11 Best Practices in Travel Booking App Development
January 05, 2024
Travel and flight booking app development is an investment for any business, which is why implementing best practices is essential to ensuring your project is a success. But understanding those best practices isn’t always easy — it takes time, experience, and travel and tourism industry expertise to know what works well and what should be avoided at all costs.
Luckily, here at Zoftify, we’ve been developing travel and flight booking apps for a long time, and are always happy to share our thoughts. Let's not waste any more time and delve into the best practices you absolutely should integrate in your travel and flight booking app development process.
Best application development practices
Offer real value
It’s easy to get wrapped up in what you want, as the business owner, but remember that your app is for your customers — you can't afford to forget that. Your travel and flight booking app project should result in a great tool that users want to download, and not just another tick in the box of your business expansion plan.
And while the existence of an app alone is already beneficial for customers, you need to motivate them to keep using it, which means adding unique functionality and features to make it stand out from the rest. Think about how you can provide a unique and unrivalled travel, hotel, or flight booking experience.
Mobile apps are native to smartphones, with capabilities beyond what you could ever do with a web app. From geolocation and personalization to offline capabilities and camera access, your app can certainly become the main booking tool for your customers. The success of large online travel agencies like Booking.com and Airbnb speaks for itself.
So while flight and travel booking app development can provide incredible benefits to online travel agencies, it can only do so when the final product leaves users completely satisfied. Beyond cool features, this requires ongoing app development, planning, and maintenance work.
We cannot overestimate the importance of UI/UX in travel and flight booking app development. If your app's user interface looks and feels wrong, then no traveler will use it, even if it offers decent functionality.
The industry standards for any new travel and flight booking app project are high and competition is strong, so as soon as users start feeling confused by your navigation and dissatisfied with the interactivity of your user interface, they will likely opt for another (and better) solution.
A responsive and intuitive user interface is a must for any modern app, and thankfully there are lots of principles that designers can follow to produce one that is simple, on-brand, and flexible.
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Personalization of your travel and flight booking app features is absolutely necessary if you want to increase the value of your services and boost customer retention.
Your customers may download your travel and flight booking app because of its functionality, but personalization is the reason they'll stick with it. Nothing beats the convenience of personalized notifications, targeted special offers for flights, and location-based suggestions. The more your travel booking app learns about a customer, the better the service it can provide — the longer the customer uses it, the more data your app gathers, and the better it gets.
With access to behavioral data and preferences, you can tailor users’ experience to keep them coming back for more. Increasing the lifetime value of your users will help you to cover any app development costs.
Trips are all about experiences, and there’s a craft to showcasing them the right way to engage and excite your audience. Your app needs to include stunning destination photos, fascinating videos, and descriptive guides to ensure that users get a good taste of what they’re in for if they book flights and trips with you. Mobile apps work like storefronts for showing the world what you can offer, so treat your content like your window display.
You don't have to stop at common media formats, if your budget allows for it. With modern mobile development, you can leverage the power of gamification, augmented reality, and even full 360 virtual tours — the possibilities are endless.
Straightforward booking process
Travel and flight booking apps are often advertised as the simplest solution for any traveler, and that’s because they make the booking process quick and intuitive — but only when done right. Luckily there are plenty of travel and flight app development practices and technologies you can utilize to create a seamless booking experience.
First, provide an advanced search engine with a filter tool. In app development, you should also prioritize the option to compare prices and an intuitive navigation. Enabling your users to quickly find and book hotels, flights, or trips means less time to doubt and more booked services for you.
Next, ensure that authenticating in your app takes as little time as possible. If a customer is trying to book flights, a room, or a trip, and then has to log in, don’t lose them before they’ve checked out. Allow them to log in through their social media or email services, so they only have to press a few buttons that feel familiar and comfortable.
Another must for a smooth booking process is multiple payment gateways. The best travel and flight booking apps support multiple payment options, from credit cards, to PayPal, to Google Pay and Apple Pay, to give travelers choice and convenience.
What makes travel and flight booking apps such great pocket companions is that they can provide real-time updates to users on the go. With push notifications, you can inform users of delayed flights, changed gates, hotel check-in updates, and more, so they are always in the know without you requiring any extra attention or memorization from them. Helpful notifications and reminders go a long way to improving customer satisfaction and making the whole travel and flight booking process feel more comfortable.
But it goes further than that. With notifications, apps become new marketing channels through which travel service providers can reach and engage customers. Send alerts about special offers and promotions directly through your app to keep customers enticed. With these upsells, you can quickly cover the app development cost.
As an online travel business and an owner of a tourism app, you bear the responsibility for the safety of your users' data. Ensuring their information is secure at all times is your priority. There are a few established and widely implemented travel and flight booking app development practices you can and should follow by the book to maintain security.
First of all, your travel and flight booking app must come with encryption to protect users’ data and the app’s code from hackers and other unauthorized parties. Secondly, it’s important to include authentication measures like two-step verification and alphanumeric passwords to reduce the risk of data breaches. Finally, your app's code should be thoroughly tested for vulnerabilities, and the app itself should only connect to third-party APIs using a strong gateway or a central server to manage authentication.
There’s nothing more annoying than losing access to your travel and flight booking info because of a bad internet connection — especially when you’re in a new and unfamiliar location. While websites become inaccessible when our laptops are disconnected, apps can stay connected wherever in the world they are used. This is because apps store data on the user's smartphone.
Enabling offline app access is crucial to ensuring customer satisfaction and reducing any possibility of travelers feeling confused or lost no matter where they find themselves: on a flight or in a remote location. It also relieves a lot of unnecessary stress from your users, making their booked trips more enjoyable as a result.
Data privacy and compliance
As we've mentioned, online travel agencies are directly responsible for the safety of their users' data, but it's not just about personal responsibility — there are international laws they have to abide by. The most important ones you should know about are GDPR and CCPA, both of which will apply to you if you have users from the EU and US.
GDPR is an EU law that requires companies to inform users about how their data is collected and processed, and also specify the purposes of such actions. Service providers also have to get users' consent before collecting that data, and only use it for the purposes it was asked for. Finally, users should be allowed to access, transfer, and correct their data, or be able to delete it by sending a direct request to the online travel business.
CCPA is a US law that requires businesses to inform users on ways to access their collected data, provide it, and delete data on request. Companies also have to tell users who they're selling data to, and let users disallow it.
Your country might have its own laws on data privacy, so make sure to search and understand them before initiating your travel and flight booking app project.
Tourism is for everyone, so as a tourism company, it is your duty to ensure that your app is accessible for all users.
Accessibility in app development comes in many shapes: from optimizing performance to helping people with various impairments. The first one is easy. Developing a cross-platform solution covers 99% of mobile operating systems. Ensuring great performance on all devices and screen sizes makes your app for booking flights and tours available for users with both high-end and budget smartphones. Including more language options will significantly expand your potential target audience too.
To cater for travelers with various impairments, there are many travel and flight booking app development practices you can introduce. For example, you can ensure legibility by increasing the font size and using high contrast colors, and implement technologies like TalkBack to read content aloud for blind or visually impaired users.
You can also increase usability for people with hearing impairments by including subtitles on videos and audio content, and make your app more accessible for people with mobility impairments by increasing the size of interactive elements.
Regular updates and feedback loops
A travel and flight booking app project isn't finished with release — apps are ongoing products that require constant attention and maintenance. They also require regular updates to ensure stable performance and allow you to introduce new travel and flight booking app features over time, as demands change.
Any issues with your dedicated app for flights and reservations need to be resolved quickly, otherwise users will get frustrated, which will take a toll on your reputation and overall customer retention. Here at Zoftify, we use Crashlytics — a tool that allows us to receive crash reports in real time and rapidly resolve them. Combined with our use of modern technologies and user feedback process, we create robust apps that continue to thrive beyond launch.
A dedicated app for flights and reservations should provide sufficient value for users and be intuitive, convenient, secure, and accessible at all times, for all audiences. Only then it will meet today’s travel and tourism industry standards and customer expectations.
For a successful travel and flight booking application project, it’s essential to follow best practices around design and development, and use the right tools and technologies.
Embracing these best app development practices not only fosters innovation and efficiency, but also sets the foundation for a reliable, secure, and adaptable flight and travel booking app that meets user demand and can compete in the modern travel industry.
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What are the best development practices for an online booking app?
Creating a flight or travel booking app that meets user demand requires proper market research, the right budget to cover development costs, and an understanding of the latest app development practices.
If you want your online booking app project to succeed in the current travel industry, your development team has to integrate great UI/UX, personalization, accessibility features, offline access, high-quality content, and the necessary security measures. This way, not only will your users be happy with your application, but you will also increase your revenue and customer retention.
How do you ensure the security of user data in my travel and flight booking app?
Here at Zoftify, our development team can ensure the security of your users' data by implementing the best travel industry security protocols and encryption standards during app development, in compliance with data protection regulations like GDPR and CCPA. A travel and flight booking app that lacks security won’t instill trust or confidence, and won't be successful in encouraging travelers to book flights, tours, or car rentals. It’s in your best interest to invest in data protection measures.
What else should I consider when developing a flight and travel booking app?
As well as considering the time investment and development costs for your app, you should think of what features and functionalities will truly add value and make it easy for customers to book flights and make reservations.
An advanced booking engine will allow them to book flights and compare prices, but you don’t have to stop there — with push notifications and in-app content, you can upsell travel insurance or car rentals. Why not free up your travel agents by implementing an AI chatbot for customer service? Or get creative with gamification and offer 360, interactive room tours? There are lots of tools you can introduce to make life easier for your customers and travel agents alike, but remember to consider the development costs before embarking on any new project.