10 Travel App Ideas for Startups and SMBs

10 Travel App Ideas for Startups and SMBs

travel app ideas for startups

The travel and tourism industry is one of the world's fastest growing sectors, making it an extremely attractive space for startups and SMBs with fresh tourism app ideas.

The tourism industry is in a constant state of change and transformation, with new travel app ideas widening the horizon and reimagining the travel experience for everyone. It's important to keep track of market trends and customer expectations to come up with innovative app ideas, but from time to time we could use a little bit of inspiration.

That’s why we have decided to share the best mobile app ideas we have come across here at Zoftify, to help you get started. Let's dive right in.

Ideas for travel apps

Travel deals app

Starting strong with our first travel app idea: why not help travelers save money and find the best local deals and experiences?

Tourists are so reliant on hotels, restaurants, and experience providers that they don’t always realize when they’re getting a bad deal. Sometimes it’s easier to just buy or book something overpriced than to shop around, especially when searching for various deals takes time. It’s even harder to spot a deal as a tourist in an unfamiliar city where you don’t speak the language.

You can fix this with a deal finder app that aggregates the best local offers, enabling users to search for what they need and then find where they can buy it through their phone map.

Such apps can also provide real-time information through push notifications to show relevant special offers and local shopping trends based on user preferences and current locations. When combined with travel payment app functionality, a deals app could really change the travel experience for many.

Travel deals app

Holiday booking app

Another travel and tourism app idea that you can consider for travel app development is an all-in-one booking app. These are great for helping customers book their next holiday without hassle.

Travel should be fun — it’s about freeing ourselves from routine, exploring new places, and making memories that you can’t wait to share with family and friends. But trip planning can be a stressful and often tiresome process. What if you could offer pre-planned, secured, packaged adventures instead?

Holiday booking app

A holiday booking travel app will be extremely useful for people looking for curated experiences, and offers a great way for OTAs to meet that demand. To make a travel app like this stand out, focus on fresh and exciting travel itineraries, great visuals, and a seamless booking system with quick mobile payments to ensure that users can get through the entire process in just a few clicks. Combine that with a little bit of personalization, allowing users to customize parts of their trip, and you'll have a solid travel app.

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Ticket booking app

This is one of the most practical mobile app ideas for your travel tech startup: a ticket booking app that lets users book and manage tickets for all aspects of their trip.

Navigating local transport, like train routes and bus lines, is never easy when exploring a new place. That’s why apps that allow you to book tickets on the go are invaluable — not just for leisure travelers, but local people without access to cars or gas stations who need local public transportation. Lots of companies in the market have had huge success with ticket booking apps, making them a good business idea for startups and small travel companies.

You could enhance your ticket booking app with multiple payment gateways for quick mobile payments, a calendar, wallet integration, and geolocation features — this would ensure an efficient and simple booking process for app users.

Ticket booking app

Resort app

If you’re starting a destination-based business, this is an app idea you won’t want to miss: get a dedicated app for your resort.

A resort app can simplify every process associated with booking and enjoying the stay, whether it’s a ski, spa, or beach resort. An app like this can include a digital check-in process, activity booking or reservation system, day planner, a space for important location details and targeted offers, and in-app messaging to provide travelers with convenience and comfort. It’s all about empowering them to curate their perfect experience at your resort.

An app like this can also be highly beneficial for you as a resort manager. With access to rich insights into customer spending, preferences, and feedback, you can improve your services.

Resort app

Hotel booking app

Here's one of our favorite mobile app ideas for a travel tech startup: help users secure their perfect stay with a hotel reservation app.

Hotel booking apps allow users to find the most suitable rooms, customize them to fit their preferences, and then book and pay for them in just a few clicks, anytime and anywhere. While customers benefit from increased convenience, hotels get a new marketing channel through which they can promote their services and send targeted notifications.

It’s no surprise that travel apps like this are so popular nowadays. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to build your own — there are plenty of ways to make a unique and innovative travel app for your accommodation business. For example, you could focus on providing advanced personalization options or offer a loyalty program.

Hotel booking app

Flight booking app

Why not consider a flight booking app? These assist travelers in booking flights.

Flight booking is an extremely important part of travel planning and is certainly set to stay that way, as more and more locations around the world open their doors to travelers. In fact, it’s never been easier to travel long distances. While there are lots of flight booking apps in the market, you can still make your mark with your own one — especially if your travel app can offer unique features or a fresh design that offers a better user experience than competitors’ travel apps.

When starting mobile app development, keep in mind that a travel app of this kind will require an advanced search engine, a robust booking engine, and integration of crucial flight APIs — these will give you access to all the data you need.

Flight booking app

Concierge app

If you’re entering the luxury or solo travel space, this is one of the top mobile app ideas to consider: improve the travel experience for tourists with a concierge travel app.

Concierge travel apps provide travelers with personalized assistance and recommendations, ensuring they feel safe and informed during their trips. Think of them as reliable travel companions — they can help with finding local public transportation options, restaurants, services, and attractions, as well as answering urgent questions.

When it comes to mobile app development, remember that a concierge travel app should be highly accessible and provide advanced personalization capabilities, real-time updates, and customer support access. More specifically, consider a translator tool (for multiple languages), a chatbot, a currency converter, a weather forecaster, and extra security features to keep customer information safe.

Travel guide app

This is a great travel app idea for all types of travel businesses, especially local providers: a travel guide app serves as a companion for guiding your customers through their entire trip.

An app specifically for travel guides is great for providing helpful and educational information about tourist destinations and points of interest. A tour guide app can help travelers understand local culture and traditions by promoting upcoming tours and featuring guides, itineraries, interactive maps and more.

Travel guide apps fit within an important niche in the tourism industry, so developing one for your startup or small business is a good idea. These travel apps are also pretty scalable, and can shine with GPS navigation, personalization, and offline modes that allow app users access to important information even when there's no internet connectivity.

Travel guide app

City pass app

A city pass app helps travelers make the most of their city trips with exclusive access to deals and events.

Travel apps like this can focus on a specific city, or cover a few of them, and help to showcase the most exciting parts. They offer discounted ticket packages to tourist attractions, providing travelers with a great deal while also inspiring and encouraging them to explore the city in full. It’s no wonder that many companies have built successful business models around this idea.

During mobile app development, remember to enable personalization to cater to users' preferences, as well as targeted notifications to prompt users whenever special offers and discounts for museums and exhibitions appear.

City pass app

Travel review app

Last on our list of mobile app ideas (but certainly not least) is a travel review app: make travel planning more enjoyable and improve the tourism industry for future customers.

Travel forums, online portals, and popular social media platforms are by far the most trusted sources of information for customers, so investing in an app that gathers reviews is a smart way of generating traffic. Travel review apps allow users to post reviews that can be accessed on the go by other travelers, and in turn help build ratings for businesses and service providers. It’s a win-win idea — travelers will appreciate the useful info, while businesses will value the feedback, allowing them to improve their offerings.

While there are several popular review aggregators like TripAdvisor in the market, there's still room for new apps of this kind. Maybe your tourist friendly app can focus on local attractions that the big apps don't cover, or offer a new approach entirely — like a unique rating system or monetization opportunity.

Travel review app


The travel industry is vast, which means there is plenty of room for travel and tourism businesses to carve their niche and stand out with new travel mobile app ideas. Despite the competition, startups and SMBs can disrupt the industry with new approaches and unique tourism app ideas that haven’t been seen before.

From booking resorts and providing travel advice to finding local deals and events, mobile apps are one of the most important pieces of travel technology for travelers and businesses alike. Developing a travel app today is a smart move.

To make sure your app stands out in today’s competitive market, prioritize user needs and experiences and stay attuned to travel technology and tourism sector trends. With creativity, adaptability, and a deep understanding of travelers' pain points, you can find the perfect travel app category and come up with your own top mobile app ideas that will have a lasting, positive impact on the travel industry.

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What makes an app stand out in the travel and tourism industry?

Solid travel app ideas and innovative approaches go a long way in ensuring new travel mobile apps get traction and find their audience. An innovative travel app should provide unique features and fresh designs that offer an unrivalled experience.

To find the best travel app ideas, keep a close eye on the state of the travel and tourism industry, learn about travelers’ pain points, and find ways to address them.

How can a startup identify gaps in the travel industry for new mobile apps?

To identify a gap in the market, Zoftify can help you conduct thorough market research, analyze travelers’ feedback, and explore trends in the travel industry. Identifying unmet needs and areas of inefficiency has led to the development of some of the best travel app ideas that we see in the market today.

It’s also important to identify your niche: business travelers from the Asia-Pacific region might expect different features from their travel apps to solo travelers from South America, for example. Similarly, a hotel booking app might work better in some cities, while other cities could benefit from an app for finding local restaurants.

What top travel app ideas should my startup focus on?

There are lots of tourism app ideas you could explore — for example, an app that helps customers browse local public transport options, or a flight booking app that shows upcoming flights, flight fares, and allows users to track flights.

While the travel market is competitive, you can stand out among the rest with a unique app that offers a fresh and innovative approach. You could also explore an entirely new travel app category with a currency rate converter app, travel payment app, cab sharing app, travel insurance app, or a bike rental app.

Where your travel tech startup chooses to focus its app development efforts will also depend on several factors, like money, the audience you want to target, and the size and goals of your travel business.

Alex loves travel and tech and founded Zoftify to help travel companies use technology more effectively. Before this, he worked in tech consulting, where he led international mobile development teams.

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