7 Reasons Why the Travel Industry Needs More Mobile Apps

“7 Reasons Why the Travel Industry Needs More Mobile Apps”

Due to the never-ending process of IT evolution, travel industry has become one of the fastest growing industries. Mobile app development and mobile optimization allows those in the travel industry to deliver high quality services and expand their business opportunities as well as make travelling ever more appealing and accessible for the modern consumer. In this post, we are going to list 7 reasons for travel-focused businesses to go mobile. Apart from that, we’ll reveal some of the hottest travel trends that have invaded the 2017 market. So here we go!

Reason #1: Building brand recognition through a direct marketing channel

A mobile app can contribute to growing brand awareness among tech-savvy consumers. In order to promote their brand, online travel agencies should go mobile to provide travellers with a high-velocity customer experience. An interactive mobile app can contribute to a brand’s lasting effect and help entice users to come back for more.

Reason #2: Providing an all-in-one solution

These days, most travellers are looking for convenience and good deals. Travel providers should be able to offer a personalized approach to their customers by providing them with a comfortable application. A single mobile travel portal that integrates everything from booking tickets, hotels, or car rentals to facilitating sightseeing or helping with travel-related shopping, attracts more consumers because of how much convenience it provides them with.

Reason #3: Collecting user data

A mobile solution presents an opportunity to collect and analyze user data. By looking at what users buy, book, or search for and when they do it most often, providers can tailor their marketing campaigns, offers, and services accordingly. Such analytical tools as YOUBORA, Akami and Flurry can help organize and analyze the data collected. Vast amounts of data might also interest third parties that are willing to buy the information gathered for their own use.

Reason #4: Mobile marketing automation

Apps can also be used to help users move through the marketing funnel. By promoting special products and offering additional services, users can be enticed to spend money on in-app purchases as well. For example, push notifications can come in handy to boost sales for discounted flights and hotels or to alert users about last calls on special offers. Notifications can also be coordinated with email blasts, in-app messages, or an App Inbox to build a marketing campaign that reaches users both inside and outside of the app.

Reason #5: Collaboration with existing tools

Depending on the features app publishers want to include, there is a possibility to collaborate with already-existing solutions to offer users a better service. Many of the larger brands associated with travel (such as Booking.com, Expedia, Skyscanner, TripAdvisor, Yelp, OpenTable and Google Maps) have application program interfaces (API) that new apps can use in their development. Integrating an existing mobile solution through a third-party API can save time during development and may foster more trust among users. Utilizing the abilities of a mobile app, travel agencies can also start partnerships with tour guides all over the world, expanding their reach and contributing to a better customer experience.

Reason #6: Useful connection

A successful travel app should provide users with a convenient connection to the information they might need before, during, and after taking a trip. Travel apps can send regular updates to users’ devices about:

  • booking details;

  • hotel availability;

  • reservation confirmations;

  • flight boarding times;

  • hotel check-ins and check-outs;

  • special offers;

  • discounts and more.

Apps should also be customizable to allow users select types of notifications they want to receive so that they are not bombarded with unnecessary annoying alerts.

Reason #7: Monetization

Under a correct sort of strategy, a cleverly designed application can greatly increase revenue. The main app monetization methods include:

  • In-App Purchases. By collaborating with services that sell things like tickets, hotel rooms etc., and enabling in-app purchases, app publishers can get a percentage of each purchase, effectively creating a new revenue stream.

  • Premium Accounts or Special Features. Users are willing to pay for exclusive features (such as the ones helping figure out the cheapest way to their final destination or allowing them to be the first to receive the best hotel/ticket deals). Apps can be built around a subscription model that includes a monthly or quarterly fee to remain a VIP member and have access to premium features.

  • Locating Sponsors and Business Partners. Finding a partner with a similar customer base can create an integrated experience. If your logo appears on one of your partner’s applications, this could potentially open your business to a whole new sector of customers.

  • In-App Advertising. Advertisements can be really obnoxious. However, if an app features relevant ads from business partners (such as hotels, cab services, restaurants, local places of interest, etc.), users would be happy to click on them and learn more about the location they’re visiting or planning to visit. Mobile apps can be used to advertise anything from a local restaurant to a unique place in the area, attracting tourists who are willing to pay for new travel experiences. A percentage of sales from these purchases can also be shared with the app publisher.

  • Source Code Distribution. If an app is successful, many third-party brands may be willing to pay for its source code, which could, in turn, greatly increase the original publisher’s revenue.

Upcoming Travel Industry Trends

As the evolution of travel industry continues, travellers all over the world begin demanding for better travelling experiences. Businesses that are focused on the travel industry need to anticipate emerging travel trends in order to direct their app development accordingly. In January, Forbes published a list of their predictions for the 2017’s top-10 travel trends:

"Bleisure" Travelling

Bleisure originates from two words: business and leisure. Nowadays, more and more people are willing to mix business and leisure activities or even bring their whole families along on work-related trips. Capitalizing on this trend, mobile travel app developers should help travellers immerse themselves in the culture of a particular country in the limited time they have. Bleisure travellers would want to try local foods, visit some of the sights, and be able to find suitable entertainment while on their quick trip.

Bleisure image

Local Travel

The modern massive generation of millennials appears to be very keen on domestic travelling. For instance, in 2015 74.8 % of all tourism trips in the EU were spent in the country of residence, meaning that domestic trips outnumbered international ones 3 to 1. Domestic travel is usually done for short periods of time (one to three overnight stays) and can also be called weekend travel breaks.

Using AI and Machine Learning to Empower Travellers

Travellers, inspired by advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning, are moving away from the more traditional means of booking vacations. Instead of going to a real travel agency, people tend to use AI digital assistants in their search for the most suitable option. With advances in voice recognition and machine learning, travellers can simply talk to an AI when planning their trip as opposed to having to make time in their schedules to go somewhere in person.

Recommendation engines are another powerful machine learning tool for businesses’ consideration. For example, Expedia generates a list of hotel recommendations based on trending searches and users’ personal preferences. When using the Expedia app or webpage, people see dozens of potentially suitable hotels popping up - all based on their previous filtered search and booking history.

Solo Travel

Another important demographic for the travel industry is people travelling alone. It is only reasonable to assume that solo travellers would be more likely to enjoy single-person experiences as opposed to those meant for couples. Travel businesses would benefit greatly from catering to this significant customer group and helping them explore locations in their own, personal manner.

Solo Travel image


Eco-friendly travellers tend to want to visit remote locations and preserve the natural state of environment as much as possible. This group of travelers usually looks for low-impact, sustainable travel options in order to gain memorable experiences and reconnect with nature without interfering with their surroundings. This list of trends should work as a form of guidance for those planning to develop their own travel applications. Catering to a couple or all of them would allow targeting a wider customer niche and help your business grow in accordance with the modern consumer’s needs and demands.

Ecotourism image

Developing a Mobile Travel App

Today, people are turning to their devices for shopping, education, entertainment and even travel planning. Continuously emerging IT advancements allow travel industries market their services more effectively, build evidence-based strategies and discover business opportunities to grow their revenue. Having established a good online presence, travel providers are able to offer their clients to take shortcuts in arranging their travel plans through a variety of mobile applications.

To appeal to new travel groups and deliver unique mobile solutions for them, it is worth analyzing the upcoming travel trends. By taking them into account, travel app developers can design applications to cater to the vast number of newly emerging niche markets. Trends could also help predict the direction that the travel industry is heading in, allowing businesses to customize their offers and find the best platform for app development, which would in turn provide them with the maximum outreach.

Keep up with the changing times and build your own app with SteelKiwi to capture more of the tech-savvy travellers!

See our shot on Dribbble for an app that allows users share the best places they visit with their friends when travelling. You can learn more about this app by reading our case study.