An app that connects travelers to Georgia with locals for guided tours
How Expago decided to enhance the travel experience
Let’s say you’ve decided to visit Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. You want to see the cultural sights and attractions, learn about the history and heritage of the city, and try traditional Georgian food. On TripAdvisor alone, there are 989 city tours in Tbilisi, so there’s a pretty good chance you’ll end up booking one of them. And this is what lots of travelers do.
In 2018, the Expago founders realized they could breathe new life into the traditional travel guide industry. They had an idea for a travel app that would match tourists in Georgia with locals for private tours to meet all budgets and activity preferences. With locals, the founders believed, tourists could uncover hidden gems and discover must-see spots that they wouldn’t find on the internet or in guidebooks. With this in mind, Expago contacted Steelkiwi. As they already had an in-house software development team, they requested only iOS and Android development services.
In cooperation with the Expago development team, we built a travel app for iOS and Android. The application helps travelers to Georgia find guided tours led by locals, who share their knowledge and passion about their country and their cities and make extra money. To show prospective users what Expago is and what it offers for travelers and guides, we created a landing page.
Because Expago targets two types of users — tourists and guides — we created two modes: Tourist mode and Guide mode. To switch between them, users just flip a switch between Guide mode and Tourist mode in their profiles.
Tourist - Tourists can search for tours, message guides for details, and pay for tours.
Guide - Guides can create tours, chat with tourists, and connect a PayPal account to get paid.
We developed Expago for iOS using Swift. We used the Model–View–ViewModel (MVVM) architectural pattern to separate objects into three distinct groups. This approach allowed for code reuse and ease of testing.
Once we were finished with developing the iOS app, we moved to developing Expago for Android using the Java language. Just as with the iOS development, we used the Model–View–ViewModel (MVVM) architectural pattern to reuse code and test easily.
We created a landing page to show users what Expago is. In addition to general information about the app, the Expago landing page contains user testimonials, information about the Expago team and Expago partners, and answers to frequently asked questions. If users have any further questions, they can leave a message by clicking the Contact us button on the site. Additionally, the landing page has links to Expago’s social media accounts on Facebook and LinkedIn and to the Expago app on Google Play and the App Store.
Main features for tourists
When tourists sign up for Expago, they have to fill in their profiles with personal information: their date of birth, gender, languages spoken, country of residence, and phone number. They can also add their preferences in music, food, drinks, transportation, sightseeing, art, and activities. This information is used to narrow search results and help users find tours they’ll like. In their profiles, users can also choose the app language (English or Russian) and add payment methods.
Users can search for a tour and filter their search results by activity type (shopping, sightseeing, nightlife, music, etc.) and preferences (in terms of music, food, drinks, means of transport). Users can also sort the results by rating, name, and popularity.
When browsing tours, users can see photos along with each tour’s description, price per person, language, duration, and availability (months and days). They can also check out reviews of tourists that have already taken tours. Users can book tours by clicking the request a tour button. If they don’t want to request a tour at the moment but are considering it, they can save it to their favorites list to come back to it later.
In the My trips section of the app, users can find their experiences, tour requests, and bookings.
Tourists can message guides for tour details.
We used Stripe to allow Expago to accept online payments so tourists can pay right in the app using a credit card.
What’s different for guides? Features for guide mode
Just like tourists, guides should fill in their profiles with personal information. Additionally, they need to link a PayPal account to get paid for tours they give.
When creating a new tour, guides should fill in the following information:
Tour category: food and drink, active and leisure, music, nightlife, sightseeing, culture and arts, shopping, nature
Tour description (places to visit and things to do)
Tour availability (months and days)
Price per person and what’s included