will make your service accessible, it is about creating an application that will be engaging for the customers and make them repeat visitors. Creating an effective application for web and mobile platforms that are inter-usable is essential.
The Millennials march on
Travel and tourism industry finds its greatest market among the millennials who have the largest share of disposable income and are seeking new experiences and willing to spend. This is the group that is also highly tech savvy and refers to the internet before making a travel plan.
From researching a new place or activity to booking their tickets and finalizing their itinerary, they rely completely on internet-based applications for these purposes. Even during the travel, they may make impromptu plans, but these will be guided by an internet-based application such as TripAdvisor for knowledge from other travellers or making accommodation or local travel arrangements to name a few.
Travel app development is not restricted to booking air, train or bus tickets alone, it can come with the whole package or address any niche segment that will cater to a travellers needs. The millennials want to be able to research and book their trips online.
Different kinds of travelling needs
A person may step out for business, pleasure or both. For all kinds of travel, booking tickets is the primary activity. In booking tickets segment, services that can be offered include-
Booking flight, train or bus ticket
Assistance in booking charter flights
Assistance in finding travel routes based on following criteria –
- Fastest way (taxi, metro or other local alternatives)
- Travel route of historic importance (tour guide)
- Safe travel route (for solo travellers)
For non-ticket booking travel apps, services that are sought include –
- Creating a travel plan for one day tours
- Finding activities for leisure time for business travellers
- Language translator that can help with basic communication by giving colloquial sentences and terms
- Applications that will help find the best rates
- Currency convertor that gives the latest exchange rate
- Travel itinerary generator that will mention to-be visited locations and creates the route plan for the same
- Weather or climate forecasting in real-time to assure the traveller of a good day to be out and about
- World clock to give the current time for the destination and where the person is coming from
- Listing emergency contacts for police, ambulance, and option to upload the number of emergency contact person
- Finding eateries or restaurants with fine dining experience or for those looking forward to trying local cuisine. This could also be for non-foodies who are seeking eateries where they can get their regular home fare
- Trip reviewers from other travellers
Technologies needed to make this all-purpose travelling app
You can work on an application that serves any one of these demands or create an app that will have one niche service and several add-on services so that the user uses the application as his/her travel companion. The technologies that will be needed to integrate the features mentioned above are –
Camera – Passports, visas, and even boarding passes come with barcodes. A user can scan the barcode with his/her camera and save details on the application. In-app camera can also be used to create a photo blog of the places visited by the user.
GPS/Map – as per an infograph released by Opera Mediaworks that surveyed 1000 US-based mobile users, asking them about their travelling habits, it was revealed that 60% used navigation apps. Real-time maps and GPS are preferred to asking locations, especially in a country where the language is foreign.
With business travellers especially, once they are free, the first thing they look for is nearby attractions and how to get there. Also, users can use the map to find local restaurants or cafes.
Clock – a clock that gives real time of the current location and of their home and automatically updates the same is a treasure
Messaging/ push notification – an in-app messaging service will help send SOS message to an emergency contact and also share travel images and videos via the app. Push notifications can be sent to the user informing them about any trivia or place to check out in the vicinity.
These can be automated services. Reminders for meetings and how long it will take to get to the destination or flights to catch will be an added benefit.
Features of the App
The features of such an app, both user-facing and admin-facing will include –
- Ticket booking system – air tickets, railway, bus
- Taxi service connection or recommendation/ car rental services
- Payment gateway integration
- Tour packages
- Hotel bookings
- Admin control panel
- Agent management system
Studying the market
First step is to study the market and finalize the target audience for the app – will it be the millennials? Senior citizens? Single ladies? Adventure travellers? Or will it be generic? Based on the result you can decide the interface (level of complexity), the features and usage.
Understand what the competitors are offering in the same category and develop a feature that will give users additional value.
The basic revenue source for the application is through the service provided by the company such as ticket bookings, accommodation fees, package tour fees etc. The other means for generating revenue would be in-app advertising, commissions, in-app purchases and subscriptions.
The essential aspect for success of the application is that user must be able to access it anywhere they go. The app must have certain offline features that can be used even in areas where there is no Wi-Fi or Internet facility and in case of some nations, it must not consume too much data. Blogger reviews and app content will help indirectly generating new leads.
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