Mobile Travel Apps: Features and Functionality
Travellers are increasingly using IT solutions for travelling, accessing information via the internet on their mobile devices. This trend causes companies to shift their efforts to building mobile apps or optimize their sites to mobile, providing quality services and empowering people to be more self-sufficient when booking trips.
As more travellers, the millennial consumer group in particular, rely on mobile devices to book their travel plans, it’s estimated that digital travel sales worldwide will reach over 800 billion U.S. dollars by 2020, nearly doubling in total amount since 2014.
According to AYTM, 17% of survey respondents said that they’ve used multiple mobile travel apps at some point and 22% have used one travel-related app. Therefore, businesses need to dedicate at least some of their resources to implementing mobile solutions.
Today’s market is focused on developing apps that have the latest features and functionality. Here are the most popular on-demand features of a travel app and some real-world examples that use these features.
On-demand features of mobile travel apps
Building a mobile travel app that offers potential customers an easy, convenient, and straightforward way to plan, book, and/or enjoy their trip should be a key part of a modern travel company’s marketing strategy.
Mobile solutions are flexible and can be designed or updated to include all necessary features in a single app. Apps that offer useful features alongside a great user experience will contribute to rapid end user adoption. But what kinds of features do travellers want and need?
Some of the most desired features of a successful mobile travel app include:
- booking flights via a month-view calendar;
- cancelling or rescheduling booked flights;
- getting alerts when prices for deals change (price tracking);
- booking car rentals;
- booking hotels or other accommodation;
- booking last minute trips;
- organizing an itinerary;
- providing geolocation tracking services and maps;
- searching for events and/or activities in the area;
- accessing millions of reviews, opinions, videos, and pictures of different locations.
Additional features could include:
- finding and utilizing public transportation (trains, buses, etc.);
- checking the weather forecast;
- making a checklist;
- accessing a currency converter;
- accessing a time converter;
- searching for restaurants and bars nearby;
- accessing a language translator;
- searching for location-based emergency services;
- integrating a social feed or messaging service;
- keeping passport details and biometrics handy;
- creating trip diaries or journaling;
- requesting live tour guides on call;
- interacting with artificial intelligence (AI) tour guides or AI-powered travel assistants.
A successful travel app needs to define its target audience and its purpose in order to identify which of these features are a must-have, a nice-to-have, or optional. The app should also be built in such a way as to allow features to be added later on, based on feedback from users.
Examples of existing travel apps
Let’s take a quick look at some of the apps already on the market that have implemented some of the features listed above.
Travello’s primary goal is to connect travellers who are exploring the same area. Travellers can join groups that match their interests, posting travel updates and photos from their adventures. The app also helps users discover free WiFi hotspots and location-based travel deals.
Cleartrip is an app for booking flights, hotels, and trains. Cleartrip was originally founded in India and now has over 10 million users in supported areas across the globe. Cleartrip allows users to search for and book cheap flights in 60 seconds using one of the multiple supported payment options. The app can also send alerts to the user when the price drops or when it is about to increase. Users can also cancel or reschedule flight bookings directly from the app and they can get great deals on hotels in over 15,000 cities using Cleartrip.
Mezi, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), is a personal travel assistant that delivers superior service to travellers. The AI assistant helps the user book a flight and hotel and assists them to figure out what to do when they arrive, serving as an on-the-ground guide. The app can also handle online check-ins and accommodate for changing plans.
PackPoint is an app that helps users pack. The user needs to put in where they are going, when they are going, and what they plan on doing so that PackPoint can start building packing lists based on weather and the traveller’s plans. The app helps assemble clothing, toiletries, devices, accessories, and other items and the ability to add or remove things from the list, then tick them off once they are packed, helps users ensure they have packed everything they need for an upcoming trip.
5. XE Currency
XE Currency has over 55 million downloads and is the most popular currency exchange rate app on the market. The app gives accurate conversion rates for every currency and refreshes the rate in real time. Its offline mode allows users to store conversion rate information, even if their internet connection is lost.
Livetrekker app creates a digital journal on an interactive map. The app tracks the user as they are exploring, marking a red line along the map following the exact route. The app also monitors speed and altitude, a great feature for adventure travellers. Users can add pictures, video, audio, and text along the way, creating a multimedia travel diary that can be shared with friends.
7. Time Out
The Time Out app for iOS and Android is a great guide to what travellers can do in cities around the world. With coverage from Accra to Amsterdam and Edinburgh to Singapore, the app suggests local bars, restaurants, attractions, and events. Users can even book restaurants and concert tickets directly through Time Out.
Providing technology-enabled travel
As mobile devices increasingly become every traveller’s faithful companion, there is a growing need for customized solutions that allow travel providers to deliver the connected experiences customers seek. Choosing a niche market and focusing one’s app development around the features that solve a particular travel need will entice users to explore and adopt the developed product. By making use of appropriate technologies, including AR, VR, machine learning, and IoT, travel providers and other interested stakeholders will be able to build a successful mobile travel app, strengthening their brand’s outreach.
A focus on mobile solutions like apps is an important change to adapt to. Decide what features and functionality make sense for your target audience and start building an app with SteelKiwi today!